The Brighton & Hove News Music Team were out in force at The 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 at many right across the city of Brighton and Hove at numerous venues of varying sizes on Thursday 12th, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May.
With an extended team of a dozen people on The Great Escape case, we were able to witness many up-and-coming 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!
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 Brighton & Hove News team covered on Saturday 14th May, along with the venue and planned time of the performance. View Part 1 on the acts performing on Thursday 12th May HERE and view Part 2 on the acts performing on Friday 13th May HERE.
So here goes, sit back and enjoy………………….
SATURDAY 14th MAY 2022
CHLOE LEIGH (UK)
WATERBEAR 12:00 – 12:30pm
Former BRIT School graduate Chloe Leigh resides here in Brighton so has been a fixture on the local live circuit for several years now. Taking to the stage with her trusty guitar she launches into ‘Far Too Heavy’ and ‘Pride’ solo before inviting her new band members to join her; this is the first time they’ve played as a four-piece to a live audience. Leigh’s confident vocals have always stood out, but the addition of extra musicians brings another dimension elevating her songs to the next level.
With her Spanish heritage a big influence, Leigh performs two bilingual songs, ‘Déjame Vivir’ and last year’s single ‘Momentos Así’, encouraging the crowd to clap along. An engaging performer, she’s keen to give the audience the story behind each song, highlighting the ‘Getting Stuff Done’ project she is currently undertaking which encourages her to write/record one new song every month. She finishes her successful seven song set with a cover of Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ with the audience joining in.
HORATIOS 12:00pm – 12:30pm
After a 2;30am finish to the previous day’s proceedings, I needed a lift going into the final day and this set from charismatic Manchester based rapper OneDa was the perfect pick-me-up. OneDa has recently signed to Heavenly Records who seem to have a knack of spotting genuine up-and-coming talent, and I’m sure she will be a huge success for them as positive energy fizzes from every cell of her being, in fact she had to take off some layers to cool down during the performance!
Highlights of the all-too-short set were the single ‘Vibes’ all about waving out the bad vibes and bringing in the good energy, and the final track, heavily drum and bass infused ‘Balling’ which has already received almost 7 million plays on Spotify. Combining clever wordplay, skilled rapping and urban beats as well as receiving airplay on BBC R1 and 1Xtra, this is a talented artist who interacts brilliantly with her audience and I’m certain we’ll be hearing a lot more from OneDa in the not-too-distant future.
(Martin J Fuller)
DREAM NAILS (UK)
THREE WISE CATS (CASABLANCA) 12:15pm – 12:45pm
London based Dream Nails are a punk force to be reckoned with. It’s not hard to see why the music press loves this feminist activist quartet. Not only do they epitomise qweer grrrl pwr… they are also really fun and very good!
They offer up fast-paced pop-punk mixed with political rage with queer joy at the Three Wise Cats aka Casablanca this lunchtime. A sound that is loaded with acid-etched social sensibilities that run through every song. This sublime act played through a nitrous oxide filter. Arguably they are best summed up by the lyrics contained within last year’s ‘They/Them’ single: “Call me a girl again; Not asking for the hell of it; Call me a girl again; My gender’s not your business; Call me a girl again; Not asking for the hell of it; Call me a girl again; Non-binary resistance!”.
HORATIOS 12:50pm – 1:20pm
A big queue had gathered outside for this quirky duo who have built something of a cult following over the last few years since they released their debut album ‘Now! (in a minute)’ and I was glad to already be in the venue or I may have missed out. Audiobooks were a happy accident for me as I first witnessed them at The Great Escape in 2018 by being in the wrong place at the right time (which was exactly the same Horatio’s venue they played at this year) and I was hooked.
Electronic wizard David Wrench and sardonic vocalist Evangeline Ling (who met at a mutual friend’s party some years ago) combine hypnotic dance-floor filling synth driven electronica with contrasting lyrics sprinkled with more than a touch of humour. This intoxicating mix works particularly well in a live setting and the audience loved it. Stand out tracks were ‘The English Manipulator‘ for Evangeline’s deadpan delivery and a cracker of a new single called ‘Burnt Pictures’ which featured brilliant guest vocals from Heavenly label-mate OneDa – this has quickly become my new Audiobooks fave! No doubt about it, for me, this was one of THE performances of the Great Escape and I can’t wait to see them return.
(Martin J Fuller)
VOLKS 1:00pm – 1:30pm
Hawxx are a London-based metal band comprising Anna Papadimitriou on vocals and guitar, Hannah Staphnill on guitar and backing vocals, Julia B Cadau on bass and backing vocals, and Jessica Dann on drums and backing vocals. They have a particularly feminine take on metal, and the lives of women both in the world of metal, and in the world in general. There is a degree of militancy in their approach, and frankly that’s what the world deserves.
They are deliciously heavy, tight and powerful. Their playing is sophisticated and what they are doing in such a lowly position on the bill is a bit of a mystery to me. Their material is very good, especially ‘Trust Your Rage’, which is about women being assaulted and/or murdered. It’s very moving. It’s also very sad that it’s necessary for such a song to be written. Also recommended is their ‘You’re Only As Loud As You Shout Right Now’ EP. If you missed this gig, you can see them supporting Tremonti on their upcoming tour.
TYNE-JAMES ORGAN (AUSTRALIA)
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 1:25pm – 1:50pm
The sun was still shining brightly in Brighton for the afternoon. It was time to head to the Amazon New Music Stage on the beach to see the Australian songwriter Tyne-James Organ. Last year he released his debut album ‘Necessary Evil’ to much acclaim.
As soon as lead singer Tyne comes on stage, he engages the crowd nicely by swaying on stage from one end to the other with the band members backing him nicely on drums and accompanied with indie ballad guitar rhythms. Half way through the set he plays an intimate song solo on his guitar showing off his impressive vocals and talented lyrics together with his stage moves. Overall he was a crowd pleaser with his talented, catchy lyrics together with his stage moves and can be seen in comparison to the likes of ‘Catfish and the Bottlemen’ and possibly some Snow Patrol thrown in.
TEAM PICTURE (UK)
KOMEDIA STUDIO 1:30pm – 2:00pm
The first band for me on the final day of TGE was Team Picture, an indie, shoegaze band from Wakefield. Team Picture are Josh, Hannah, Ross, Thom and Alex. Although the band describe themselves as “genre tourists”, there are strong art-pop and dream-pop influences from the likes of The Blue Nile, Kate Bush, and Cocteau Twins.
Team Picture’s set was full of swooping melody and flowing vocals. It wasn’t just a moody escapist sound, but the addition of quality guitars and keyboards, that made some tracks danceable. Hannah’s vocals have been likened to Kate Bush. On this performance, although top quality and ethereal, I think this might be a comparison too far. I watch many bands of this genre, but Team Picture are one of the better ones. There’s more to them than most in this category.
THE HARA (UK)
BRIGHTHELM CENTRE 1:30pm – 2:00pm
The Hara hail from Manchester and consist of Josh Taylor (frontman), Zack Breen (guitar) and Jack Kennedy (drums). Refusing to be pigeonholed, their ‘genre fluid’ music sees them continue to break new ground sonically and they have already found a home on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music playlists. Featured across airwaves and column inches with notable acclaim from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, and Kerrang! Last summer was exceptionally successful for the outfiit as they debuted at festivals up and down the country starting with Download Festival before bookending the summer opening the main stage at Reading and Leeds.
This lunchtime The Hara put on an energetic show for us lucky punters. Think the Arctic Monkeys meets Brian May’s guitar with an all black look. In fact their track ‘We All Wear Black’ sums them up rather nicely. They have a good look going down. If you hurry you can snap up one of the 100 copies of their bright green 12” six track vinyl release which includes said tune on Scruff Of The Neck Records.
THE LAZY EYES (AUSTRALIA)
TGE BEACH STAGE 1:45pm – 2:10pm
The Lazy Eyes from Sydney, Australia, comprise Harvey Geraghty (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Itay Sasha (vocals, guitar), Leon Karagic (bass) and Noah Martin (drums). The band specialise in psychedelic rock, which is something that Australian bands seem to do particularly well. They are similar to early Tame Impala and there are elements of early Pink Floyd evident as well.
There are some excellent long instrumental passages, and it really is music that audiences can lose themselves in. Songs such as ‘Where’s My Brain’ are fine examples of psychedelia. They are a superb live band and are well worth catching live. Unfortunately opportunities to do so are pretty rare, but they are playing Birmingham Hare & Hounds on 22nd May. Alternatively, their debut album ‘Songbook’ is out now.
THE PARROTS (SPAIN)
HORATIOS 2:00pm – 2:30pm
The wonderful audiobooks are a hard act to follow having wowed the capacity crowd at Horatios, but The Parrots are undaunted by the task at hand. One glance at the name and you could be forgiven for anticipating a long-forgotten indie band from the early noughties, but thankfully The Parrots are a much more entertaining proposition. Based around core members Diego Garcia (vocals & guitar) and Alex de Lucas (bass), this energetic five piece – complete with sax player – bring their own brand of punky party anthems from the streets of Madrid to the end of the pier.
With their second album ‘Dos’ released on Heavenly Records last October, it only takes two songs to get the crowd on their side and dancing feverishly. Garcia is a great front man and rabble-rouser, his passion is infectious especially when he climbs up on the monitors to sing into the crowd, precariously holding on to the ropes above him. It’s a dazzling performance that should win the band many new admirers.
THREE WISE CATS (CASABLANCA) 2:15pm – 2:45pm
Born from Brighton’s diverse musical breeding ground, Orchards are considered by some as among our city’s brightest rising stars. Comprised of lifelong friends Sam Rushton (guitar) and Dan Fane (bass/vocals), who met vocalist Lucy Evers within their first week at university.
This afternoon they give us a selection of carefully crafted tunes that are perfectly contagious and entertaining and littered with summer-sun drenched indie pop vibes that are deftly executed and have enough sonic layers in the mix to keep it feeling fresh. Enough said. If that’s your sort of thing, this is your sort of thing.
LATEST MUSIC BAR 2:15pm – 2:45pm
Zimbeu are an outfit from Romania and made their debut in 2019 with ‘Little Creatures’, a four track EP. They followed this with live shows at all of Romania’s major festivals and today they are playing their first ever show outside of their homeland, so us punters below ground at the Latest Music Bar are very honoured indeed.
Thankfully for Zimbeu, the venue is rammed. They have brought quite a bit of kit along with them today. This includes Yamaha DTX drum pads, Yamaha Reface DX, Elektron Octatrack, ARP Odyssey, Sequential Prophet 6, Gibson guitar, Fender Precision bass, Moog, and drums. Although they are flying the flag for their country being the only Romanian act at this year’s TGE, they do in fact sing in English. The vocals reminded me at times of Dolores O’Riordan. I liked the way their drummer closed her eyes whilst playing and truly felt the music through her body.. Zimbea are a modern synth pop band that the likes of The Electricity Club website guys would enjoy. Those present in the room really loved what they were hearing and applauded appreciatively for every number. I think the band could count this English jaunt as being very successful indeed. Their final number ‘Topaz’ was the highlight of their half hour set and it reminded me of Sparks ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’, with the beats and sounds coming out of their YAMAHA DTX and ARP Odyssey. These are ideal sounds for fans of DAF and Numan.
BRIGHTHELM CENTRE 2:30pm – 3:00pm
Another trip sees me at the bright and expansive and arguably underutilised Brighthelm Centre just off of Queens Road. This area of town certainly has its music history with punk bands back in the day playing gigs with corpses lined up in the corner from the graveyard next door. It was a dubious place to hang out, but hey Buzzcocks played there!
Bringing us right up to date we have Bilk, who are three musicians creating a unique angsty blend of indie, rap, rock n roll and punk from the suburbs of Essex. The brainchild of frontman Sol Abrahams, completed by bassist Luke Hare and drummer Harry Gray. Their honest social commentary is as real as it gets, reflecting on the highs and lows of British culture today. Their ‘Daydreamer’ tune surfaced a month ago which is a modern take on Blur me thinks.
KOMEDIA STUDIO 2:30pm – 3:00pm
Next at Komedia was Nutribe, a hip-hop band from Liverpool. They’ve Yloh, Stickydub and Doopsman. Nutribe’s set had a free flowing and improvised feel to it. Far from amateurish, this worked wonderfully with engaging the audience. At the start they pointed out to each other that they hadn’t announced themselves, then seamlessly went into a rap introducing the band.
Audience involvement was a big part of the set with the band almost involving the crowd in their conversations. The repeated call back “Big Love”, “Inside of the Place”, “Smiles on their faces” drew everybody into the act. Think Scouse De La Soul. Great fun, and with their audience participation Nutribe left everyone smiling.
GREEN DOOR STORE 2:30pm – 3:00pm
Softcult are twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn who dropped their 6 track ‘Year Of The Snake’ limited edition cassette back in February, which followed on from their 5 track ‘Year Of The Rat’ limited edition cassette in April 2021.
Softcult make up a blistering sound of scuzz pop bangers during their thirty minute set at the Green Door Store. Not afraid to tackle tough topics such as fears and anxieties they use this platform to produce a blistering set. Softcult have a strong visual look and their sound will attract a wide cross including grunge, power pop and even a bit of shoegaze thrown in. Softcult are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
KATY J PEARSON (UK)
HORATIOS 3:00pm – 3:30pm
I was aware of Katy J Pearson’s track ‘Miracle’ (and its Joe Lycett directed music video) from her 2020 album ‘Return’, but it is current earworm ‘Talk Over Town’ that has been getting tons of airplay lately and put the folk-rock singer firmly on my radar. Backed by a five-piece band, Pearson begins her set with said track, its up-tempo melodies and harmonies instantly winning over the crowd. Whilst she might not have quite the vocal range of some of the singers I’ve seen this weekend, there’s no denying her songwriting skill and her ability to craft a catchy tune.
Pearson plays tracks from both ‘Return’ and forthcoming album ‘Sound Of The Morning’, with the spiky ‘Alligator’ a particular stand out – there’s also her own unique interpretation of ‘Willow’s Song’ from the film ‘The Wicker Man’. For fans of Jane Weaver and/or Courtney Barnett, Pearson and her band deliver a set full of urgent, uplifting songs that leave the audience wanting more. Catch her again at her Resident instore in July, or her headline UK tour at Chalk in September, you will not be disappointed.
THREE WISE CATS (CASABLANCA) 3:15pm – 3:45pm
Seven years into their career and several line-up changes later, Brighton’s DITZ are continuing to put out challenging and slightly unnerving songs that have a visceral quality sometimes reminiscent of Bauhaus… but with a more guitar-heavy overtone and sung in a higher register.
From their PR spiel they really are aiming to fly through 2022 with all guns blazing… so watch out for them hitting a venue near you very hard, and very soon. If it’s anything like Three Wise Cats, then expect it to be rammed and sweaty to the rafters and if you’re lucky you’ll get to experience a wall of death as well. Absolutely brilliant!
ENGLISH TEACHER (UK)
KOMEDIA STUDIO 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Another of my must-see new bands was the widely tipped English Teacher. Probably explaining the long queues to see them earlier in TGE. English Teacher are an indie band from Yorkshire, made up of Lily Fontaine (vocals, rhythm guitar, synth), Douglas Frost (drums), Nicholas Eden (bass) and Lewis Whiting (lead guitar, synth).
Led by enigmatic frontwoman Lily Fontaine, they produced a stunning and diverse set. The songs varied from strong indie guitar tracks, and very emotional spoken word songs such as ‘Yorkshire Tapas’. ‘Mental Maths’ skilfully switches between quiet spoken word and guitar breaks. Their songs are about everyday life. Although often about the seemingly mundane, their songs are cleverly and beautifully crafted. There are a lot of new indie bands coming onto the scene. I think English Teacher have more to offer in terms of diversity of styles, uniqueness and with their song craft will stand out from the pack.
SNIFFANY & THE NITS (UK)
REVENGE 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Sniffany & The Nits are a deranged, genuinely troubling punk band from London featuring members of Joanna Gruesome, Ex-Void & The Tubs. Drawing a through line between the British post-punk of The Fall and the new wave of insolent hardcore typified by bands like Lumpy & The Dumpers, The Nits have developed a knack for writing unhinged punk earworms. Back in 2020, they dropped their amusingly titled ‘The Greatest Nits’ 4 track EP that comes in at just 8 minutes 22 seconds in total – yep it’s punk!
This quartet had the usual vocals, drums, guitar and bass setup and I noted that after the previous sound problems here with other bands, Sniffany had a different microphone today. This made no difference and the sound was still lost in the mix and thus every word was lost. Even the audience were shouting about it. Clearly this a disco, but a rubbish venue for bands, especially a speed punk outfit that have a lot to say. Thankfully the room was busy. If speed punk is your bag then this lot is for you.
VOLKS 4:00pm – 4:30pm
AlienBlaze is a 19 year old mad as hell singer/songwriter and lead guitarist from the UK, whose track ‘Hate Me’ came to the attention of hordes of fans on Spotify which even included Grimes and Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon. This was the best acknowledgement she could have wished for, as her favourite album of all time is ‘That’s The Spirit’ by Bring Me The Horizon. She particularly enjoys listening to grunge acts such as Alice In Chains and Nirvana and this comes through in her sound this afternoon at Volks.
Surprisingly, I was breaking my Volks duck with this artist, as I have amazingly never been to the venue before. It was full up and so I watched the performance side on from the bar area, which was rather handy. AlienBlaze was on the stage with her guitar and I presume programmed backing. There were powerful distorted vocals and it was an impressive sound coming from just one person. She had so much confidence for a 19 year old. The photographers at the front were having a fiend day with her look. I was enamoured with her cool looking orange and black leopard style guitar. I would really like to see her performing live again before she breaks and makes a massive impact into the music scene. Think along the lines of a one woman Prodigy. Let’s hope for a return. Wave-Gotik-Treffen here she comes.
HORATIOS 4:00pm – 4:30pm
Headlining this afternoon’s bill of Heavenly Recordings artists is Mattiel, a synth/guitar duo comprised of Mattiel Brown (vocals) and Jonah Swilley (guitar). For some reason I’d got it into my head that they were French, but no, they’re actually from Atlanta!
The band arrive in good spirits having enjoyed our local fish and chips plus a couple of pints for lunch. In preparation for Mattiel’s set, a screen has hastily been erected on stage so that film and images can be projected behind them as they play. This is particularly apt for opener ‘Jeff Goldblum’ which sees footage of the actor (from ‘The Fly’ if I’m not mistaken) on screen as Brown croons her love letter to the star. It’s an early highlight, but the band have other cuts from recent album ‘Georgia Gothic’ plus last year’s catchy single ‘These Words’ that also impress. Sonically their sound feels heavier live, with Swilley’s crunching guitars in full force alongside Brown’s howling vocals; it gives the songs more of an edge than the polished production of the record. The result is another warmly received performance from the packed crowd on the pier.
PIST IDIOTS (AUSTRALIA)
THE MVT STAGE 5:10pm – 5:40pm
Pist Idiots from Sydney, Australia, comprise Jack Griffiths on vocals and guitar, Jonathon Sullivan on drums, Joseph Quine on lead guitar and his brother Thomas Quine on bass. They’re described as a pub-rock band, but I would describe them as more punky. Their music is fast and shouty, and they are certainly not the band to see if you are searching for enlightenment. However, they are a huge amount of fun, and should you wish to mosh, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.
Sadly their very brief run of UK dates are over, but their album ‘Idiocracy’ was released in September last year. Put it on, have a few beers, leap around, and you have a mild approximation of the Pist Idiots experience. Hopefully they’ll come back to the UK before too long and you can experience the real thing!
COALITION 5:15pm – 5:45pm
I make sure I’m at Coalition nice and early as I don’t want to miss any of the acts on this evening’s Chess Club Records line up. Originally from the US, but now residing in Liverpool, ColeBleu (vocals) and Scout (guitar) were writing and recording music as The Let Go up until last month. A sudden name change means that they’re now operating under the singer’s moniker, but Scout is still involved and there’s also a live drummer with the pair this afternoon.
Their music mixes pop punk with electronic beats, short and snappy tracks with bundles of attitude and energy. Bleu’s vocals use a lot of auto-tune and their songs reflect their experiences as women within the music industry. Whilst I can’t say I’m a fan of the music, there’s no denying Bleu is a natural performer, and she’s a delight to watch as she plays to the cameras. It only takes her two songs before she’s off the stage and into the crowd – that’s certainly one way to grab the attention!
NATALIE LINDI (UK)
CHALK 5:15pm – 5:45pm
My evening session on the final day of TGE started at Chalk with Natalie Lindi. She’s very soulful singer-songwriter hailing from North West London with a great voice. Natalie naturally mixes Jazz, Soul and Pop along with raw emotion, and a heartfelt sound. You can hear vocal influences from Ella Fitzgerald to Maria Carey.
Her style has been described as “Acoustic Soul”. On a few songs Natalie played acoustic guitar. She was joined on stage by a full band which included a saxophone player, who did Natalie’s vocals proud. Many of her songs are written from personal experiences, including one which she mentioned was written with her mother, who was in the audience. Natalie was supported by a large group of family and friends in the audience. From the overall reaction of the crowd at Chalk, I think she’d gain several more fans.
BAMBI BAINS (UK)
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 6:15pm – 6:45pm
Taking her lyrical queues from two continents, Bambi Bains is an intriguing melange of Bollywood and urban pop-hip-hoppery. She’s artfully produced and has the glamourised looks which will help propel her through a multitude of social media platforms, especially as she has recently signed a deal with Sony Publishing. Her new autotune friendly tune ‘Mistake’ would shoot straight to No.1 if it had the words “Christina Aguilera” on the sleeve cover.
These tunes can easily be imagined playing as background music in chic nightclubs and on tropical beach bars across the world as their multi-lingualism will find a wide appeal.
COALITION 6:15pm – 6:45pm
Yard Act are probably the most famous band to emerge from Leeds in the past year, but there’s another band hot on their heels in the shape of L’Objectif – Saul Kane (vocals & guitar), Ezra Glennon (bass), Dan Richardson (guitar) and Louis Bullock (drums).
Taking to the Coalition stage all sporting sunglasses the teenage four piece immediately launch into their own brand of indie rock. Their post punk angular guitar anthems might be the fashionable sound right now, but it’s the confident swagger from frontman Kane that helps to make them stand out from the crowd. Despite playing a set of largely unreleased songs, each one is met by a rapturous cheer, the band only pausing half way through to dedicate the remainder of the gig to a dog named Barky. With just one EP under their belts and a second due next month, the band have already developed a buzz around them, and judging from the reaction of this audience we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the near future.
THE ELEPHANT TREES (UK)
CHALK 6:15pm – 6:45pm
The Elephant Trees produced the most varied set I saw at TGE festival: started indie, went rock and even rap. Many bands these days are termed “cross genre” or even “genre fluid”, but from their set at Chalk, I think The Elephant Trees are one of the very few bands this applies to.
The Elephant Trees are Martha Phillips (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Sam Hugh-Jones (lead guitar, and Tom Palmer (drums) describe themselves as “Alt Rock Dorks from Up Norf”. Originally from Guiseley in Leeds, the trio are now moved between the Pennines across Leeds and Manchester. Mental health, sexuality and growing up to discover the complexities of the world form the subject matter of the songs Martha writes. She’s not afraid to pour out her findings on stage, and is very passionate about what she sings, whatever the style of the song. Overall it was a very interesting and diverse set, delivered with quality and passion.
CONCORDE 2 6:30pm – 7:00pm
I’d been hearing a lot of good things about Cassyette (real name Cassy Brooking), so decided to get to TGE’s Tik Tok stage at the Concorde 2 to check her out.
There were a lot of younger people attending their first gig and they were enthralled by Cassyette’s striking look and original heavy pop-rock metal sound. From start to finish she exuded energy, jumping about the stage and head thrashing with real passion in her vocals, her two band mates (one replete with glam rock guitar) creating the perfect sound backdrop to showcase these against. Some of her vocals reminded me of the singer Pink. At one stage, we had a mosh pit of the gig first-timers form, many who were accompanied to the performance by parents. Highlights of the set were debut single ‘Dear Goth’ and full on single ‘Petrichor’. After Milton Keynes, her next stop is The Echo LA on 24th May. Word is certainly spreading of her considerable talents and live performances for rock and metal fans.
(Martin J Fuller)
REVENGE 6:45pm – 7:15pm
Flying out of Rouen in France are Unschooling who clearly love alliteration- describing their sound as angular, anxious, and anguished. This sound is very much reflected in their new composition ‘Shopping On The Left Bank’ which arguably gives a nod to the feel of Half Man Half Biscuit’s ‘Trumpton Riots’ meets Beck’s ‘Devils Haircut’ meets Gang Of Four’s ‘At Home He’s a Tourist’. And their first album release (from back in 2019) follows this same pattern, being titled ‘Defensive Designs’. It has the guitar sound fighting against the beats in a way The Fall would have offered us.
Today at Revenge we find them hypnotic, happy, and quite possibly habit-forming. Well worth a listen…
VOLKS 7:00pm – 7:30pm
Sydney based Australian rock group PLANET made a welcome return to British shores, after years of cancelled and rescheduled shows. Their debut album ‘Information Overload’ has been on constant rotation in my house and it sonically feels like a warm, whisky-soaked dream, with moments that conjure memories of The Verve or The War On Drugs, it’s an album that feels bright and effervescent. Each song floats from one to the next, with an atmosphere that permeates the entire thing.
PLANET are infamous for their rowdy and refined live shows breaking at the seams with energy and so it’s not surprising that they put on a great show at Volks. Lead singer Matt Tooks vocals do match those of his more famous brother Johnny (DMAs singer and guitarist). This evening they sounded splendid and I hope they play in Brighton again soon.
SINEAD O’BRIEN (REPUBLIC OF IRELAND)
COALITION 7:15pm – 7:45pm
Bounding on to the stage dressed in a long green jacket and bright neon green jumpsuit, you might assume – and you’d be correct – that Sinead O’Brien hails from the Emerald Isle. Originally from Limerick, she’s here with bandmates Julian Hanson (guitar) and Oscar Robertson (drums) to showcase tracks from her debut album ‘Time Bend And Break The Bower’ which will be released by Chess Club Records on 10th June.
O’Brien’s style is quite a departure from the other female singers I’ve seen so far this weekend, with her spoken word, stream of consciousness vocals accompanying some crashing guitar work. Personally I find the songs to be a little repetitive and similar sounding, but of the four new tracks ‘There Are Good Times Coming’ is the stand out, and I particularly like last year’s single ‘Kid Stuff’ from the other earlier material played tonight. Fans can catch Sinead O’Brien in Brighton again soon as she’s doing an instore at Resident in June, and will return for a show at the Green Door Store in October.
TAIPEI HOUSTON (USA)
CHALK 7:15pm – 7:45pm
Well, if you and your brother’s old man is Lars Ulrich and you have both grown up with that rich history of Metallica drumming running through your veins what else would you do but form your own heavy duty rock band. And it wouldn’t surprise anyone if your songs were founded in soaring guitar riffs and featured vivid splashes of drum debauchery!
Myles and Layne Ulrich formed Taipei Houston last year and are already ripping up stages with songs that definitely stand up to scrutiny without having to be supported by the heritage of their bloodline. The only question we have is why their Facebook page only has 57 followers… and one of those is us!
TGE BEACH STAGE 7:30pm – 8:00pm
Tallies possess an extensive knowledge of early-’90s dream pop and the skill set needed to replicate the sounds they loved. This quintet hail from Canada, Toronto to be precise and they balance nimble, effects-heavy guitars with extroverted vocals to craft songs on their self-titled 2019 debut album that wouldn’t sound out of place on a mix tape between Lush and the Sundays.
Another Bella Union showcase event. Boy do they have great acts on Simon Raymond’s Brighton based label. Tallies have previously opened for the likes of Mudhoney, Hatchie, Tim Burgess and Weaves, and is made up of founding members guitarist Dylan Frankland and singer/guitarist Sarah Cogan, who are joined by drummer, Cian O’Neill. They are experts at chiming guitars in a sort of more shoegaze style like The Sundays. I really enjoyed their set.
PIRI & TOMMY (UK)
CONCORDE 2 7:45pm – 8:15pm
My second instalment of Piri & Tommy was part of the TGE ‘Spotlight’ shows presented by social giants TikTok who had taken over the Concorde 2 venue and were looping some of the duo’s highest viewed TikTok moments on the screens. There were many younger fans at this performance, a lot of them who were attending their very first gig. Melding drum and bass, old skool jungle, rave and floaty vocals and counting Charli XCX as a fan, they have definitely come up with a winning formula and Piri’s stage charisma in particular shone through whilst Tommy looked far more comfortable on instrumental duty notably electric guitar. As per yesterday’s show at The Arch, they were joined by a drummer to enhance the live experience.
The set was every bit as good as the first night, my favourite from this one was Beachin’ which was released as a single and premiered on Radio 1 in January. It has a very summery vibe so it will definitely be on my playlists in the next few months. Highlight of the day for me was my colleague getting the stage setlist for a 14 year old fan attending her first gig with her chums as a keepsake. The delight on her face was a picture. Hopefully she will have the live music bug for many decades to come and I’m sure Piri and Tommy will be instrumental in that.
(Martin J Fuller)
GREEN DOOR STORE 8:00pm – 8:30pm
Jaywood is the pseudonymous indie alternative project of Jeremy Haywood Smith from Winnipeg Manitoba. He is entirely self taught and combines Indie Pop laced with jazz chords with a psychedelic feel. What started as a bedroom recording project of sad jangle-pop songs, evolved into the psych-funk approach present on JayWood’s latest effort, ‘Slingshot’ which is set to release next month (June 2022). His powerful performances and pensive writing create a cohesive listening experience littered with new wisdom and hidden references to the artist’s past material.
One of the best things about The Great Escape is discovering an artist that you have never heard of let alone listened to. Jaywood was a pleasant highlight having come away feeling invigorated and uplifted. With a debut album on the horizon, let’s hope Jaywood returns to these shores in the not too distant future.
YOURS TRULY (AUSTRALIA)
VOLKS 8:00pm – 8:30pm
Kerrang TV was made for bands like Australia’s latest melodic punk metal offering… Yours Truly. There’s an instantly cinematic feel to their music that tells you straight away that their videos will have sweeping boom-shots that take you from wide vistas of enormous stadium crowds through to extreme close-ups of the band going through every classic rock pose in the book.
Then there will be intimate story-led sequences where boy meets girl, girl dumps boy, and boy walks off into a moody sunset down a dusty road with a guitar slung over his shoulder and a shrug to the camera that tells you he’ll live to love another day. If you love bands like Sum 41 you are in good company with Yours Truly.
LIME GARDEN (UK)
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 8:15pm – 8:45pm
I’ve heard great things about the Brighton 4 piece girl band and have wanted to see them live for a while. They used to initially be called just Lime, until they found out about another band with the same name. Since they added ‘Garden’, they have been on an upward trajectory and they are now on many people’s radars including radio stations. The quartet consists of Chloe Howard (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Leila Deeley (guitar), Tippi Morgan (bass) and Annabel Whittle (drums). Leila and Annabel were initially founder members of the Brighton based Wife Swap USA sextet and to my knowledge still are also members of the Toast quintet.
This evening at the Amazon New Music Stage Lime Garden were slightly swamped by being on such a large stage, but the packed tent loved them. 80s synth pop is a reference point and vocalist Chloe has a great voice. Their songs ‘Marbles’ and ‘Fever Dream’ I really enjoyed.
LAUREN HIBBERD (UK)
CHALK 8:15pm – 8:45pm
Until recently I thought that apart from the infamous festival (NOT the current sanitised version… the really dirty chaotic one!), Level 42, and The Bees, that was about it for the Island’s musical output. Then suddenly 2022 arrives, Wet Leg scores a number one album, and Lauren Hibberd finally hits me around the face with a slew of tunes that are pure and anthemic melodic sk8er-girl …
I now know she’s been on the pro-circuit for seven-or-so years, but for me she’s a new discovery. Lauren might describe herself as being ‘slacker-pop’, but with an average production line of two new songs a week this is one hard-working songwriter. And her songs really are songs in the best tradition of the word. They tell stories and evoke emotions and are timeless in their appeal.
PHOEBE GREEN (UK)
COALITION 8:15pm – 8:45pm
No stranger to these eyes and ears, I’ve already seen Phoebe Green live in Brighton twice this year – supporting first Self Esteem at Chalk and more recently Baby Queen at Patterns.
Sporting a floral skirt and a Jonas Brothers t-shirt, Green is flanked by a four piece band for this evening’s set at Coalition. She has a lively stage presence and together they run through a number of Green’s self-written indie pop songs, full of self-reflection and humour. The audience is treated to a couple of brand new tracks tonight including ‘Die Die Die’ which I particularly liked. Saving the best for last, the highlight is ‘IDK’, last year’s banger of a single which gets everyone grooving and makes for the perfect finale. Phoebe Green’s debut album ‘Lucky Me’ will be released by Chess Club Records in September, and you can catch her back in Brighton at the Green Door Store in December.
REVENGE 8:45pm – 9:15pm
I’m rather partial to London trio PVA and they were a must see gig on my TGE list. The band consists of Ella Harris, Josh Baxter and Louis Satchell. I can recall being totally blown away by them last June at The Prince Albert, so much so that I travelled to Hastings to see the next gig the following night at The Pig’s Palace. This was a venue that wasn’t really up for putting on gigs at that time and has by all accounts been taken over by new owners and given a new lease of life. Back then the sound and other things was a problem, thus although PVA were at the venue, they simply couldn’t play. So today’s gig at Revenge was a long overdue reacquaintance with their sound.
PVA’s equipment tonight featured a Korg Prologue, ASM Hydra synth and Fender guitar, Roland keys, drums and drum pads. So we were in for a treat it seemed. The venue was rammed and fans had to wait ages. It was an absolute nightmare. Not only was there a delay of 45 minutes whilst the sound engineers “tried” to get everything correct, but the air conditioning was leaking onto our heads and backs and onto the floor like a bath overflowing upstairs and coming down through the ceiling. It was very grim and sticky and I was convinced that I was going to get something like Legionnaires’ disease. On all of my TGE visits here there was something wrong and I wasn’t the only one in the team to experience this. PVA did get to play, but not for as long as they should have. Towards the end of their abbreviated set, Ella exclaimed “Thank you very much for staying with us!”. The problems once again hadn’t been their fault, but from their opening number everyone was dancing to the electronic keys and drums beat. We even had some new songs including their forthcoming single. The crowd absolutely loved it and PVA are filling the gap that Working Men’s Club have left.
COACH PARTY (UK)
COALITION 9:15pm – 9:45pm
Coach Party’s performance was one of my highlights from TGE this year. In my opinion one of the best live bands to emerge over the last few years. Coach Party are a hotly tipped 4 piece punk-pop band from the Isle of Wight, whose line up is Jess Eastwood (vocals/bass), Steph Norris, Joe Perry (guitars) and Guy Page (drums).
From the opening song ‘Weird Me Out’ to the closing number ‘Can’t Stop Now’, Coach Party’s set was full of electrifying guitar, brash, punky energy and deft melodies. There was also anger, notably on ‘FLAG’, (a song about being objectified and hurt by someone). Coach Party aren’t afraid to tackle topics such as self-hatred, tricky relationships and tackling inner demons in their lyrics, while backing them with their joyous, indie rock. The packed Coalition crowd loved it with a mini-mosh pit breaking out. There are enviable comparisons with Wolf Alice and The Big Moon, but I think Coach Party deserve to be listened to in their own right, especially on their performance at TGE.
KID KAPICHI (UK)
CHALK 9:15pm – 10:00pm
Pre-COVID back in 2019 Kid Kapichi were poised to take The Great Escape by storm. Freeze-frame for two years and the Hastings band have relaunched their offensive on the music business as if lockdown never happened. In fact over the last two weird years they seem to have been charging up their power cells in readiness to drop shields and give the world a full spread of photon torpedoes loaded with immense songs primed to explode on impact.
The Great Escape promoters know a thing or two about which bands are about to go stellar… it’s their job after all. So the fact that Kid Kapichi are playing the same slot that last night was taken by Yard Act tells you everything you need to know about where Kid Kapichi are heading and why you need to hitch up to their wagon and be a part of the global tour they will inevitably be embarking on very soon.
COALITION 10:15pm – 10:45pm
Headlining tonight’s Chess Club Records event is Pixey (real name Lizzie Hillesdon), purveyor of dreamy indie pop goodness. Having been enamoured by her debut EP I saw Pixey at a festival in her hometown of Liverpool last Summer, and I’m keen to see her again having missed her recent support slot with labelmate Alfie Templeman at Patterns in March.
Taking to the stage with her three bandmates, the singer/guitarist begins with ‘Sunshine State’, the lead track from her forthcoming second EP, due out in July. ‘Mersey Line’ and ‘Electric Dream’ from her earlier release bring the Summer vibes and get the crowd smiling, and there’s a couple of new tracks thrown in the mix too. As time runs out she’s promised two more songs, but the powers-that-be signal the end after ‘Free To Live In Colour’ comes to a close – Pixey is having none of it, daring them to cut the sound, and immediately launches into ‘Just Move’ which has her leaping around the stage. It’s a joyous, defiant end to a hugely enjoyable performance, and a fitting way to conclude this year’s festival for me.
PENELOPE ISLES (UK)
TGE BEACH STAGE 10:30pm – 11:00pm
I finished my Great Escape with Brighton-based Bella Union favourites Penelope Isles – as did many others as it was “one-in-one-out” only at the heaving beach venue. This is a band I’ve seen a number of times over the past few years with the mainstays being brother and sister duo Jack and Lily Wolter who originally hail from the Isle of Man. During the recording of the current album ‘Which Way To Happy’ released in 2021 and recorded in Cornwall during the pandemic, the band sadly lost 2 members, so they lined up here with 3 new ones, Henry, Joe and Hannah. What immediately struck me was the change in their sound. It definitely sounded more rounded, mature, melodic, almost dream-pop like and certainly more electronically leaning. The crowd were entranced from the first minute to the last.
It was obvious the band were having a great time and they even produced a birthday cake for their sound engineer half way through the set. Check out the up-beat indie-pop vibe on ‘Terrified’ and Lily’s haunting vocal on the atmospheric ‘Sailing Still’ as a great introduction to the group. A round of festivals now beckons for the group this summer and early Autumn where they’ll continue to showcase their talents to new audiences. All in all a fabulous way to round off a superb three days for me. Welcome back TGE!
(Martin J Fuller)
The Great Escape will be returning to Brighton on Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th May 2023. Purchase your tickets HERE.
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