The Great Escape 2016 – Day Two: Friday

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FRIDAY

 

Fenne Lily at the Unitarian Church:

She seems nervous, but if she is then she’s also funny and engaging.

Her guitar picks up the ticking of her nails against the strings in quite a distracting way, but her voice is astonishingly lovely.

Despite the amplification, the overwhelming mood is quiet, and she holds the audience rapt throughout.

Hushed, breathy, husky brilliance.

 

George Taylor at Sticky Mike’s:

New Belgian Bun

Good. Nice harmonies, guitar-driven with solid keyboard. Retro pop.

The cakey bulk of this metaphorical Belgian bun is Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene, the icing would be something like the Eagles, or maybe Yes, but the cherry is the Libertines.

It’s nice. Stodgy, but nice.

 

RYSY at The Hub: Venue looked rubbish, so me and my faithful companion instead saw…

 

Alina Orlova at St George’s in Kemptown Village.

With a battle-cry of “I’m Orlova it!” we comfortably conquered the feeble mile or so of city to a half-empty church in 10 minutes.

Comparisons with Antony & the Johnsons were entirety appropriate, but the piano is faster and flashier, and really it’s a very different vibe.

The nice thing about reviewing Orlova is that she doesn’t really sound like anyone except herself. I prefer it when she sings in other languages (Lithuanian?).

Earnest, dramatic, spartan, l and technically brilliant, but I would have liked to have some backing or harmonising of some kind.

Overall a technically accomplished, but quite a cold experience. Still worth the run though.

 

We stayed for: Yorkston/Thorne/Khan.

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Fuck yeah! FUCK YEAH! FUCK! YEAH!

The description made this sound intriguing, but the reality was genuinely transcendent. Mesmeric, pulsating guitar and double bass blended astonishingly easily with Suhail Yusuf Khan’s dreamlike sarangi.

Easily the highlight of Friday, this gig combined unexpected blissed-out tunes with hauntingly beautiful vocals from Khan, whose voice echoed through the stunning venue, raising hairs all over me in parts other musicians simply cannot reach.

I’m going to have to see these guys again, and for longer.

Moving, numinous, gorgeous!

 

 

Black Honey at Horatio’s:

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Doing absolutely nothing whatsoever new, but doing it well. And doing it with astonishing trousers.

The achingly, priapically cool frontwoman holds it together in a fun but ultimately forgettable way.

The reason I think this fails; the reason the band are trying so SO hard while the audience politely nod their heads is that, actually, rock needs more than (theatrical) attitude. It needs tunes. It needs heart. And as hard as they were trying, and as much fun as it was to watch, this just didn’t have it.

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Eagulls at Horatio’s:

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The moment the frontman comes on I can feel his middle-class pain. He looks like Brett Anderson made a baby with a goose, or a Swan. They can break your arm y’know.

The Cure lined with Suede, but heavier and angrier. Joy Division baselines and horrible clothes and it shouldn’t work, but it does, because they mean it (man), and they understand the importance of a good guitar hook.

Girlfriend: The guy on guitar sells insurance, the singer is a tired and underfed accountant letting go on a Friday night, and it’s debatable whether the other guitarist has left his bedroom since 2006.

Me: Yes! That’s exactly why it works!

This is like watching The Smiths at the beginning, only angrier.

If you absolutely must mine the eighties, at least do it with grace, and good taste, like these guys.

Wonderful!

 

BAND OF THE DAY:

Yorkston Thorne Khan. With the same proviso as yesterday. They only played three tracks and, having listened to them on the internets now, I can see that they focussed on Khan more than Yorkston. However, I cannot over-emphasise how moving and profound the experience of watching them was.

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