Review: The Great Escape 2009, day 2.

Day 2 of The Great Escape in Brighton and once more there was no shortage of quality acts. Find out who I rated and listen to some of my favourite tracks of the day including Dan Mangan, Beth Jeans Houghton and the smoking hot Crystal Antlers.

Dan Mangan played at the Canadian Blast showcase at The Arc on Brighton’s sea front. The gravel voiced front man was joined on stage for a couple of songs by members of fellow Canadians Hey Rosetta! on cello, violin and vocals. Highlights included an unplugged version of the un-named song (video above) and a sing along version of ‘Robots’ performed from the middle of the crowd during which Dan exclaimed with disbelief ‘You’re industry people and you’re singing!’ A great performance for the first show of the day. Fans Of: Willy Mason, Bon Iver, Micah P Hinson.

Spires @ The Great escape 2009 by musicmule.co.uk

Spires of Guilford played a really strong set. Part math-rock part stadium-rock with an impressive rhythm section, dual guitars and vocals. Check out ‘New Light’ below which front man Andy has kindly sent us. For Fans Of: Foals, Muse, Post War Years.

Beth Jeans Houghton is a 19 year old psych-folk princess from Newcastle who’s been releasing music since she was 16. This is the first time I’ve caught her live after overplaying all the songs on her MySpace for the past month. Her sweet yet haunting voice is amazing and it’s even more amazing when you see it comes from a slight, pretty Geordie girl wearing a tight pink dress and homemade ‘BJT’ soldier’s hat. There’s sadly no place in the shortened set for her excellent single ‘Golden’ but we’re treated to great performances of forthcoming release ‘I Will Return, I Promise’ (fittingly about her recent departure from Newcastle to live in Brighton) and ‘Nightswimmer’, the recorded version of which usually features Adem. A great new talent, look out for an exclusive Music Mule interview coming soon. For Fans Of: Devendra Banhart, Vashti Bunyan, Tunng.

Smoke Fairies @ The Great Escape 2009 by musicmule.co.uk

Smoke Fairies are a super talented female blues-folk duo from London. Dark, brooding acoustic melodies and sexily delivered two way vocals from Jessica and Katherine. It’s rare that a name perfectly encapsulates a band as this one does. Somehow unsigned, these Fairies are definitely ones to watch. For Fans Of: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, The White Stripes.

Abe Vigoda & Vivian Girls @ Great Escape 2009 by musicmule.co.ukAbe Vigoda are a ckeeky LA four piece signed to Bella Union in the UK. At this Club Uncut sponsored event the band were full of energy as they bounded across the stage, created one hell of a psychedelic raquet, made foreskin jokes (Uncut=you have a foreskin in the U.S.) and invited Vivian Girls of NYC on stage to join in on set highlight ‘Don’t Lie’. A lot of fun. For Fans Of: Here We Go Magic, Animal Collective, Cause Co-Motion.

Crystal Antlers were the last band I caught on Friday and thankfully also the best. I’d seen them a few months back at The Borderline in Soho and the sound was pretty dire so I left at the end disappointed and mildly deafened.

Thankfully the quality of their recordings inspired me to give them another shot. It paid off big time as they blew me and seemingly everyone else away at this Brighton gig. Explosive energy, a great full but not cluttered sound meant that you could pick out everyone including a drummer, percussionist, organ player, guitarist and bassist/vocalist. The sound tonight thankfully also allowed Jonny’s vocals to come through as he really does have a fantastic, rich voice.

Percussionist Damian got his shirt off as usual and the whole band generally kicked arse with great great song ‘A Thousand Eyes’, single ‘Michael’ and a double encore eventually culminating in a superb cover of Dylan’s ‘Baby Blue’ (shoddy footage above). You must check these guys out. Look out for a date up on Music Mule very soon.

Crystal Antlers @ The Great Escape 2009 by musicmule.co.uk

mp3: Dan Mangan – Robots

mp3: Spires – New Light

mp3: Beth Jeans Houghton – I will return, I promise

mp3: Smoke Fairies – Living With Ghosts

mp3: Abe Vigoda – Don’t Lie

mp3: Crystal Antlers – Andrew

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