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The Great Escape: the Italian verdict

by Europavox.com
8 June 2017
The Great Escape: the Italian verdict
The Great Escape - Italian Verdict. Photo by The Great Escape.

Our friends and partners at Estragon (Bologna, Italy) were at The Great Escape: here’s their verdict, and favourite bands.

Brighton! Brighton! It is time to leave. The last morning at the Queen’s Hotel with its traditional British wallpaper, it’s classically fitted carpet, stepped across by thousands-and-thousands of stories. A quiet moment after the storm; a peaceful harmony follows nights of unforgettable talks, wonderous meetings, sweltering venues and, the obligatory backdrop of rain.

A bright slice of light from the window is now enlightening our table, a sensational and extraordinary seafront view shows itself off. It’s our first time at The Great Escape Festival and Conference, which is perhaps why everything appears so unique;  we experience such a strong, inspiring, feeling. Something absolutely new, different, a kind of regenerating euphoria. There is something in the air, improving our perceptions, a mixture of faded gloom from the past and that positive fresh marine horizon.

Reading The Guardian’s review we agreed with its line:

“Brighton’s annual new music showcase-industry convention draws impressive numbers, with everything from rising pop acts to buzzy rappers on the bill”.

It is all part of the unexpected charm of a festival that tempers music biz hype with ramshackle, DIY spirit.

The real fun was randomly exploring the hundreds of unknown acts packed into every available space around the city. Sometimes it was too hard to get in, but, if in, always worth it. Acoustic singer-songwriters, melancholic pop, gothic 21st-century electro-pop, staged everywhere from a basement bar to the 1800 capacity Dome.

Sure, it’s always business in it for the money but thankfully, the business side of music hasn’t stopped festivals like this being as boisterously entertaining as ever.

Katia Giampaolo and Pasquale Pasco Pezzillo (Estragon, Bologna)

Our Five favorite bands
Little Cub
Based in
United Kingdom, London
Style
Affairs of the heart and the myriad ways human relationships fall apart have long been a fertile topic for artists and musicians, but the trick is to marry sombre, meaningful words with just the right tone of music. London trio Little Cub have thus far proved particularly adept at marrying their gleaming, electronic pop and shimmering anthems to stories about love, loss, and the vicissitudes of modern life; no surprise they were snapped up last year by indie powerhouse Domino Records before dropping the highly acclaimed Loveless EP....
Zeal & Ardor
Based in
Switzerland, New York
Style
Gospel, black-metal. Let that sink in for a while. Imagine what you think it sounds like. Right, you’ve got it. Except, it sounds even better. The solo, project of Swiss-American songwriter Manuel Gagneux is the mix of delta-Blues, African-American spiritualism, mixed together with the typical, and God-fearing tropes of black metal. You could call it black-black metal. But I wouldn’t. The hype is strong with this one. Already Gagneux finds himself supporting the likes of Marilyn Manson, and Prophets of Rage throughout 2017. The LP Devil Is Fine – Gagneux’s second as Zeal & Ardor- was released in 2016 on Reflection Records, ...
First Breath After Coma
Based in
Portugal, Leiria
Style
First Breath After Coma has the refined ability to pack the world of post-rock right into regular-sized songs. Add to that a persistent need to explore new sounds and you’ve got one of Portugal’s most promising talents. The band’s latest album, Drifter, was nominated for European Independent Album of the Year by IMPALA. The band hails from Leiria and has played some of Portugal’s biggest festivals, Paredes de Coura and Primavera Sound. Internationally, they have set foot in Reeperbahn, Eurosonic and The Great Escape....
Ailbhe Reddy
Based in
Ireland, Dublin
Style
Growing up her native Dublin, Ailbhe Reddy is highly regarded amongst the Irish press. But before that, the indie-folk artist was already making a name for herself in bars and venue throughout the Irish Capital through showcases. It would be hard to find a festival on the island that she has not played either, having been billed on Electric Picnic, Body&Soul, and Hard Working Class Heroes to name but a few.  ...
Témé Tan
Based in
Belgium, Brussels
Style
Over a few years and through various fragmented projects, Tanguy Haesevoets aka Teme Tan became a master in mixing sounds and his influences. In 2011, he touched base in Kinshasa, where he had been born and spent his early years, and auto-produced the album Matiti, with the title track displaying the quality and easy-going high pitch of his voice. Then a journey to Brasil ended with the release of a colourful EP of cover songs, further widening the field of sonic possibilities....
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