The Great Escape – 100 performances covered! Part 1: Thursday 9th May

SKYND live at The Great Escape, Brighton (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

The Brighton and Hove News music team were present at this years fabulous Great Escape new musical festival. We strived to cover as many new and up-and-coming artists as possible during the three day event, which took place right across the city of Brighton and Hove at numerous venues of varying sizes on Thursday 9th, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May.

With a team of five on The Great Escape case, we were able to cover many acts from numerous different genres from right across the globe. It was hard work and we have the blisters to prove it from running all around the city, but was it worth it? Hell yeah!

Confidence Man live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

There are far too many acts to cover in just one article, so we have split them up in date order. This article refers to artists that the team covered on Thursday 9 May, along with the venue and planned time of the performance. View Part 2 on the acts performing on Friday 10 May HERE  and view Part 3 on the acts performing on Saturday 11 May HERE. So here goes, sit back and enjoy………………….

KOMEDIA STUDIO BAR 12:20pm – 12:50pm

Emerson Snowe live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

After last night’s Great Escape Launch Party, we finally officially kicked off the biggest and best New Music Festival in Europe at the compact Komedia Studio Bar, where Brisbane’s Emerson Snowe (aka 24-year old Jarrod Mahon) was launching his brand new 7 track EP That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

Emerson Snowe live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Despite a croaky voice, this likeable fellow ploughed through his half hour set with his three brand new chums, who had been collected together only four days previous. It was only their second gig together, the first being Dublin. The result, enjoyable pop tunes with the standouts being Human andSunlight’. A very encouraging start!

QUEENS HOTEL 12:45pm – 1:15pm

Projector live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

My first show for The Great Escape 2019 takes me downstairs at the Queens Hotel for Brighton’s own ‘Projector’. Space is rammed but I somehow manage to wind my way to the front. The band actually take me by surprise as I’d never seen them before, but I was instantly into their sound and style nodding and shaking my head with the rest of the crowd.

Projector live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Projector are a three-piece, Demelza on drums with bassist, Lucy and guitarist, Edward sharing vocal duties. They remind me a lot of the Pixies and that’s no bad thing in my book and will definitely check these guys out again.

THE HOPE & RUIN 1:00pm – 1:30pm

IOTA live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Although West Country indie rock 5-piece indie IOTA only formed in 2017, they sure put on a high energy performance at a packed Hope & Ruin. Singer Jodie Robinson was rather captivating in her sparkly pink outfit and had the packed crowd eating out of her hand. They haven’t released anything just yet, but she informed us that there’s a release on its way.

IOTA live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Their final number entitled ‘Isobel’ was about people we have lost and was initially a more mellower affair to start with. Clearly the band had a ball as they posted “Can’t believe we played The Great Escape Festival on Thursday. Best day ever!”.

KOMEDIA STUDIO 1:05pm – 1:35pm

The Dawn Of May live at TGE19 (pic Martin J. Fuller)

Taking the stage with an unassuming appearance dressed from head-to-toe in black and accompanied by a simple keyboard, the first impressions of May were this would be a low-key set. Wrong! The New York based Australian has an astonishing vocal range. Her songs comprise a Lana Del Rey- esque smoky vocal and build to a powerful crescendo that showcases her amazing voice.

The Dawn Of May (pic The Dawn Of May)

From a musical family and already considered talented enough to support Bastille on tour, this young lady is certainly one to watch. One of the best performances of the Great Escape. Check out her new single ‘Unholy’ HERE.

PATTERNS (UPSTAIRS) 1:45pm – 2:15pm

Malahini live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Malahini are Rome-based Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo, lining up here as a three piece with their drummer. Their original compositions combine surf guitar, paired down synths and wonderful harmonies that dovetail perfectly – ideal listening for those long summer afternoons.

Malahini live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Their first album ‘Hopefully Again’ was released in March, check out their single ‘Delusional Boy’ HERE.

KOMEDIA 2:10pm – 2:35pm

Triple One live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

TGE described Triple One as “blend brash raps with haunting hooks and greyscale production” which really was spot on.

Myself (centre) with Triple One live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

This was my first act of the day, a brilliant introduction to The Great Escape. The four young men from Sydney, Australia are rappers Marty Large and Obi Ill Terrors, producer Billy Gunns and vocalist Lil Dijon. Producing Hip Hop with subtle tunes mixed in with soft vocals and hard rap pushing themselves beyond the stereotypical hip-hop trademarks ending with something really impressive. Mixtures of Rage Against The Machine, ADF, Limp Bizkit and Eminem blended to make Triple One – “who have their own voice, and plenty of things to say.”

HOPE & RUIN (DOWNSTAIRS) 2:30pm – 3:00pm

Drinking Boys & Girls Choir live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

One of the acts near the top of my TGE hitlist was South Korean surf punk trio MJ, Meena and Bondu aka Drinking Boys & Girls Choir. I’m a fan of their labelmates Say Sue Me and was aware that this lot are a harder faster version. They rattled through their eleven bubblegum punk set in next to no time. The tunes are short sharp shocks, with regular speed changes within a track.

Drinking Boys & Girls Choir live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

The Meena’s vocals are a combination of homeland and English. I particularly liked Bondu’s guitar which more than resembled an actual skateboard, and MJ’s drumming goes ten to the dozen. This fun band have recently released their 18 song ‘Keep Drinking’ album – check it out HERE. Can’t wait to see them live again!

LATEST MUSIC BAR 2:30pm – 3:00pm

Himalayas live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

My first thought looking around the venue is how the hell has everyone squeezed in here, my second is wow this band are pretty damn good!

Himalayas live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

The Himalayas have made their way across from Wales for two shows at this year’s festival, here this afternoon at the Latest Music Bar and a late show at the Hope and Ruin. They play garage rock and roll with a heavier edge, full of sweet sounding riffs and melodies, it’s my kind of music. Always great to see a band who look like they are enjoying themselves on stage and the Himalayas look like they’re loving every minute.

HOPE & RUIN 2:30pm – 3:00pm

Ta’SHAN live at TGE19 (pic Martin J. Fuller)

Hailing from India with a Swiss mother, Ta’Shan moved to London two and a half years ago, studies at BIMM and is already establishing a growing reputation with airplay on top radio stations including BBC Asian Network, making their ‘Future Sounds’ 2018 list. Ta’Shan has a fabulous stage persona and a great smile which draws the audience in, stepping onto the stage with the line “check out some Bombay Mami flavas”.

Ta’SHAN (pic Ta’SHAN)

Her sound is a unique smooth fusion of melodic R&B, hip-hop, trap and ragga delivered with real aplomb using her great voice and big personality. Her talented four-piece band were right on the money too (she left the stage and let them play out the final track). Her single ‘Mami’ was released the day after this performance. Check out the trackFoodie – which, as Ta’Shan herself said, “you don’t get curves like this if you don’t enjoy food”! A very exciting talent on the way up.

KOMEDIA 2:50pm – 3:15pm

Nice Biscuit live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

This ‘intergalactic six-piece fronted by two ethereal,’ country and western ‘space kittens’ was a very apt description. Happy accident act that I wasn’t expected to see. I was taken back to the 60’s/70’s psychedelic space films like ‘Barbarella’, ‘Flash Gordon’ and tv series like ‘Thunderbirds’!

Nice Biscuit live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

Electrifying, cinematic, psych-garage mood music with the ‘time travelling space kittens’ singing in unison high pitch, eerie and siren like made for kaleidoscopic live show!!! Brilliant, but I’ll need to listen to some DnB to get back to terra firma.

THE WALRUS 3:15pm – 3:45pm

Mellow Gang live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Amazing as it may sound, this was my very first venture to The Walrus and what a fab venue it is. I really can’t understand why it’s not used for more gigs? I believe the capacity is 160, so promoters take note! Mellow Gang were my first encounter at the venue and this quartet were rather excited as they were releasing their debut 9-track every-ones-a-killer-with-no-filler mini-album ‘Adjourn’ the following day – Listen HERE.

Mellow Gang live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

As their name indicates, we were in for a rather pleasant psyche pop set indeed. I’m certain that I couldn’t have been the only person in the room that thought that the silky vocal tones and looks of Harriet Joseph were an excellent facsimile of Lana Del Rey. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t at the centre of the stage. There’s certainly James Bond Theme material within their repertoire. Need to see live again….quickly!

HOPE & RUIN 3:15pm – 3:45pm

Projector live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Another venue and another date with ‘Projector’!
I had so much fun earlier in the day that I’ve managed to squeeze in another Projector show.

Projector live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

It’s one in one out already at the Hope and Ruin and luckily after a few words with the door staff I manage to blag my way in just as the band hit the stage. It’s extremely hot and tightly packed but there’s enough space down the front if you can make it there.
Again Projector play another faultless 30 minute set with a few really stand out tracks that I need to track down on one of the platforms. It’s strange that I’d never got to see these guys before today, but will keep my eyes open for future gigs from now on, I’m definitely converted!

GREEN DOOR STORE 3:20pm – 3:45pm

Haviah Mighty live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

This years TGE is rather well represented with Canadian acts and my first of the day was female rapper Haviah Mighty. Note the surname! Yep she lives up to it. The Green Door Store punters were well up for it and so was Haviah. Clearly she was buzzing as her album was to be launched to an unsuspecting world the following day. It’s called ‘13th Floor’, no doubt the level that she is feeling at present. Listen HERE.

Haviah live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Haviah is not only a solo artist, but one-quarter of the MCs who make up The Sorority — a hip-hop group born during an all-female cypher on International Women’s Day in 2016 and thus this afternoon was quite rightly flying the flag for black women empowerment, along with her friend on controls.

DITTO STAGE – TGE BEACH SITE 3:30pm – 4:00pm

Kamakaze live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

“I was into grime, hip-hop from the age of 10, and I started writing aged about 12 – just little eight bars.” Born and raised in Leicester. The 24 year old Matt Robinson influences came from Rock, Reggae, Soul but especially the British scene of Hip Hop and Grime.

Kamakaze (left) keeping his eye on the ball (pic Kamakaze)

The tunes came from his DJ/mixer/producer Massappeals, which were dark, hard n grimey, some housey but I loved the more garage sound tracks behind the machine gun mouth of Kamakaze.
What you should know about this talented Grime artist is that he is a full time professional footballer! Playing midfield for Dagenham and Redbridge! Wow! Talented young man.

JUBILEE SQUARE 3:45pm – 4:15pm

BYOB live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

BYOB (Bring Your Own Brass) are an 11-piece brass band who have been tearing up festival stages with their original mix of hip hop beats, heavy riffs and dancefloor grooves. The gang must be rather pleased with themselves as this show was being streamed live on Radio 6 Music.

BYOB live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Forged in the fires of Passing Clouds, BYOB regularly packed out the legendary venue well into the early hours. Since then BYOB have been whipping up a storm at festivals and venues across the UK and Ireland. In 2017 they headlined the opening night on the main stage at Glastonbury’s Shangri-la; they have packed out stages at Boomtown, Shambala, Lovebox, Citadel, Hootananny and the Scala.

GREEN DOOR STORE 4:00pm – 4:30pm

Dboy live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

This was my second visit within 24 hours to witness the delights of mysterious Canadian trio Dboy. Once seen never forgotten, DBoy were on their ‘Presidential Campaign’ to truly conquer Brighton by performing no less than 4 gigs in just 2 days, with one of them being at 2:30am at The Richmond – yes AM! I witnessed them at the more sobering 10:15pm the previous night at the nearby Prince Albert – read the review HERE.

Dboy live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Dboy offer up early US style punk akin to The Ramones ‘It’s Alive’ album. See what I mean, by listening to their awesome 12-track ‘Prove Your Love – Live in Belem’ album HERE. Dboy are clearly of interest to those that enjoy quirky punk with an edgy look. Once again another fab gig and hopefully they will return to Bohemian Brighton very soon.

THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 4:15pm – 4:45pm

Oliver Tree live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

This is one act that wasn’t on my list and I don’t know why, cause he was amazing! Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Oliver Tree live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

Definitely not with Oliver Tree, sometimes in my opinion he looked like Timmy Mallet! Very colourful, vibrant kitch and garish character and… a bowl haircut. The music, tunes and vocals a magic mix of Beastie Boys, B’52s, Deee-Lite and LMFAO! Which accumulates to very catchy, hip-hop infused pop with an electronic kick.

JUBILEE SQUARE 4:15pm – 4:45pm

Saint Agnes live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Saint Agnes are here hot on the heels of their debut album release – ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ playing two shows across the festival and I will be there for both.
SA are a true rock band their words, not mine but anyone who’s seen them before would wholeheartedly agree.

Saint Agnes live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

They kick off with ‘The Death Or Glory Gang’ with a huge riff from guitarist ‘Jon James Tufnell’ splitting the air in Jubilee Square, vocalist ‘Kitty Arabella’ climbing up to the left of the stage surveying the packed crowd below. We are then taken on a true rock n roll trip through the next 30 minutes. Highlights? The whole damn set but the slow burner ‘Witching Hour’ with its haunting bass line and ‘Diablo Take Me Home’ with it’s dark brooding southern rock vibe are both huge.

JUBILEE SQUARE 5:15pm – 5:45pm

Surfbort live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

I was fortunate to have witnessed Surfbort live at The Latest Music Bar back in February, when they were supported by Brighton’s terrific DITZ. Read the review HERE. I first became aware of them when their name cropped up as supporting Aussie sensations Amyl & The Sniffers, who totally blew away the crowds at TGE18, and so I knew that Surfbort would be in the same parish and indeed they are.

Surfbort live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

So if you are a fan of ‘freak music’ as they put it, then Surfbort need to be seeked out. Today we were served yeehaw vocals by Dani Miller who really doesn’t give a damn what people think, coupled with a trio of rugged been around the block professionals (Sean, Alex and David) then you get the unlikely recipe for geeky success – a fun live band – listen HERE.

THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 6:15pm – 6:45pm

Girl In Red live at TGE19 (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Girl In Red aka 20 year old Marie Ulven wasn’t alone on the TGE stage as she was joined by four guys and together they gave an enthusiastic crowd breezy summertime guitar pop of the highest order, although I felt her vocals could have been a tad louder – naughty soundman. I’m a sucker for artists like this including Amber Arcades and Fazerdaze.

Girl In Red live at TGE19 (pic Nick Linazasoro)

On closer inspection, you discover that her songs aren’t necessarily happy affairs. They are penned from her experiences in life, in particular her love of girls, or as she put it “Gay sh*t”. Talking of which, a highlight of her set was ‘Girls’ – listen HERE and a new track Dead Girl In The Pool’. Marie came and joined the crowd for a tad which went down rather well.

JUBILEE SQUARE 6:15pm – 6:45pm

Johnny Mafia live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

These pure and unadulterated French garage-rockers have developed a fast and furious sound that echoes the lauded footsteps of bands such as QOTSA. With catchy, throbbing riffs and an urgent infectious energy, their live performance draws the audience in and holds them fast. They throw everything into their live show, and their gurning grins leave you with a smile and wanting more…

Johnny Mafia live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

And if it’s more that you want, then you can do no wrong in checking out their latest eleven track album entitled ‘Princes de l’Amour’ which hit the streets last November. Listen to it HERE

THE HAUNT 6:30pm – 7:00pm

Brutus live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

The Haunt is a buzz as Brutus take to the stage. I’ve heard some great things about this band, mostly from those standing around me in the venue.

Brutus live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Brutus are post-metal slash hardcore punk with some of the most stunning vocals I’ve heard in some time from drummer/vocalist Stefanie. One moment serene, ear-shattering the next, I could feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck during ‘War’ which starts at a slow pace and builds to an all-out monster. Stefanie’s drumming is as intense as her singing and is a joy to behold. Standout tracks for me were the aforementioned ‘War’, the fast hardcore ‘Cemetery’ and ‘Drive’ with its punching chorus.

THE DIVE BAR – BEACH SITE 6:45pm – 7:15pm

Barny Fletcher live at TGE19 (pic Nick Linazasoro)

I’m certain that 20 year old hip-hop rapper Barny was dead chuffed with his polished set in the chokka Dive Bar tent on Brighton Beach. He has the looks, personality and the sounds and not only that, but has been snapped up by TAP, which is the home of Lana Del Rey and Dua Lipa, plus he has been added to Radio 1 BBC Introducing playlist – stardom beckons me thinks!

Barny Fletcher live at TGE19 (pic Nick Linazasoro)

I think that Barny said that today’s gig with his three mates was only his second ever concert. Impressive stuff. That’ll be something to tell my mates down the pub, when he makes it. Check out his latest release ‘Christ Flow’ HERE which namechecks Monty Python’s ‘Life Of Brian’ and will appear on his imminent mixtape.

THE HAUNT 7:30pm – 8:00pm

Cocaine P*ss live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

I stand my ground in the Haunt for the next band, Cocaine P*ss’ who formed in 2014 in the Belgian city of Liège. They certainly are a hugely enjoyable punk outfit. Spitting out minute-long bile coated slices of pure punk rock.

Cocaine P*ss live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

The vocalist makes use of every inch of the stage and barely stands still. They remind me a lot of Brighton’s own ‘Pussyliquor’ with a similar vocal delivery. The whole show feels messy but it’s an enjoyable chaotic mess in a proper punk way! Standout tracks ‘Sociopathic Friend’ and ‘Every Night I’m Waiting’

THE DIVE BAR – BEACH SITE 7:30pm – 8:00pm

Juniore live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

I first saw Parisienne trio Juniore perform live six months ago at the wonderful Rialto Theatre, which is located just up from Jubilee Clock Tower in Brighton – read the article HERE. I can remember my mate saying to me back then, that he didn’t think people played music like that anyone and that’s their charm. It brings back memories of black and white French and Italian films, their fashion and the sounds of the time like Françoise Hardy – it’s referred to as yéyé. Then add in The B-52’s et voilà!

Juniore live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

The punters at The Dive Bar were treated to the ‘très grand chapeau’ of the whole event, (not the normal ‘Thing’ look today) as well as choice cuts from their terrific debut album ‘OUH LÀ LÀ’ listen HERE. We were also treated to a new unreleased composition, which I think was titled ‘Savadeck’, which stunning singer/songwriter Anna Jean meant that “when you really don’t care”. Fab set – très bon.


Jockstrap live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

One word I’ve seen banded around by the press about Jockstrap is ‘eclectic’, and they truly are. Jockstrap are Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye, but tonight they expand to a five-piece live outfit.

Jockstrap live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

I notice bass guitar, flute, keyboards, an electronic drum pad and Skye with a violin at times. The songs are full of soft beats, jazz style synthesizer and that beautiful voice filling this sumptuous venue. It’s the kind of music you can lose yourself in and dream your day away. Jockstrap are truly something a little special.

COALITION 8.30pm – 9pm

Celeste live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

Celeste was also a happy accident, I actually didn’t realise who she was. A couple of years back she use to work in the Black Horse, Rottingdean serving moi.

Celeste live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

This young lady is a very talented singer. Her voice was amazing. It seemed like she was just talking but what was coming out was heavenly. With a five-piece band behind, the soulful, jazzy, lights low late night music was her set. Honestly, whatever type of music was put in front of her, it would sound great. Someone to look out for in the future. She will go far.

THE HAUNT 8:30pm – 9:00pm

Whispering Sons live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Well, well, well, Whispering Sons were the surprise package of TGE19 for me and were the third best act that I witnessed across the whole three day event. I wasn’t really aware of how good this Brussels based post punk quintet are. So hats off to Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Lijnen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vandeborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) for an eye opening seven song set.

Whispering Sons live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

I spotted that one of the band was wearing a Dead Can Dance t-shirt and I immediately thought that we were going to be in for a treat and indeed we were. For those of you who remember ‘Dominion’ by Sisters Of Mercy, will understand what Whispering Sons are all about. Fenne’s vocals are engagingly deep and she feels every note, Sanders drumming was ace, especially on White Noise and the added Moog and Roland synths just topped it off very nicely thank you. Perfect for post punk goths into 4AD etc. Brilliant band!

PATTERNS UPSTAIRS 9:15pm – 9:45pm

Brunswick live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Ealing based 20 year old Harry James is Brunswick and to date he has only played five shows previous to this one and tonight is his biggest audience yet. There’s definite chart potential here! For the final couple of numbers he invited his best friend Isla on stage to join him in a couple of duets. They worked rather well together as Harry’s trio of backing musicians delivered a meaty chugging beat to accompany them.

Brunswick live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

My colleague informed me that the outfit sounded like a band called Custom, who I’m not acquainted with, but I heard elements of Blink 182 mixed in with his rocky-rappy style delivery, or as Harry refers to it as “rhythm and grunge”. In essence it’s a cocktail of R&B, Trap, Rock, Pop and Bass. I really love the keyboards on ‘ADHD’ – listen HERE.

THE HAUNT 9:30pm – 10:00pm

Stonefield live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

One of the new generation of Aussie ‘psych-rock’ bands, you can understand why Stonefield secured a slot on the recent Black Rebel Motorcycle Club tour. The four Findlay sisters sport an immaculate bohemia-meets-roc’n’roll style reminiscent of the halcyon decades of the 60’s and 70’s. Their sound, however, is far heavier than many of their erstwhile counterparts – awash with relentless driving drums from lead singer Amy, distorted guitar riffs, and almost hypnotic synths.

Stonefield live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

The band have already developed an impressive stage presence, with sounds in some ways reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, however, the risk is that the mix becomes awash with noise – losing the punctuation of the drums and guitars which ought to form the bedrock of their signature sound.

GREEN DOOR STORE 10:15pm – 10:45pm

Krush Puppies live at TGE19 (pic Martin J. Fuller)

Meeting in South London, Jenny (lead vocals/guitar), Alexa (bass) and Jess (guitar) started the band on a whim. Shortly after, Rebecca was recruited to provide righteous harmonies whilst Sam took his place on the drum kit. Practising in the studio Mellah built in Peckham and sharing a space with Alaskalaska, the band are already gaining a live reputation supporting the likes of Snail Mail.

Krush Puppies (pic Krush Puppies)

Lining up tonight as a five-piece, Krush Puppies delivered an enjoyable set of evocative retro-sounding grungy lo-fi fuzzy indie rock. Check out the track ‘PetalHead’, which is their debut single, HERE.

THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 10:15pm – 11:00pm

Little Simz live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

The 24-year-old artist Simbiatu “Simbi” Abisola Abiola Ajikawo aka Little Simz comes out on stage hollering through a megaphone on her track ‘Boss’ which made it quite distinctive.

Little Simz live at TGE19 (pic Karl Smith)

Her tunes soberingly serious, with humour and border on the feelgood. The line “I’m Jay-Z on a bad day, Shakespeare on my worst days” stood out for me (loved it) off her track ‘Offence’.
Playful, delicious, jazz flute, playground chants mixing dubstep, jazz, down-tempo hip-hop, neo-soul and live instruments in place of sampling unlocking a new level of versatility.. Little Simz is simmering nicely honing her skillset, with a slick sound this young lady will be a megastar.

THE DIVE BAR – BEACH SITE 10:30pm – 11:00pm

Confidence Man live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

At the very top of my TGE19 list was Aussie quartet Confidence Man. We witnessed two of their shows at TGE17 and were well aware that they are fun fun fun. They have been producing extremely catchy dance pop music with a unique look too. They hail from Brisbane and is the brainchild of Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild, who dress as bee-keepers in black on stage. They are fronted on vocals by girl and boy dancers Janet Planet and Sugar Bones.

Confidence Man live at TGE19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

This was the first of my two TGE19 shows and was my second favourite gig over the whole of the three days. They have got their routine finely tuned and a highlight of the show is when Janet demands that the crowd “get down on the ground” and so everyone obligingly crouches down and all jump up again in unison when requested to “get down”. It’s a magic. The track they do is on is called ‘Boyfriend (Repeat)’ – listen HERE and grab yourself their fab debut album HERE.

HOPE & RUIN 11:00pm – 11:30pm

Fuzzy Sun live at TGE19 (pic Martin J. Fuller)

My final act of the night was Stockport based six-piece Fuzzy Sun who revealed it was their first time in Brighton, which they said was a “beautiful city”. The venue was full for this one and the crowd certainly weren’t disappointed with what was on offer. The six-piece delivered an energetic set of very melodic indie pop, ably marshalled by charismatic singer Kyle Ross whose banter with the crowd was enjoyed by all.

Fuzzy Sun (pic Fuzzy Sun)

The band was having so much fun, they even invited a random audience member to join them on stage for one of the tracks (who incidentally did very well). Check out their superb single ‘Heavy’ HERE.  They’ll be coming soon to a festival stage near you. Now they have a taste for our great city, hopefully we’ll see them back here again very soon.

PRINCE ALBERT 11:30pm – 12:00am

Petrol Girls live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Petrol Girls are brutal, uncompromising, feminist post-hardcore punk, delivered at a velocity and ferociousness I for one was not expecting.

Petrol Girls are in your face from the word go, lyrically they cover political issues, abuse and sexism and this is all clearly heartfelt, it’s not easy listening but it is essential listening. Vocalist Ren Aldridge screams and shrieks her way through the 30-minute set barely standing still for a moment. Petrol Girls aren’t just noise, the guitar riffs and melodies are abundant throughout making every song stick in your head for days.

Petrol Girls live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

The band are playing TGE twice this weekend and I’d love the chance to experience them again if I can. Standout tracks, there’s many but check out ‘Big Mouth’ ‘No Love For a Nation’, ‘ Survivor’ and the incredible ‘Touch Me Again’ for a taste of what this band offers.

GREEN DOOR STORE 12:15am – 12:45am

SKYND live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

It’s 12.45 in the morning at the Green Door Store where after more than 12 hours of live music today I’m dead on my feet, but oh what a pick-me-up SKYND is.
This is more like a trip to a dark theatre with both the drummer and bassist wearing hoodies with masks covering their spotlighted faces and SKYND herself eerily lit in waves of green and red lights a huge slit mouth on a painted face rising from the smoke.

SKYND live at TGE19 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus)

Electro-industrial beats fill the air with what seems to be sound recordings of news footage of the aftermath of a serial killing, then her voice cuts through the smoke and sound, haunting and powerful at the same time. I see others in the crowd stare at each other with the same look of wonder on their faces that I surely have. This is music, theatre and art tightly rolled into one horrific, unsettling but ultimately beautiful show.
SKYND has been the perfect way to end my first day of this year’s TGE.

You can find The Great Escape on:

The Great Escape will be coming back to Brighton from 14th to 16th May 2020. Tickets and passes are already available for sale. You can order your Great Escape 2020 delegate passes HERE and your festival tickets HERE.

Good luck.

View Day 2 (Friday 10th May) of The Great Escape HERE.

View Day 3 (Saturday 11th May) of The Great Escape HERE.

Visit and ‘LIKE’ our ‘What’s On – from Brighton and Hove News’ Facebook page HERE.

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