Lena Pagel checks out four new acts at The Great Escape
We Are The City are a three-piece from Vancouver, Canada, and have been a staple in the vibrant Canadian indie music scene for a while. At the Green Door Store, the band, but maybe most noticeably drummer Andy Huculiak and singer Cayne McKenzie, transformed themselves into pure balls of energy when the performance started. And it was loud. So loud that your whole body was thumping with the bass and your ears were almost ringing by the end of the 30 minutes.
We Are The City play an electrifying amalgamation of pop and electronic music. Having said that, the volume certainly didn’t help McKenzie, whose vocal performance was good but didn’t cut through the noise. So a big part of their charm got lost along the way.
And, while the clean, well produced studio version of the album highlights the beauty of the chord and rhythm changes, it’s quite hard to reproduce this on a stage which was only rudimentarily set up for a half hour set.
Nonetheless, the band was as convincing as ever and nailed their performance, giving full energy and a couple of laughs even though for them it was 8am and they hadn’t even slept.
Me And My Drummer played Horatio’s on the pier on a very sunny Friday afternoon. The duo from Berlin, made up of singer and guitarist Charlotte Brandi and her partner and drummer Matze Pröllochs, delivered one of the most charming and musically convincing performances of the whole weekend. Brandi, dressed in a black turtleneck and flared grey trousers, – and generally looking like one of the grand divas of the 1940s – announced, with an ever-present, gentle smirk, that they didn’t have synths with them, because they wanted to be special for Brighton, which she thought was prettier than anything “Germans would ever build”.
They probably are the next best guitar and drum duo since the White Stripes – and with guitars that sound like rock’n’roll and a voice that floats above everything and is crystal clear at one point and deep and demanding at others, their songs carry a very simple but haunting charm. Not afraid of their German origin, they played a song in German about the mistress of a married man,
Me And My Drummer make dreampop with a tinge of the charm of songstresses like Hildegard Knef, which is so very compatible with the world and so very Berlin at the same time, although it sounds a lot more interesting live than it does on the clean studio album.
Next up, Noisy Pots are three guys from Prague playing electronic music on the street – on pots and pans. Jakub Tengler, Emil Machain and Michal Šupák have traveled all the way to Brighton to play as part of the Alternative Escape.
Their set-up is simple; professional piano player Šupàk on the keyboard and vocals and Tengler and Machain switching between the “drumset”, an array of plastic buckets and cymbals, and a table filled with pots, somehow always managing to play perfectly in sync. They create incredibly well done, electrifying and very danceable, rhythm heavy electronic music, that sounded its best when it was drawing about 25 people in on the streets.
Their own little set inside at the Synergy Centre on Saturday in the late afternoon was marked by audio problems. But they didn’t lose their bearings and played another wonderful set, including the possibly best reimagination of Missy Elliot’s Hit Me! you will have ever heard.
Finally, Revilo is the metalvibe, dreamrock bad boy you’ve been waiting for. Playing a packed and very dark Latest Music Bar, the London-based singer/songwriter stole the show with his hard hitting guitar-led indie rock that’s been infused with a good dose of pop and other influences.
Out of breath after every song, something that’s admirable, he was chattering on about life and, more specifically, merchandise (black Revilo cereal that tastes like crap and little black Revilo mice, in case you’re interested). Although it’s not like he needs to rely on that to stand out.
What makes Revilo so different from other artists is not only his refreshing mixture of influences or his goth pop attitude, it’s also his vocal performance that hints at years of vocal training or just pure talent, either of which is very impressive. He delivered a great performance that definitely stands out as one of the most passionate and genuinely exciting ones of the weekend and promises a bright future for the 22-year old, because we definitely want to see more of him.