As with the first day of the Great Escape, Daily Music Guide kicked off its schedule on a wind-swept Brighton Pier, to be treated to the afternoon showcase put on by John Leckie's India SoundPad. Bangalore's SWARATHMA and Delhi's ADVAITA have vastly different styles, but both achieved the difficult aim of breathing life into the afternoon crowd with confidence and professionalism.
Swarathma's rock fusion was upbeat, superbly crafted and instantly memorable, with the likes of 'Patte Saare' going down particularly well with the Horatio's Bar punters. Singing in a mixture of Hindi and Kannada, they made a lot of friends this afternoon. Advaita's approach came across as slightly more restrained, but their atmospheric psychedelia was still a welcome addition to the day's proceedings.
Next up was a trip over to Western Road to chat to TELEGRAPHS ahead of their evening gig at The Providence. Although the venue's proximity to a local crèche meant that the band had to soundcheck late (to avoid waking the toddlers up from their afternoon nap), they prepared for their evening slot with stirring renditions of 'Forever Never' and 'I Don't Navigate By You' to hint at a cracking gig in the pipeline a few hours later.
As if the Friday night drinks deals at Po Na Na weren't already enough to entice DMG, the fact that JAMES YUILL was playing proved to be the deal-clincher. His brilliant brand of folktronica was sprinkled with crazy beats throughout, varying from a 90s house-style backdrop one moment to Justice-type squelches the next.
'No Pins Allowed' and 'She Said In Jest' were early highlights in the set, before Yuill expressed disappointment that the Noel Fielding look-alike in the audience wasn't actually Noel Fielding. His soon got over it to showcase a great new track called 'What To Do' and play an acoustic version of 'This Sweet Love'.
The METRIC gig on the seafront after that was a total squish. The Canadians also seemed to have attracted an unnaturally tall crowd, resulting in restricted views for anyone not in the first two standing rows. Either Emily Haines has a sizeable legion of lanky followers on the south coast, or the Honeyclub dancefloor had developed an uphill slant overnight.
It was an impressive performance onstage though, with new material from the band's 'Fantasies' album transferring to the live arena extremely well. 'Help, I'm Alive' had Haines practically conducting her spectators' bounces with a series of authoritative tambourine shakes, all while yelling out the words to the song's huge bridge, "Beating like a ham-mer!". Faultless versions of 'Satellite Mind' and 'Monster Hospital' ensured that the show retained its momentum right to the end.
The next port of call inspired the following imaginary telephone conversation between a Queen's Hotel receptionist and a Potential Guest:
QH: Good afternoon, Queen's Hotel?
PG: Ah yes, hello, I'd like to book a room please.
QH: For which date, Sir?
PG: Friday, 15th May.
QH: I'm afraid you can't stay that night Sir.
PG: Why, are you fully booked up?
QH: No Sir, DANANANANAYKROYD have a concert here that evening.
QH: Yes Sir, they're a Scottish rock band who will be tearing the hotel a new arsehole.
PG: How will that affect me?
QH: You shan't get any sleep here if you stay.
PG: Very well then, thank you for your time.
QH: Not a problem, Sir.
Such was the ferocity of Dananananaykroyd's gig under the low ceiling at the Queen's Hotel that their tribe of fans were practically smashing the air vents open to get more ventilation going.
Calum announced "Welcome to the feedback party!" and the crowd responded by chanting the band's name to the tune of the old-school Batman theme. New track 'Infinity' packed a hell of a quickfire punch, while 'Black Wax' resulted in people helping each other up off the floor long after the song's conclusion.
Such had been the ferocity of Dananananaykroyd's gig under the low ceiling at the Queen's Hotel that METRONOMY's show at The Corn Exchange felt like a bit of damp squib by comparison. There was no denying the audience numbers or the fact that 'Radio Ladio' and 'Heartbreaker' drew big cheers, but their set seemed a bit low on passion and rather lacking in onstage presence and charisma.
A shame then, that by the time they aired 'You Could Easily Have Me' from their 'Pip Paine...' album, a lot of people had simply given up and gone off to have someone else.