Last week I saw Brooklyn’s Gustaf at The Great Escape Festival in a tent so packed our photographer Keira couldn’t get in, hence the rubbish photo from my phone (very much on tip toes!).
I featured this splendid art punk band on the site last summer and declared them to be a #newfavouriteband – so I was really keen to see them IRL.
I’m squished in very middle of the tent, the only shorty I can see – I have to keep bouncing to see the band above the man-heads. Boing boing! The music is very conducive to bouncing though, and I get chatting to the men around me, as you do. One even apologises for his height, which is touching – I ask him for a shoulder ride and there’s a brief moment of horror in his eyes as he evaluates the weight of me, before he realises I’m joking. I really must learn how the normal humans communicate some day. Anyway, not this day. I avoid the awkwardness I’ve created by trying to make some review notes on my phone while bouncing.
Their set is hugely entertaining – one of those bands where you could happily watch every single member individually. I’m never impressed by moody looks on stages, I believe punkrock should be a joyful celebration – and these punks are joyfully celebrating their hearts out with massive, infectious grins. A performance full of theatre, frenetic movement, snarls and twirls from mesmerising vocalist Lydia. They remind me of The Raincoats, and local (to me – Kingston) band The Cardiacs.
They’ve brought some fun toys in their suitcases, too. A flute is whipped out several times, and there’s some first class use of one of my faves – the vibraslap. (Any self-respecting DIY bands out there reading this and wondering what a vibraslap is, believe me you need to get one of these bad boys in your band arsenal stat.) There’s also a really groovy vocal effects pedal in use – sounds like the Honey Monster is on BVs at points. Brilliant!
My oh-so-tall new man-friends have been drawn here by the band’s links to IDLES (Gustaf toured with them, and the awesome Pillow Queens), and they’re now all newly converted fans. As the 30 minute set finishes, the crowd continues singing the last song long after they file out of the tent and into the sunshine:
“I’m good, I’m good, I’m really really good!”
Yeah, you are Gustaf!