Live at The Great Escape 2012
The Great Escape 2012

On day two of The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, we’re here to see moody Sunderland five piece The Chapman Family. The sun has been out all day but suitably they’re playing a dingy basement at almost one in the morning, a perfect setting for their loud, yet extremely tuneful blend of distorted and feedback soaked noise.

As a warm up to The Chapman Family we pop along to see We Were Promised Jetpacks down at Coalition on the seafront. After seeing them silly amounts of times at SXSW back in March, they have been on a two month slog across the States where they have been going down a storm. Back on home soil, kind of, the venue is packed out, and disappointingly if you’re not one of the lucky few at the front, it isn’t a great venue to see much. This isn’t a band that have to much to say but when they kick off with first album track ‘Short Bursts’ they let the music do the talking, after this they’re soon on to their new album with ‘Human Error’, but it is ‘Sore Thumb’ that really shows what WWPJ are all about.

Whilst they are musically as tight as you can get, merging together post rock guitars with sweeping melodies, it really is singer Adam Thompson’s impassioned roaring voice that makes you step back and say “wow!” ‘Sore Thumb’ builds up through a five minute instrumental before Thompson positions himself as far back from his microphone as the small stage allows, it brings the audience to a silence and he effortlessly projects to the whole venue, even the ones standing behind the pillars not seeing anything. Ending with first album favourite ‘Thunder and Lightening’, it is a bit of a shame they only do six songs in their set, but they do them well and they have been on tour for ever, so fair play.

The excitement is certainly building for The Chapman Family, after releasing ‘Burn This Town’ in 2011, ten songs of pure brutalness yet sheer pleasure for your ears and being known for their ferocious live shows they are the perfect band to see headlining the second day of the festival. Things have been reasonably quiet and there have been a few changes in line up over the past year so we are excited to see how this has affected their dynamic. Don’t panic though, they’re better than ever! With bassist Pop now on six string, and two new members in tow they have a new energy which clearly shows on the new songs they treat us to tonight.

New single ‘No More Tears’ kicks off with a beasty distorted bassline that rumbles through the venue before singer Kingsley starts singing like his life depends on it, with its refrain “No more lies, no more fear, no more hate, no more tears”, this song is raw, full of anger, yet still manages to sound like an absolute anthem, and it’s exciting. Playing a couple more songs off their forthcoming ‘Cruel Brittania’ EP, The Chapman Family clearly mean business. Whilst they convey the angriness through their music, they’re nice chaps really, even dedicating live favourite ‘Kids’ to a fan clearly enjoying spending his birthday going mad down the front. Follwing this up with ‘Anxiety’ from ‘Burn this Town’, this is a band that puts your faith back in to guitar music, with so many middle of the road indie bands, here is one you can believe in, playing with grit and passion and this shows as their fans aren’t ones to stand around nodding their heads, it suitably kicks off.

After mentions of a fifteen hour round trip from Stockton on Tees, it seems everyone in this venue is grateful for their efforts. The Chapman Family is not a cult, it is a fucking great band!

Words by Paul Melbourne
Photo by Elinor Jones


Follow these links for photo galleries of Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Great Escape.
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