Friday May 17th
On the second day of Brighton’s Great Escape I am woken by a call from Sarabeth Tucek’s tour manager. It must be interview day.
In customary Great escape fashion, my mouth is dry and tastes of gin. My able partner in reviewing crime has remembered her pens, paper and laptop but like me she forgot toothpaste. We make do with Bonjela. Tasty it ain’t.
It’s time to hit the streets and join the 25,000 people gracing Brighton’s venues. If we stopped to think about it, the prospect of 300 bands performing over three days might induce a coronary. So we don’t. We do however; notice that everyone looks like they belong in a band.
We could quite easily take advantage of the delegate networking drinks at the Queens Hotel but that’d guarantee a swift and messy downfall. In fact, one could spend the whole bloody festival propped against the hotel’s bar (and they wouldn’t need to spend a penny). By the looks of it, some people haven’t made it to bed yet. Outside, young, fresh-faced music lovers take advantage of cheap day passes and secret street gigs. For a moment, it’s easy to forget that most people are working today… until we hoist our cameras onto our back and head off for the first of our music seminars; ‘Nets, Blogs and Rock’N’Roll Panel Discussion’. Not for you? Maybe ‘Speed Dating With Japan’, ‘Annie Nightingale celebrates 20 years Of Acid house’ or ‘the MTV Sticky Panel’ are a little more appetising.
Today is interview heavy. We pound the streets of Brighton towards the beachfront where Canadian band Born Ruffians are due to chat to us after their sound check. Bands however, are never on time and after a few pebble induced bruises we curse the wasted hour and agree to meet the late (but lovely) lads before their gig. UK crooner Tom Baxter is next and against the Speigeltent backdrop he reveals one particularly memorable Brighton birthday experience. “We got very dunk. All I remember is wondering around in the rain trying to find out where we were going to sleep. We slept in the basement of a girl’s house – seven of us in one room.”
Born Ruffians finally catch up with us and we perch on a log to talk about the differences between Toronto and Brighton. Many, it seems. Talk turns to tour buses… it seems the guys get around in a tiny piece of crap. I don’t believe them until a bruised and battered automobile turns up to collect them. They don’t travel in style but the lads pump out quirky Pop worthy of a pimped up beast on wheels. I’d throw in a few mechanical wonder words but I don’t know any. Check the band out at their Hoxton Bar and Grill album launch on May 27th.
The Young Knives are the next band lined up for our interview hot seat and where better to do it than their dressing room. The trio of tweed-loving musicians look like your average librarian but have the pulling power of well… Rock stars. That’s pure assumption of course. The guys are as funnier than Russell Brand on crack and the next twenty minutes involved conversations ranging from Bananaman to Tina Turner’s footwear.
We consume food.
Aussie youngsters Operator Please prove that age nor experience matter. Their pulse-enhancing power Pop blows the roof off the tiny Water Margin. I feel patriotic. Once again, I’m too short to see a thing. To the band’s credit, it doesn’t make any difference – these feisty school kids work eardrum wonders. The future had better watch out.
The night ends in a flurry of interview transcribing. Bring on the last interview tomorrow. My hair is itching to be let the hell down. Elsewhere, revellers just start kicking into the We Are Scientist gig celebrations. Tomorrow we will regret missing this. And the day after, and the day after that.
Stay tuned for the liver-testing tales of day three.