Midnight Beast wreak unexpected havoc on the seafront at Great Escape

The Great Escape 2010 review

published: Thu 20th May 2010

Midnight Beast

Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th May 2010
venues in Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 9NA, England MAP
£55 for a 3 day gig pass; day tickets also available.
last updated: Tue 11th May 2010

When I'd checked into my hostel, 11am seemed like a fairly reasonable checkout time. When I was rudely awoken at 11.10 the next morning, however, my opinion was very different. I dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs to hand in my key.

Brighton was full of rather dazed looking people on the Friday morning, and the cafes were doing a roaring trade in coffee and orange juice. All I really wanted was a couple of hours more kip before getting into the day, but sadly this was not to be. So I joined the dazed hordes, got myself a coffee and went for a bit of a bimble around Brighton.

Brighton is a fantastic place to bimble. It’s very chilled, yet very alive. It's full of colour and random small streets and shops, and has an amazing atmosphere. Unfortunately, for someone with my lack of self-control, it's also a very expensive place to bimble. Knowing that I was already going to be carting my overnight bag around the clubs later on (in addition to my normal bag, my camera bag and my tote bag) was the only thing that curbed my desire to buy everything in sight.

I headed back to the Prince Albert at 2pm for Villagers, only to find that he'd once again dropped out (as he did from the Camden Crawl). The wonderful Fionn Regan was on in his place playing a fantastic set full of acoustic, soulful folk. It was a perfect way to start the day after the previous night's excesses – or would have been if everyone else hadn't had the same idea. The place was absolutely packed, with people standing in the corridor and a very annoyed queue downstairs being refused entry. I decided that watching him wasn't as high on my list of things to do as sitting down was, so I listened to his set from the floor of the corridor, and tried to regroup.

Japanese Voyeurs
It was fast becoming a beautifully sunny day in Brighton, so the sensible thing to do seemed to be to head for the seafront to catch Japanese Voyeurs who were playing as part of the Relentless Street Gigs.

Having arrived late and been told they couldn't play their full set, they spent almost as much time deciding what to play as they did playing, and seemed surprised when this shortened their set even further. Nevertheless, when they were playing, they put on a good show. A little like Be Your Own Pet, they rocked away under the Brighton sun with huge amounts of energy. Any cobwebs left from the night before were well and truly brushed away.

From there we made our way to the affectionately named Pav Tav for the Big Scary Monsters showcase and a much needed (and reasonably priced) pie and chips. Elephants started up soon after we arrived, and were huge amounts of fun, with lots of banter between songs on topics such as the messiness of cream soda if you spill it on yourself and the fact that not enough people are called Simon anymore. They apologised for not playing their new song but said they couldn't remember it, saying they hoped we'd not seen them before because then all the songs would be new anyway. I do remember enjoying their music, but the chatter is what sticks in my head.

Up next, Stagecoach, who played a typically energetic set to a very good reception from the crowd. Due to some idiot who decided that the fire door was the quickest route to having a smoke, their set was interrupted by the fire alarm, but they didn't seem phased, even suggesting they could drown it out. 'Ice Age' was great, and they finished with the fantastically exuberant 'Good Luck With Your 45'. More people should check these guys out.

YouTube sensation Midnight Beast wreaked unexpected havoc on the seafront with about a billion teenage girls turning up to watch their set. It was an incredibly surreal but amusing experience. The band had to stay on the spur for far longer than planned after their set for fear of getting lynched – security had one hell of a job on their hands. Seriously, I would love to describe this in more detail but it had to be seen to be believed. I saw it and I still didn't believe it.

The Futureheads
Slightly dazed after that bout of madness, we suddenly found ourselves watching a not-so-secret open-air The Futureheads gig at Audio. Even my super shiny silver wristband wouldn't get me into the venue, so I did what the majority of people were doing and parked myself on the terrace of the adjoining pub. In the evening sunshine, framed by palm trees, their set had a very summery feel to it and was well received by crowds on both sides of the Audio fence. They finished, predictably, with 'Hounds Of Love', which went down a storm, but the rest of their set was equally good, especially 'Heartbeat Song' which is a particular favourite of mine. The whole gig was a very unexpected and pleasant surprise.

Life was understandably packed for Gold Panda, giving the recent hype around him, but it was more of a chin-stroking crowd than a dancing crowd (which was a shame, in my opinion). He is definitely a musician of the computer age – sporting a drum machine, sampler, mixing desk, effects pedals and a laptop (no instruments of any kind). He had a real gift for juxtaposing sounds in such a way that you couldn't tell at what point they changed from being random bleeps and samples to a cohesive piece of music, only that, since the beginning of the song, they somehow had.

Chew Lips
I wanted to see Chew Lips again, so we decided to arrive at Digital early and catch the previous band. When we realised the previous band was Darwin Deez, we began to think we may have made a mistake. Digital was rammed. Well, I assume it was rammed as the area outside Digital was rammed. And then some. After working out which of the three queues we had to join, we settled in for a long wait. Thankfully, once he'd started and the smokers had all been hustled inside, they started to let us in, and it wasn't long before we were trying to find a patch of dance floor that didn't already have five people on it.

Darwin Deez plays a very synth-driven brand of electro-pop. He also really knows how to work a crowd, with faux dance-offs at the beginning of some songs and banter between tracks. 'Radar Detector' went down a storm, and by the end of the set most of the crowd were on the stage with him. It wasn’t entirely my thing but I couldn't help enjoying myself.

The amount of people who left after Darwin Deez was immense – I know there were a fair few clashes but Chew Lips promised to be awesome, so I was glad to see the venue filling back up.

Chew Lips, quite simply, were awesome – there's no point in saying I was wrong. Tigs kept up her usual onstage antics; dancing about, flirting with the crowd and at times acting out the lyrics, she really worked the room up. Their wonderful blend of synths and heavy, heavy bass is complimented beautifully by her voice, which manages to be strong without being harsh, and she showed off her range fantastically in 'Piano Song'. She played up to the appreciation of the crowd, acting all bashful then telling us it was an act, but thanked us at the end for being wonderful. This seemed to be a sufficiently high note to end the evening on, so I headed back to London to sleep.

Midnight Beast
review by: Hannah Morgan

photos by: Chris Mathews

Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th May 2010
venues in Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 9NA, England MAP
£55 for a 3 day gig pass; day tickets also available.
last updated: Tue 11th May 2010

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