Day Three – Musical mystery tour
By day three there were cracks appearing in all of us, and some of the group had already broken. There was no way we were going to let a severe lack of sleep and a bit of a hangover ruin the last day though. Another hearty full English helped super glue a few of the more sensitive areas back together to give this festival a jolly good seeing off, and that is what we bloody did.
It was decided early on that bands were not going to be watched until late afternoon. The beach was the destination of choice for some stag and hen partying. So with tropical T-shirts on we headed for the beach, red stripe, bacon ruffles and the odd bottle of red to look classy in tow. Our plans were scuppered though by that dastardly wind, and after braving it like true brits for as long as possible we had to admit defeat to the elements and get tropical at the lad shack.
Use your imagination for the rest of the afternoon.
Sounds like a plan stan
The early evening began in typically unorganized style with a couple of rejections- Dog is dead – too early, so back to the pub to completely forget that we wanted to see them. Mø – one in one out again at The Warren, a place only seen from the outside. Thankfully by this time we actually had a vague plan of what we wanted to see. It came courtesy of some very important outside information and organization, which proved invaluable in getting our sorry asses around town in time to see some of the best acts of the day. They know who they are. Muchas gracias.
In the queue for Mø we also we met up with our honorary German “stags” by complete chance, and they once again decided to place their faith in us, and our next stop – Digital.
Digital love Digital love Digital love
There are those legendary places that exist around the world. Places that have seen things. Where you know that if you fall over giving it too much on the dance floor you are going to regret it. When your jeans return from the drop looking like a mechanics hand rag. Places where the toilets smell better than the dance floor. Digital is one of those places.
Finnish synth due Sin Cos Tan took our minds away from the smell in Digital with their brand of European synth dance intensity. Subtle but well thought-out beats along with dreamy vocals to let you imagination drift away too. The perfect way to warm-up for what was to follow.
From Finland to Iceland, Reykjavik to be exact for MAMMÚT. Icelandic bands, and generally bands from up where it is cold have won a special place in my heart of late. Mammút simply added to that. It was entrancing, theatrical stuff, full of explosive aggression, energy and love.
Future Islands. Oh my lord. Future Islands. I wasn’t really blown away by some of their early stuff, and I have to admit the name put me off enough to not dig deep into their music initially. That all changed after seeing them on Letterman, which I think half of the world will join me in saying. This band is simply breathtaking to watch live. Samuel T. Herring has a genuine energy, emotion and slight schizophrenia about him that makes you think you are being treated to your very own one-man rendition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Musically it was the moment of the festival, and without doubt the performance of the weekend (stag breakdancing aside of course).
Queue Jon Hopkins
One of the must-see bands of the weekend was in the bag, but there was still an enormous amount of uncertainty as to whether we would get in for Jon Hopkins.
The energy levels were running low and the alcohol levels were increasing as we set coordinates for Jon Hopkins at the corn exchange. Would we have found the place without guidance? Probably not. Would we have been in the front 10 of the queue without encouragement? I think not. Would we have waited what felt like an eternity without inspiration, and a life-saving delivery of Japanese food from the restaurant across the road from a very friendly Scottish lass? Hell no.
The waiting paid off though, as we were amongst the lucky souls that got in to see one of the biggest acts of the weekend.
Hidden Orchestra were up first , the solo studio project of multi-instrumentalist composer/producer Joe Acheson. Hidden Orchestra is a very different animal live though, with the classical/electronic styles of music made with acoustic instruments, drums, field recordings and natural sounds. Like so many bands on this Saturday it was the music we had been searching for all weekend. Dripping in originality and oozing in musical talent which didn’t just end at knowing a few bar chords. It was impressive stuff and deservedly won the attention, and hearts of the crowd.
It all went dark after this, thankfully it marked the arrival of Hopkins on stage and not the passing out of moi. Dj’s can often be difficult to watch, if they don’t get you moving then what do you do? Look at them twiddling their knobs? No thank you. What we witnessed on Saturday night however was a DJ/producer in his prime, making the music of his life. There was never any doubt that this bloke was going to get the heads nodding, the shoulders swaying and the feet shuffling. If you have never seen, heard of, or listened to any of his music, then you are truly missing out.
Musically this is where our unorthodox journey ended, but the night was far from over. What happened next though, and the many other truly amazing non-music related things that happened at The Great Escape 2014 will remain in the memories of all who took part. It was a truly monumental weekend, full of so many people who put the GREAT in this festival’s title, and will continue to make it great for many years to come.