This weekend Brighton turned into, rightfully named, Shoreditch on Sea when thousands of hipsters and young industry peeps invaded my turf for the Great Escape Festival. Unimpressed as I was last year with this baby SXSW attempt, I still managed to see a couple shows inbetween Relentless Bombs (bad idea at 5pm) and forays into the Pav Tav (always a bad idea). Here’s what I saw. Note: it was all awesome.

Bleeding Knees Club @ Beyond Retro: Beyond Retro is the weirdest place in Brighton to see a show, due to the fact that the band has to be up on this little loft area and the whole crowd is like 10 feet below them. However, Bleeding Knees Club had a really good turnout of (as someone on twitter put it) any blogger with their salt, and a bunch of their drunk friends in my case, and we fucking loved it. Their EP, Virginity has been on my stereo constantly since November, and it was a pleasure to hear them run through favs like ‘Bad Guys‘, ‘I‘, and ‘Teenage Girls‘ all which rule. The Aussie gutter punks do really bright and fun garage pop, it’s warm and an excersize in excellence in simplicity. Their choruses are catchy as fuck, and they played a good little set — the highlight of which, of course, was ‘Have Fun, their most infecutous and wonderful song, which has not been able to leave my head since I heard it. Big things up for these dudes, and songs to match. Check out the live vids taped by The Fly during TGE:

Bleeding Knees Club – ‘Truth Or Dare’

Bleeding Knees Club – ‘Teenage Girls’

mp3: Bleeding Knees Club – Have Fun

Die! Die! Die! @ The Hope: I’ve never seen Die! Die! Die! before, but holy fuck, thank god I did. They were definitely the best set out of the weekend — they packed the Hope, and everything was sweaty, but they were energetic and noisy and relentless. They were razor sharp and tight as fuck (playing together for 6 years will do that) and the drummer played like an reminded me of Animal (from the Muppets. Not only did Andrew remind me of John Dywer, but as a band they played with that frenetic craziness that I love about Thee Oh Sees. I wish the crowd would’ve gotten a little crazier but they were amazing.

mp3: Die! Die! Die – Auckland Is Burning

Fear of Men @ Green Door Store: Brighton based Fear of Men was a couple of people’s must see band for the Great Escape. I really like their tape that they just released on our great friends Sex is Disgusting’s label, so I was pretty excited, too. They lived up to what they’d put down on cassette, which is a kind of shady-summer day haziness tinged pop that while detailed, is irresistably simple and easy. Very enjoyable, but definitely didn’t blow me away live. They’re new as fuck so I feel bad saying that, but I think there’s probably something here that’s going to grow over the next year or so.

mp3: Fear of Men – Phantom Limb

Milk Maid @ Green Door Store: Having recently announced their debut album is being released by the great Brightonian label Fat Cat, and having adored everything that I’ve heard out of Manchester’s Milk Maid, this was the ONE band that I couldn’t miss at the Great Escape. They put on a mostly great show — and since pretty much everyone has heard about 3 songs, it was all new material that plays upon what they’ve already laid down. That is to say, it’s all gold soundz, slacker melodies that permeate your brain and refuse to leave. It’s kind of 90s, but it doesn’t sound dated and pretty much rules. The excitement that I felt listening to their first records didn’t quite translate live, but I think this is a case of a new band feeling its way out. What I do know, is that the songs sounded really solid, many of which could wind up being my summer anthem. They’re recorded in a dark garage, but they speak to things that are bright and fun. We’ll see.

mp3: Milk Maid – Such Fun