Thanks to the potentially overwhelming super-saturation of artists and venues at The Great Escape, it’s pretty easy for a performance to be forgotten in the melee. After all, “four young men playing guitars” is hardly a unique selling proposition in Brighton, a city not known for shyness when it comes to providing same.
With this in mind, here’s a handy rundown of the best tricks, ruses and scams adopted by the more resourceful acts at this year’s festival – from fighter pilot helmets and billowing dry ice to formation disco moves and “pretending to be French”.
Stage a mass dance tutorial
Saddled with the unenviable task of injecting the weekend’s first burst of enthusiasm into a room full of seen-it-all hacks and implacable industry types, Icelandic Afropoppers Retro Stefson responded the only way they knew how: by teaching everyone a series of increasingly ridiculous disco moves. They’ve done this before, it turns out.
Have fun with accents
Anyone who heard the deceptively innocent greeting – “Hi, we’re GaBlé from Bordeaux” – at The Hope might be forgiven a little befuddlement, because the man saying it sounded suspiciously (i.e. definitely) un-French. That he also seemed to be Matthew Kelly channelling Mark Heap further muddled proceedings. A dementedly storming set from the determinedly bizarre threesome ensued.
Pretend the venue’s on fire
If you walked past Audio around 8.15pm last night you’d have been forgiven for alerting the fire brigade, such was the smoke billowing down the venue’s corridor and onto the street. But rest easy! It was just Californian electrogazers The Soft Moon, partying like it was 1981 and getting trigger-happy with the dry ice machine.
Get creative with headgear
It’s unusual enough, you might think, to sound like Antony Hegarty singing Scott Walker, but not for Cascadeur. The mysterious Frenchman apparently decided it wasn’t quite enough to floor the room with a killer falsetto and a mournfully played piano, and spiced up proceedings by wearing a full flight suit and fighter pilot helmet throughout. Until he swapped the helmet for a Mexican lucha libre mask, that is.
Reveal a surprise skill
You can imagine the A&R meeting: “How do we make our Robert-Palmer’s-band-in-‘Addicted-To-Love’-esque singer stand out a bit? What? She’s also a drummer, you say? OK, that’ll do.” Thus, Florrie (above), who last night stepped out from behind her Xenomania drum kit and, er, up to a smaller stand-up kit at the front of the stage. A dab hand she was, too, somewhat making up for the Queens Hotel acoustics rendering her vocals all-but inaudible.