The Brighton & Hove News Music Team were out in force at The Great Escape New Music Festival. We strived to cover as many new and up-and-coming artists as possible during the event, which took place right across the city of Brighton and Hove at numerous venues of varying sizes on Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th May.
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 only on Saturday 13th May, along with the venue and planned time of the performance. View Part 1 on the acts that performed Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th May HERE and view Part 2 on the acts that performed on Friday 12th May HERE.
So here goes, sit back and enjoy………………….
SATURDAY 13th MAY 2023
HORATIOS 12:00pm – 12:30pm
The first act billed on the final day of the TGE festival was North Londoner Delilah Holliday, formerly with riot grrrl punk band ‘Skinny Girl Diet’ who she formed with her sister and cousins aged just 14, so writing and performing original songs comes naturally to her. Following a hiatus, there has been a marked change of direction with Delilah now flying solo and producing music in the electronic genre with a large infusion of R&B. This was an enjoyable set from the singer-songwriter with some decent dance energy thrown in (not easy to do at this time of day), however, I felt there was a little too much reverb on the vocal throughout the performance. For a good introduction to Delilah’s sound, check out her single ‘Babylon’ with its soulful vocal and the final track of the set ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ which was released earlier this month, available on Spotify.
(Martin J Fuller)
THE MVT STAGE 12:10pm – 12:40pm
Saturday afternoon at The Great Escape beach venues was Sounds Australia’s showcase event. I caught a few songs of indie pop sibling trio Germein at the MVT Stage. Germein take their band name from their surname. The sisters are Georgia (guitar), Ella (bass), and Clara Germein (drums). Germein’s brand of indie pop songs and harmonies were a fitting start to an afternoon of music in the sunshine on the beach. The sisters, as well as their audience were clearly enjoying their third appearance at The Great Escape playing with massive smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, I had to leave Germein to catch my next band. I enjoyed the part of Germein’s performance I managed to squeeze in.
BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD
KOMEDIA STUDIO 12:15am – 12:45pm
Komedia Studio on Saturday lunchtime was my third and last chance to catch Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard at The Great Escape this year, so I wasn’t going to be put off by the fact the venue was at capacity before the band started. A ten-minute wait paid off, and I was able to squeeze into the back row of the tightly squeezed crowd for a taste of clean-cut 70s-tinged rock of a level of maturity that you might not expect from a band of relatively youthful years. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard fit into that category of bands who I’ve been aware of for a good long time, but for one reason or another I’ve never caught them live. And unless I missed a radio link at some point in my BBC 6 Music travels I’m not even 100% sure that I’ve heard a song before. But I was instantly hooked by vocals that soar high and clear in the mix and are immediately reminiscent of some of the best alt-rock that ever graced the airwaves in the heady days of the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ or when West Coast American radio was at at its zenith.
TEEN JESUS AND THE JEAN TEASERS
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 12:20pm – 12:50pm
Garage punk band Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers are Anna Ryan (vocals and guitar), Scarlett McKahey (guitar and vocals), Jaida Stephenson (bass) and Neve van Boxsel (drums). Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers channelled their Riot Grrrl energy during their energetic and exciting performance, especially on songs like ‘Lights Out’. There was good interplay between guitarist Scarlett McKahey and bassist Jaida Stephenson, often meeting mid stage behind the lead singer Anna Ryan. It wasn’t all just loud guitars and shouted lyrics, as one song ended with them singing a cappella. The band has a sense of fun. Jaida Stephenson explained one song was going to be a long song “as we’ve not got many songs. If you’ve 35 minutes, bear with us’”. It turned out to be a few seconds of punk; the explanation was longer! Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers closed their set with the brilliant ‘Girl Sport’ from their EP ‘Pretty Good For A Girl Band’ with its anti-misogynistic message. From their performance Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers are far more than just pretty good, regardless of gender. Up there as one of the best performances of the weekend.
THREE WISE CATS 12:30pm – 1:00pm
My final push with this year’s ‘Great Escape’ found me in another venue that I haven’t frequented before, Three Wise Cats aka Casablanca, which is a stone’s throw away from the coast road, like many of this year’s venues. Bobbi Lu was flagged up by my colleague who had already seen her debut performance at Zahara on Thursday. Amazingly, I had arrived early, but by the time of the conclusion of the half hour set, the venue was full. Bobbi Lu is a solo project, but she has quite a bit of kit, including Nord Stage 3 EX which has three sound generating sections; Piano, Organ and Synthesizer, all of which can be used simultaneously. There’s also a Yamaha Reface CP keyboard, plus a Moog, as well as an APC40 Ableton Live Clip Launching Controller, and preset pads. Bobbi, who is from the UK but now resides in Belgium, takes her place at the rear of the venue and her performance starts sedately, but after a minute or so, an indicator of what was about to hit us was given. The vocals and electronic sounds were crystal clear. I was at the front and found myself (like many present), being absorbed into the world of Bobbi Lu. Rarely have I witnessed a singer who delivers her tunes with so much emotion, that on several songs it was evident that tears were being held back as her eyes watered up. The set I fear was culled from previous personal experiences and the action of sharing the lyrics with us was like a cleansing of her soul and a re-birth. During the quiet sections, you honestly could have heard a pin drop. This was a powerful and occasionally haunting set akin to Aurora and Grimes on occasion. Both DJ Lamp (Radio Reverb) and Melita Dennett (also Radio Reverb, and BBC Introducing) who had also seen the set, concurred that we had all just been blown away!
ZAHARA 12:30pm – 1:00pm
Well we have reached the final day of this year’s Great Escape and what better way to kick off the final push by checking out Picture Parlour at Zahara, located around the corner from Chalk on East Street. Despite not releasing a note of music as yet, the word is out on this London-based quartet fronted by Katherine Parlour, so I make sure I’m first in the queue for this one! Once the doors open we leave the sun behind and go down into the dark cocktail bar style establishment and note the heightened anticipation in the air prior to their seven track set kicking off. Picture Parlour have only been gigging for six months and yet they are already masters of the game. They kick off with ‘Norwegian Wood’, and I know what you are thinking, no it’s not The Beatles song of the same name, but this is a twangy guitar (and bashed drums) number which vocally benefits from a gritty Patti Smith vibe. A couple of “days” followed, ‘Gala Day’ and ‘Judgement Day’ and the air of Lana Del Rey meets LibraLibra came to mind. After ‘Neptune’ we had ‘Sawmill Sinkhole’, a deep-down durrty bass laden number with its change in beats. The penultimate tune was titled ‘Ronnie’ and then before we knew it they bowed out with ‘Moon Tonic’ which was akin to a cowboy downing a bottle of the best Bourbon American Whiskey…“And a good night with you!” Katherine sang and indeed it had been exactly that, except it’s only lunchtime. The best new band I’ve seen at this year’s festival, no contest.
TGE BEACH STAGE 12:50pm – 1:15pm
First of the Aussie takeover acts at the beach on Saturday, Eliza is an Australian musician, accessibility advocate, and consultant for live music and venues, living herself with a degenerative nerve disorder. Eliza’s vocals are truly wonderful – warm, with slight overtones of BABii. It’s an invigorating performance, trippy and simple but carefully crafted as vocals, synth and electric beats float out across the audience leaving them transfixed – just mesmerising.
GENA ROSE BRUCE
THE MTV STAGE 12:55pm – 1:25pm
Gena Rose Bruce is a Melbourne-based musician. There’s a simplicity in the melodies which beautifully supports more complex lyrics. It’s emotional, slightly melancholic indie-country, perfect for this early afternoon slot. Her performance seems effortless and understated with a gentle fragility that hushes the crowd to encourage them to really listen.
NORTH LAINE BREWHOUSE (ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE) 1:00pm – 1:25pm
I’m starting the day at the BIMM Alternative Escape showcase in the North Laine Brewhouse to catch PHN-TM (“Phantom”), a local psychedelic funk six-piece. I’ve seen them before, and was very impressed with their exquisite groove and playing. Opening with recent single ‘Prangatang’, they slide into the bass and drum intro of the appropriately named ‘Funk Tune’. It’s early in the day, and there’s plenty of room for percussionist Charlie, who has donned swim goggles for the occasion, to dance wildly around the pub while the band performs the lilting ‘Little Birdie’. Ben is on lead vocals and guitar, with Alex on keys, the supremely adept GMAN on bass, Luke on guitar, and Martin giving the kit a good pounding with fast and powerful fills. During ‘Elevator Down To Earth’ his splash cymbal hit has sufficient force to fold up the stand. Set closer ‘Lucidity’ is out as a single in June, so I’ll look forward to checking that out.
HORATIOS 1:00pm – 1:30pm
Writing songs from the inspirational setting of an abandoned textile mill in their native Preston, songwriting duo Joey Cobb and Katie Drew together with their drummer introduced The Great Escape to a pleasant set of their alternative dreampop psychedelic compositions on a sunny Palace Pier this lunchtime. Katie’s ethereal almost whispered vocal contrasted with Joey’s distorted guitar riffs and swirling electronic sound textures, each song seeming to burn slowly and end with a big finish which delighted the assembled audience. Catch them at a trio of festivals this summer including the Manchester Psych Fest on the 4th September and check out their music on Spotify.
(Martin J Fuller)
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 1:10pm – 1:40pm
Another indie guitar band! These four guys come from sunny Newcastle, as in the one to be found in New South Wales in Australia. Described as woozy dream pop, I have to say they left me feeling very underwhelmed by their performance. They could certainly play well and lead singer Campbell Burns had a good voice, but I didn’t enjoy their set. The musical reference point was probably Mac DeMarco. Vacations have thus far released a couple of albums, with their last being ‘Forever In Bloom’ in 2020 and they impressively have also had over 300 million hits on Spotify. They did go down well with the crowd in the tented Amazon New Music Stage erected on Brighton Beach, though I did notice quite a few leaving well before the set finished. This could be an indicator that it wasn’t just me who felt underwhelmed by their performance.
BRIGHTHELM CENTRE 1:30pm – 2:00pm
Punjabi Folk may just have become my new favourite thing thanks to the delicious, pure, and nuanced voice of Amrit Kaur. As an unreconstructed fan of indie guitars and fierce performances this felt like a bit of a punt on an unknown artist in a little-known (and somewhat hard-to-find) venue. But given it was a show hosted by Continental Drifts, I was fairly sure it was worth the walk away from the central cluster of Great Escape venues to give Amrit a chance. Only managing to arrive in time for the last song was my biggest mistake… because if that finale was in any way representative of the rest of the set I missed something special. The backing music is a subtle loop of some unnamed Eastern stringed instrument and all that embellishes it is a display of vocal precision that would make an angel weep tears of joy. And that’s it. The phrase “less is more” was made for Amrit’s style of music. It’s a fairly safe bet that only a handful of the audience understood a word of the lyrics. But the passionate intonation was enough to leave you with the distinct feeling you got the meaning of the song with no need for translation or subtitles. This is the refreshing variety that every great festival needs to provide an inquisitive audience some reprieve from yet another post-punk explosion or dreamy shoegaze soundscape.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
TGE BEACH STAGE 1:30pm – 1:55pm
While Brighton bathes in the early afternoon sunshine, ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ smash the TGE Beach Stage, dishing up pop-punk delicacies that make you yearn for a beach BBQ with a side of grunge. The Newcastle nippers proved they’ve got more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box, summoning 90s titans like Silverchair, with a sprinkle of the undeniable Paramore zest. Kicking off with ‘Carousel’, they immediately snagged the crowd’s attention and mine. Their rendition of ‘Twenty Something’ was a tip of the hat to the Pixies, while ‘Scissors In My Skin’ showed off frontwoman Caitlin’s vocals that pack more punch than a kangaroo on a caffeine high. A four-piece serving up a feast of alt-rock anthems with hearty emo flavours, they’re touring soon and deserve a look in if you get the chance. Their latest album, ‘Can’t Stay Forever’, is streaming everywhere now.
LATEST MUSIC BAR 1:30pm – 2:00pm
Karma Sheen are a Hindustani classical psychedelic rock band from London. That’s the description on their Facebook page and I can confirm it’s pretty damn accurate. They are the creation of songwriter and guitarist Sameer Khan. The band’s instrumental armoury includes a harmonium, a theremin and a sitar. Before the band even take the stage you just know that this is going to be interesting. The first song features a mind-blowing wah-wah treated guitar wig-out. Sameer’s Stratocaster has a wonderfully full sound. In general, their music represents an absolutely stunning cultural mix. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing a band like this. Their influences are given equal exposure in their material, whether they be ragas or Led Zeppelin songs. This is an extraordinary band that everybody simply has to see.
NORTH LAINE BREWHOUSE (ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE) 1:45pm – 2:10pm
Originally from Bournemouth, Mavis Hall is a singer songwriter here fronting a four-piece band with Ben on bass, Chloe on guitar, and Izzy on drums. The schedule suggests that “Soak” should be on now, but I’m pretty sure that’s a different band so maybe there’s been a change. The opening number begins with a dreamy shoegazy feel, which is appropriate as it’s called ‘Sleep’. There’s jangly guitar and the drummer is doing a cute side-to-side shoulder dance whilst playing. ‘Miss Valentine’ chugs along over a tasty rhythm pattern, and builds to a lively ending. Long slow builds seem to be the thing, embellished with shuffling snare rolls. The venue is starting to fill up now, and the growing crowd are treated to a well-executed cover of Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’. Ben has swapped to a different bass, presumably to use an alternate tuning, and Mavis seems easily capable of handling the familiar and potentially challenging vocal line. Final number ‘Sammy’ has a particularly pleasing motif of string bends on guitar and a strong vocal hook. I very much enjoyed the set.
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 1:55pm – 2:25pm
RVG is an Australian band from Melbourne, composed of Romy Eager – guitar and vocals, Isabele Wallace – bass, Reuben Bloxham – guitar and Narc Nolte drummer. They offer up no surprises, it’s just solid indie rock with catchy sections that pack a little punch.
TGE BEACH STAGE 2:10pm – 2:35pm
Blusher are a Melbourne 3-piece pop band formed in 2021 by Miranda Ward, Lauren Coutts and Jade Ingvarson-Favretto. On first impressions, with their catchy pop songs and neat dance routines, you could think of Blusher as Steps without Lee and H. That would be an unfair comparison. Blusher’s dreamy synths and thick basslines set them apart from manufactured pop. In Blusher’s set, all three members took the lead on different songs, maybe harking back to each having solo careers before forming the band. When sharing vocals Miranda Ward, Lauren Coutts and Jade Ingvarson-Favretto sang in perfect harmony. All three also swapped instruments during the set, each taking a turn on bass and keyboards. Blusher’s synth pop set had variety, with some slower numbers among the up-tempo pop songs. On another song, Miranda Ward even shouted out the song with a megaphone. Highlights of Blusher’s set were ‘Hurricane Chaser’ and their last song ‘Backbone’ released only the previous week. It was a slick, fun performance by Blusher, which had a few people in the crowd swaying along to their infectious dance beats.
REVENGE 2:30pm – 3:00pm
The Rills come from Lincolnshire via Essex. In a fantastic marketing coup drummer Mason Cassar advertises today’s gig on his vest. Their music is punky, fast and powerful without losing its tunefulness. When guitarist Charlie Weight solos, the intensity and thickness of the sound doesn’t drop, which is not the case with some bands. Charlie only has one guitar with him today as he came down on the train, so he might be “faffing about a bit”. He’s wearing a cardigan onstage, which he admits was “a bad choice”. Bassist Callum Warner-Webb often has his foot on his monitor 1980s heavy metal style. I get the impression that he’s not being ironic. He also has “Ringo Starr” tattooed on his arms. It’s good to see probably the most underrated drummer in the world ever receiving some recognition. I have to say their half-hour set goes far too quickly. However, they venture into London on 7th June to play Highbury Grace. It’ll be worth the trip up to London to see them readers!
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 2:40pm – 3:10pm
Take the most extrovert performer straight out of a lapdancing club, throw in some sex toys, welcome your unsuspecting audience with a profanity, then launch a half-hour of heavy bass-laden bouncing technopop peppered with songs about every sex act you could imagine at an unsuspecting afternoon crowd and you have Big Wett! This larger-than-life performer from Melbourne, Australia set the dial to max on the Amazon New Music stage with her outrageous songs and dance moves. Although singing to original backing tracks, Big Wett is a fabulous dancer and all of her sassy moves went well with her music – if you get my drift! Some tracks such as ‘Number 1 Pussy’ are available online, but to fully appreciate them you need to catch her live for the whole Big Wett experience. Great fun.
(Martin J Fuller)
TGE BEACH STAGE 2:50pm – 3:15pm
It’s a warm and sunny afternoon on the beach, and in the big tent of the TGE Beach Stage we have Civic, a four-piece from Melbourne. I caught them in the Latest Music Bar on Thursday night, and I’m keen to experience the band playing on a larger stage through a big PA. “Is anyone sunburnt?” enquires frontman Jim, launching into ‘Born In The Heat’. It’s a classic punk sound, played hard and fast, and I love it. The first number sounds like a cross between The Clash and The Ruts. There’s a hint of the late great Malcolm Owen about Jim’s performance actually, hopefully without the addiction issues. To look at, Jim is tall and handsome, with cropped hair, chiselled features, and a piercing stare. ‘End Of the Line’ is super-intense, and Lewis is really digging into his guitar to stoke some wailing lead. ‘New Vietnam’ has a similarly blistering pace, chugging rhythm alternating with a catchy riff. Roland on bass and Matt on drums are the engine room, and the floor tom is getting a proper pounding. The splendidly-titled ‘Selling, Sucking, Blackmail, Bribes’ has a very dramatic hammered-on intro and some awesome lead guitar bolstered by a bit of phase and rapidly rocked expression pedal. ‘Time Girl’ has a manic intro of clanging chords and a high-velocity snare build. The intensity continues to the end of the brief set, with ‘Fly Song’ as manically urgent as the preceding numbers. The crowd has been slightly more subdued than I would expect, but I personally have enjoyed Civic immensely.
THE MESMERIST 3:30pm – 4:00pm (Unofficial Escape ‘Smithereen Takeover’)
Brighton’s LibraLibra began their first show for The Great Escape weekend at the Smithereen Takeover at The Mesmerist, which is located in Prince Albert Street, which is near to the Town Hall. Launching into their latest single ‘Brainbeast’ with its thumping beat and laser-gun synths alongside Beth Cannon’s scathing lyrics, ripping through the ranges like a demonic opera singer with a penchant for fuzzy pop. Normally a three-piece, but today the keyboardist Guy Jones has to work. But drummer/producer Joe Caple and vocalist Beth are holding court with a crowd that’s swelling with every song. A handful of other numbers follow in the form of ‘SADFACE’, ‘Hydra’, ‘Lonely Girl’, ‘Alchemy’ and ‘Mother’s Ruin’. One thing about LibraLibra is their ability to pull the rabbit out the hat and getting everyone dancing like they’re at the Studio 54’s disco complete with glittered feather boa and a pair of rainbow roller skates. In summing up, this was a most enjoyable set and I really enjoyed bopping along with them.
TGE BEACH STAGE 3:30pm – 3:55pm
Nice Biscuit are a five piece garage-psych collective from Brisbane. Before they took to the TGE Beach Stage, the announcer said that he felt underdressed compared to Nice Biscuit. It was clear to see why. The two frontwomen Billie Star and Grace Cuell wore striking flamboyant black costumes. The rest of the band, guitarist Jess Ferronato, bassist Nick Cavendish, and drummer Kurt Melvin wore Kraftwerk style black suits with white lines in a check pattern. Nice Biscuit were more than a fashion show. Their psychedelic sound combined harmonised vocal melodies and driving instrumental grooves provided a very good aural experience. Front and centre of the stage Billie Star and Grace Cuell led with their dual vocals and keyboards and percussion. Not only did they sing in harmony, their moves mirrored each other. On instrumental breaks they occasionally stand perfectly still like statues, then come to life to dance, sing or both. Nice Biscuit’s songs were very long, fitting only three songs into their set, which didn’t have any banter with the audience. This gave a prog rock, almost Hawkwind feel to their performance. The length of the songs did not detract from their performance. Although it meant that Billie Star and Grace Cuell had to synchronise drink breaks into their routines.
AMAZON NEW MUSIC STAGE 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Living their musical life at the far pop end of the rock spectrum The Reubens span two of music’s most prevalent genres and prove with 100% certainty that the pop charts would be a lot more interesting and genuine if vocal artists put aside the over-produced auto-tune and backing-track ethic for a more guitar-led style of song. These Australian guys are on the last part of their Great Escape journey down on the beach in a tented space that is close to capacity despite the sun being out and some strong competition on the next-door outside stage. The guitar amps may not be behaving, and the singer’s voice was on its last legs as he is right to reach the end of the set, but the songs reminded me why pop is popular…
THE MVT STAGE 4:40pm – 5:10pm
As the sun had come out on the warmest afternoon of the year so far, we decided to check out Australian Chanel Loren appearing on the converted Airstream MVT stage at TGE Beach venue. Chanel was originally from the UK but moved to Sydney in her teens with her family, probably because they get more weather like this! Likeable and talented singer-songwriter Chanel treated us to a laid-back set of R&B, soul and hip-hop with great beats as the chilled yet enthusiastic crowd joined in on a couple of songs, whilst they basked in the glorious sunshine. I recommend you check out her tracks ‘Some Other Time’ (Feat Arz) and final song ‘Playlist’, a 2022 single with a real funky vibe. This was most definitely the right set at the right time.
(Martin J Fuller)
VOLKS 5:00pm – 5:30pm
Recently there has been a real buzz about this band and judging by the size of the queue to get into the tiny venue, the secret’s out. Mandy Indiana hail from Manchester and comprise of Valentine Caulfield on vocals, Scott Fair on guitar, Simon Catling on synth and Alex MacDougall battering the drums. What they are not is just another Manchester indie guitar band. This is a group of musicians who cannot be put into any one easily defined genre. Bilingual Caulfield sings mainly in French and uses her voice as a percussive instrument, adding to the many layers provided by the rest of the band, There is punk and techno. There are driving riffs, juxtaposed against softer, more lyrical moments. Overall, there is a charisma which charms and excites in equal measure.
THE MVT STAGE 5:25pm – 5:55pm
Ula provides the closing set of the festival on the MVT stage. The 19-year-old spent lockdown building up a multi-million fan base on Tik-Tok with her slick indie pop that includes just a sprinkling of emo. This is a carefully polished and confident performance from someone who knows exactly what they want and isn’t afraid to seize the moment.
THE MUCKY DUCK 6:00pm – 6:25pm (ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE)
In the teatime lull of The Great Escape we venture to The Mucky Duck pub for some liquid refreshment and some Alternative Escape sounds courtesy of Alex (vocals), Matt (guitar), Callum (drums) and Chris (bass), who combined are Perth based Great Gable. It was a nice touch when Alex informed the crowd at the beginning of their 25 minute set where they were from in (Western) Australia and added “Boorloo”, which is the Nyungar (Australian Aboriginal language) name for Perth. A trio of Fenders and drums are the order of the day with these lads. This was their final concert of their UK tour and they were clearly relaxed, especially Alex, who sang a tune and then had a sip of his pint of Guinness after every tune, referencing that this particular amber nectar is hard to come by down under. He’s a colourful fellow, just like the band’s releases: ‘On The Wall In The Morning Light’ (2022 in teal green double vinyl), ‘Tracing Faces’ (2020 clear translucent wax), ‘GG’ (2019 ‘purple translucent wax’), and ‘Modern Interactions’ (2017 purple translucent wax). The quartet played foot tapping indie fayre with a blues tinge, including ‘All My Friends’ which offered up a twangy bass and drums combination. They played ‘Till The Sun Comes Up’ which comes out 19th May, and this was followed by ‘Hazy’ from the last album, which was for me their star tune of the set as there was much riffage to be had.
TGE BEACH STAGE 6:30pm – 7:00pm
There was excitement in the air as these four power-pop country and western tasselled power rangers took to the TGE beach stage. Their primary colour uniforms are their visual trademark and it’s always good to see a band understand how some sort of uniform can help differentiate you from the next scruffy bunch of jeans and ironic t-shirts. Congratulations (stylized as ‘congratulations’) came recommended and certainly didn’t disappoint, as they thrashed their instruments to the point where a kick drum change was needed half-way through, something this writer hasn’t seen happen in forty years of live gigs. Frenetic is a word often applied to this band’s live show, and frankly we can’t think of a more fitting adjective.
REVENGE 7:00pm – 7:30pm
As often happens with the Great Escape, you stumble upon excellent new acts that you hadn’t planned to see, and that is precisely what happened here as our photographer and I discovered Australian five-piece ‘Baby Cool’ on our way to another venue. Offering up a fusion of retro psychedelic folk rock with a touch of mellow country set against a lush dreamy vocal, standout songs were ‘The Sea’, ‘Poison’ and best of all 2023 single ‘Daydream’ which carries you along on a celestial wave and builds to a big guitar-infused finish. My only gripe was the number of disrespectful people talking in the crowd. However, it didn’t spoil our enjoyment and this is a really good band who you should definitely check out online!
(Martin J Fuller)
CHUBBY AND THE GANG
VOLKS 7:01pm – 7:31pm
Volks was rammed full for the start of Chubby And The Gang’s set. This West London outfit plays a take on the classic punk sound, thus bringing elements of punk, pub rock, and Oi! The band is fronted by vocalist Charlie “Chubby Charles” Manning-Walker, backed by the gang of guitarists Ethan Stahl and Tom “Razor” Hardwick, bassist Maegan Brooks Mills and drummer Joe McMahon. Chubby And The Gang’s was built around fast punk guitars similar to the Ramones and very heavy drumming. There were even some guitar solos more in tune with heavy metal than punk. Chubby Charles belted out the songs, but at times his shouted vocals sounded a little laboured. There was a sizeable mosh pit for Chubby And The Gang’s set, but there were also some people leaving during the set, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the band’s performance and I know that I wasn’t alone amongst the Brighton & Hove News team. Let’s just say, it was a performance which divided opinion!
CHALK 7:30pm – 8:00pm
A gentleman who introduced himself as ‘Jules’ just before the appearance of Brooklyn duo Heather Elle and James Maclay aka ‘Flossing’ told me this was the performance he had been most looking forward to. Having initially gone under my radar, it was easy to see why after this hedonistic, artistic and dystopian set, which produced a wall of brilliantly heavy dark techno basslines and danceable industrial sound that reverberated from every surface in the venue. With Heather’s almost androgynous look, bold lyrics, low slung vocal and shrieks plus the addition of a saxophonist for a couple of tracks, these elements combined to give the performance an even darker feel. Best track of the night for me was the 2022 single ‘Men On The Menu’ with its anti-Tinder lyrics, which will provide you with an excellent introduction to their music. A brooding powerhouse of a set.
(Martin J Fuller)
HORATIOS 7:30pm – 8:00pm
Hanya have always been popular with the Brighton and Hove News Music Team and have been covered many times over the last few years as the band has expanded from just a duo into the live quintet we see here this evening on Brighton Pier. Tonight’s performance was part of the Fat Cat Records showcase event, as Hanya have just signed to the Brighton label. They have always been one of my favourite local bands, I think I must have seen them over a dozen times live now and they are always brilliant and it was really good to see there was a really big crowd watching them. Their equipment on stage this evening was a Keylab 49 Essential keys, Fender Mustang guitar, drums and Alesis drum pads, Fender Jazz bass, and a second guitar. ‘Houseplants’, ’Logan’s Run’ and ‘Lydia’ are songs I’ve heard the band play many times and they sounded great. I hope now that they have record label backing they can achieve the success they deserve.
NOAH AND THE LONERS
NORTH LAINE BREWHOUSE (ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE) 7:45pm – 8:10pm
I’ve made my way back to the BIMM Showcase at The North Laine Brewhouse. I’m particularly keen to catch Noah And the Loners, who come strongly recommended by my editor. I’m not disappointed. They are a four-piece playing what I would consider to be old-school punk, though unlike most bands inhabiting that milieu, they are still young and absolutely fizzing with energy. I’m getting a bit dewy-eyed watching guitarist Joseph, his Dr Marten resting casually on the monitor. He has a school uniform look going on, like he’s auditioning for the Tom Robinson Band circa 1978, one of the first bands I ever saw. The lead vocalist is Noah, of course, bounding around like a jumping jack and sporting a T-shirt with a bold “PROTECT TRANS YOUTH” motif. On bass is Amber, looking punky clad in black. Ironically, given the band’s name, there’s a second Noah, this one trying to pound the drum kit through the floor on some super-heavy stabs accentuating the manic opener ‘Crash Landing’. It’s followed by the equally energetic ‘Just Kids’, which inspires a brief foray into the crowd and some grumbling from vocalist Noah about his lack of personal fitness. Just wait until you’re my age! I’m rather taken with the big snare build and the call-and-response vocals on ‘You Make Me Fall Apart’, and Amber chips in with some very effective backing on previous single ‘Teenage Tragedy’. We’re treated to a cover of a Sex Pistols’ classic, now updated to ‘God Save The King’. I’m impressed how well “king” near-rhymes with “human being”, given sufficiently sloppy enunciation. Equally impressive is how Joseph manages to play the number balanced on a particularly wobbly floor monitor. Introducing ‘Real Boys’, Noah makes an impassioned speech about the difficulties he faces as a trans man, and final number ‘Protest Anger’ is a proper maelstrom of energetically expressed righteous indignation, with thumping stabs, bubbling bass and wailing lead. Noah parts the crowd for Joseph to perform a blistering solo in the round. I feel comforted that the future of punk is safe with this band.
REVENGE 8:00pm – 8:30pm
Butch Kassidy eschews social media in favour of live performances. Reviews say this is an exciting and unique show, and plant the band into the post-punk genre-with-no-name alongside the likes of Squid. What we were met with is one humongous deafening wall of sound. Thrashing drums, urgent demanding guitar riffs, furious violin. There is a brutal starkness – experimental jazz meets, heavy metal, meets industrial rock. The sound is of such ferocity that it envelops the whole audience (no doubt helped by a healthy measure of smoke to fill the room) who stand transfixed, completely hypnotised.
NORTH LAINE BREWHOUSE (ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE) 8:30pm – 8:55pm
Next up in North Laine Brewhouse are congratulations (styled with a lower-case ‘c’), who have been very busy. This is their fifth show of the festival. I haven’t caught any of the others, but they turn up for this performance wearing brightly coloured fringed jumpsuits, like the house band at a 1970s rodeo. They open with ‘Lucy Lucy’, a single from last year, which is relatively slow by their manic standards. It’s a funky groove riding a wave of dirty fuzz bass. Lead vocalist Leah duets with guitarist Jamie, who seems to be channelling Prince. Bassist Greg and drummer James then move up a gear to underpin a nice strutting stomp. There are dramatic pushes and lots of effects-laden riffing on new single ‘Junk’, and ‘Kryptonite’ breaks out of its shuffling rhythm to a more upbeat section that has Leah and Jamie having a running-on-the-spot knees up that looks great in the colourful costumes. ‘Easter Island Head’ provides a lively conclusion to a fun set, with Jamie and Leah both out dancing in the appreciative crowd.
TGE BEACH STAGE 8:30pm – 9:00pm
With every inch of their collective beings Hutch clearly want to be Crosby, Stills and Nash. This is by no means a bad ambition, especially if you have harmonies as exquisite as Hutch’s. Their instrumental line-up includes a harp, an instrument whose use in the rock genre is oft-overlooked. They have something of a jam-band feel. The Grateful Dead are clearly also a major influence. They are obviously well known in the Brighton area, and songs such as ‘Ice On The Lake’ and ‘Mechanical Bull’ get a reception bordering on the rapturous. At the beginning of the last song the band all laugh maniacally into their mics. It’s good to see that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately they don’t appear to have any further gigs booked at the moment, but when they do, they’re well worth checking out.(Mark Kelly)
HORATIOS 8:30pm – 9:00pm
I haven’t come across Midnight Rodeo before, another band on the Fat Cat label. I was really impressed with the Nottingham based band. They have a spaghetti western/ surf rock sound to their music which I really liked. They also had a guitar player who had more than a passing resemblance to the great Peter Tork of The Monkees .A special mention to their drummer tonight who only had 24 hours to learn the songs, their usual drummer couldn’t make the gig. All the tunes played sounded great and I for one will be seeing them again next time they play in Brighton.
CHALK 8:30pm – 9:00pm
South London electronic indie dance band PVA are Ella Harris and Josh Baxter (lead vocals, synths, guitars and production) alongside Louis Satchell (drums and percussion). At the start Josh Baxter said. “We’re not here long. Dance with us”. It was near impossible not to dance to PVA’s pulsing electronic music. Rather than just another electronic dance band, PVA had a DIY raw energy about their live performance, in a similar way to Working Men’s Club. Ella Harris and Josh Baxter shared lead vocals. Josh sang on ‘Bunker’, which had strong Kraftwerk influences. Josh’s more in-your-face singing style contrasted with Ella’s more laid-back approach. Their stage mannerisms differed too. Ella often appeared to be in her own world throwing shapes to the music, while Josh appears more frantic. Louis Satchell’s drumming was solid throughout the set, but came to the fore in ‘Kim’. Most of the songs were from the ‘Blush’ album, but there was room for ‘Sleek Form’ from the ‘Toner’ EP. With the two synths placed far apart, and Ella trance-like dancing at the side of the stage, there was a large empty space in the centre. Visually this meant there was a lack of focal point on stage, which may have been deliberate. Sound-wise there was no lack of focus from PVA performance.
REVENGE 9:00pm – 9:30pm
This is the second performance of the day from this Brisbane-based quintet who offer a total sound and vision experience with handcrafted costumes for each and every show. Outfits today are something that could happily sit in a 60s sci-fi B-movie – think Barbarella or something equally kitch. Dual vocals and psychedelic synths, jangly notes and perfectly placed tambourine shakes which drive the sound. This is indie-garage psychedelia at its best. We would definitely recommend catching one of their performances if you get the chance.
THE ARCH 9:30pm – 10:00pm
Coach Party’s appearance at The Arch on Saturday night was their fifth gig in 3 days, with the band fitting in a trip to The Forum, Royal Tunbridge Wells between Brighton shows. Hailing from the Isle of Wight, Coach Party are vocalist and bassist Jess Eastwood, guitarists Joe Perry and Steph Norris and drummer Guy Page. Coach Party took to the stage at The Arch amid plenty of dry ice. After Jess checked “How you doing?”, they went straight into ‘Can’t Talk, Won’t’. This was an angry song with similarities to Wolf Alice. This was followed by ‘Weird Me Out’. The two new tracks released this year, ‘Micro Aggression’ and ‘All I Wanna Do Is Hate’ showed how Coach party have evolved as a band by building on their indie rock foundations. Between these new tracks, Steph swapped guitar for synth on ‘Sh*t TV’. As a contrast to the fast guitar and full-on delivery, there was a change in tempo at the start of ‘Sweetheart’. Jess sang solo and with minimal accompaniment, showing another side of her vocals. One of the highlights was ‘FLAG (Feel Like A Girl)’, a song about misogyny, hence the anger in Jess’s vocals. It was a very energetic and sharp performance to round off Coach Party’s rather busy weekend.
CHALK 9:30pm – 10:00pm
Formed a decade ago at school in Stoke Newington, stylish London four-piece Gengahr, fronted by Felix Bushe, played a brilliant set of melodic and catchy indie-pop tunes for their only appearance of TGE 2023. The uplifting 2018 single ‘Before Sunrise’ was the clear pick of their songs for me and is a must for any summer playlist. Other songs of note included latest single ‘A Ladder’ and 2019 single ‘Heavenly Maybe’, although every track was bang on the money. Towards the end of the performance, I glanced round to see everyone around me dancing without exception. There’s no doubt that this was an infectious set with a genuine added ‘feelgood factor’ and was well received by the happy crowd. With festival dates lined up this summer, you can also catch the band on their return to Brighton at the Concorde2 on Wednesday October 4th.
(Martin J Fuller)
TGE BEACH STAGE 9:30pm – 10:00pm
Helen Ganya is a Brighton based Scottish-Thai musician signed to Bella Union who is formally known as Dog In The Snow. What can we say about her except that her presence is both exquisite and haunting. Beautiful melodies shimmer through the room that are definitely reminiscent of St Vincent in delivery. The whole thing is almost classical – slow and soft with upbeat tempos for contrast over an electro synth foundation. Dreamy, elegant and poised, the songs are carefully crafted and have multiple layers. There’s something uplifting and comforting – it’s like being wrapped in rays of sunlight.
HORATIOS 9:30pm – 10:00pm
The final Fat Cat showcase act were Holiday Ghosts who I last saw live supporting Penelope Isles at Concorde 2 a while back, and Jack from Penelope Isles was in the crowd tonight. Formed in Falmouth this 4 piece band have just released their new album ‘Absolute Reality’ and have been getting a fair bit of radio play on 6Music recently. Their 60s sounding indie tunes are great live and I love to see a drummer take lead vocal duties as is the case with this band. ‘Again And Again’, a song I’ve heard a lot, sounded especially good live.
BRIGHTHELM 9:30pm – 10:00pm
I arrive at the Brighthelm Centre slightly early for Anna Wolf’s performance at this year’s Great Escape Festival, and little did I know that I would stumble upon one of the most avant-garde and outlandish acts of the event: Marina Herlop. Before entering the venue, I had no knowledge of Marina Herlop. Still, as I stepped inside, I was greeted by a predominantly seated crowd in complete silence, fixated on Marina’s solo performance on stage. Accompanied by keyboards and a Tom Tom drum, Marina mesmerized the audience with a blend of classical sounds punctuated by screams and high-pitched shouts, and what I could only presume was a made-up language. The music was indeed “out there,” pushing the boundaries of experimentation and defying conventional genres. As for Marina herself, she was a sight to behold. Clad in what appeared to be an opaque latex catsuit, with tape artfully covering her nipples and long thigh boots, she exuded a stage presence that resembled someone dressed for a fetish night rather than a performance in this elegant hall. Each song she performed garnered a huge round of applause, clearly demonstrating that the assembled crowd was enthralled by her artistry. However, I found myself utterly gobsmacked by the whole spectacle. The fusion of unconventional sounds and Marina’s visually striking presence left me in awe and disbelief. Marina Herlop’s performance was undeniably an experience that defied expectations and pushed the boundaries of musical expression. While the audience revelled in the unique blend of classical elements, piercing vocals, and enigmatic language, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the sheer audacity and avant-garde nature of it all. It was a performance that left a lasting impression, and Marina Herlop certainly proved herself to be an artist who fearlessly embraces experimentation and challenges the norm.
THREE WISE CATS 9:30pm – 10:00pm
Ombiigizi are one of the more unusually named bands that I’ve seen. Apparently their name is pronounced Om-BEE- ga-ZAY. Anyone intending to interview them at any time in the future would do well to learn that. The band come from Canada and are essentially a collaboration between Daniel Monkman from Zoon and Adam Sturgeon from Status / Non Status. They are accompanied by an ever changing line-up of musicians. It would probably be more accurate to describe them as a collective rather than a band. Initially they remind me a little of Counting Crows. However, I truly believe that seeing this band is probably the closest any of us will get to seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse play in a bar. Yep, they really are that good. They play their debut single ‘Residential Military’, which understandably virtually nobody in the room has heard before. However, that doesn’t prevent some very enthusiastic applause at the end. Ombiigizi have no further UK dates booked at the moment, but they do have an album: ‘Sewn Back Together’, which is definitely worthy of your investment.
HOPE AND RUIN 10:00pm – 10:30pm
After a little bit of queueing outside The Hope & Ruin, the sauna temperature of the packed upstairs room is a bit of a jolt, steaming up glasses and camera lenses alike. We’re here to catch Spangled, a four-piece from Manchester. I don’t know much about them, but they are clearly inspired by the “Madchester” scene of the late 1980s. I’m hooked immediately by the infectiously insistent beat of opener ‘Charlie Hills’. The lyrics are rapid fire and witty too: “Put him in a casket. Your boyfriend’s on the phone with some gasoline and matches.” Lead vocalist Ben has a classic curly perm and is dancing vigorously on one leg. Bearded bassist Niall chips in with an impressively falsetto backing vocal, Jamie riffs furiously on a Rickenbacker guitar, and Nathan is pounding the kit. ‘Headspace’ is another bouncy number with an effective dual vocal. “Elephant in the room,” confides Ben to the crowd. “It’s f*cking roasting.” He’s not wrong. The playout of ‘Drift Away’ is a particularly dramatic four chord descend, and Ben has pulled his T-shirt over his head and is doing a monster dance with arms outstretched. I’ve not come across this band before, but I really love their energy, and every song is a winner. ‘Cosmic Vibrations’ is a psych-tinged stomp with a chantalong chorus and a massive guitar-led outro with “oooh” backing vocals. Best of all is closer ‘We’ll Always Have Neptune’, which reminds me of The Stone Roses with its ‘Fool’s Gold’ style wah wah intro and baggy-beat shuffle. It’s a satisfyingly long piece, that develops into an extended outro in the manner of ‘I Am The Resurrection’. The crowd are clapping along, Niall is playing his bass behind his head, and I have another name to add to my new favourite bands list.
PAGANINI BALLROOM (THE OLD SHIP) 10:15pm – 10:45pm
Having had a little time on our hands to fill in between bands, three of our team decided to head to the salubrious surroundings of the Paganini Ballroom hosting the ‘BBC Introducing’ stage to see Southampton’s Saint Harrison. We had no idea what we were about to witness as the app bio gave a paucity of information. Would he be performing rap, hip-hop, pop or perhaps something else? Collective jaws around the venue dropped when he started singing, sounding like an amalgam of Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Ella Fizgerald with octave changes to match. I can’t remember hearing a male voice like this since Antony and the Johnsons lead singer Antony (now Anohni) Hegarty a couple of decades back. This talented singer delivered a mesmerising set of R&B and neo-soul originals inspired by personal events. The addition of his three backing singers enhanced the performance giving the large room a lounge type feel. Standout tracks were 2023 single ‘TMF’ and the stunning ‘Why Didn’t You Call’. Wonderful leftfield discoveries like this are what make The Great Escape the most diverse and essential music festival in the world.
(Martin J Fuller)
BRIGHTHELM 10:30pm – 11:00pm
We’ve left the sweatbox of The Hope & Ruin to cross the road to the Brighthelm Community Centre. This is a cooler, calmer and more spacious environment, with the feel of a church hall, which it is. Anna Wolf is next on, and I’m pretty sure it’s her as her name is boldly displayed on a massive projection. Originally from South Africa and now based in London, she’s a songwriter with a strong visual element to her performance, beginning her set in a strikingly bright top of multicoloured tinsel. She is flanked by guitarist Mike, who looks like he’s escaped from a heavy metal band, and moustachioed bassist Norman. A laptop is providing drums and sampled backing, although there are two floor toms on stage with mallets at the ready, should some rhythmic reinforcement be needed. Opening number ‘Gong’ has a bit of a Kate Bush vibe, with a wavering vocal of impressive range. ‘Heaven Breathes Out’ is more of a groove, with Anna singing with her booted foot up on the monitors, or rocking out with her guitar-toting outliers. ‘Free’ is bass-driven, and the vocal ranges from powerfully operatic to a conspiratorial whisper. The tinsel top is unsurprisingly discarded, to reveal a practical and rather eye-catching combo of vest, shorts and high lace-up boots. A stabbing synth throb and lots of samples underpin ‘Believer’ and there’s plenty of energetic dancing and battering of the floor toms. Anna is looking like she means business. The hapless floor toms get another ferocious beating on ‘Helmets’, which features a nice riff of clipped guitar, and during ‘Rich And Famous’ Anna is waving a big red flag with her name on it, just in case you hadn’t caught it by now. I didn’t know what to expect from this set, but the songs were excellent and the spectacular performance was most entertaining.
TGE BEACH STAGE 10:30pm – 11:00pm
The tent is pretty full, probably due to those arriving early for Personal Trainer but this performance holds their attention from start to finish and there is rapturous applause to round things off – well done Bella Union for another gem.
THREE WISE CATS 10:30pm – 11:00pm
Tramhaus are a five-piece post-punk band from Rotterdam. Vocalist Lukas Pasman is clearly a graduate of the Jim Morrison Academy for Rock Frontmen. He has the moves off to a tee. To be fair, he also has a certain amount of natural charisma. In addition he has a questionable ginger moustache. My neighbour in the audience is convinced that it is fake and wants to get up on stage and rip it off. I suspect that she may have been consuming alcohol. Opening song ‘Marwal’ is fast and furious with a cataclysmic ending. This song on its own causes a mosh pit to erupt. Second song ‘Seduction’ starts slowly, so slowly that vocalist Pasman starts singing sitting down. It soon gets heavier and the mosh pit starts again, and doesn’t stop till the end of Tramhaus’s set. At the end of the gig I feel like I’ve just played a particularly tough rugby match. This is actually testament to what a great live band Tramhaus are. Sadly they have no further UK dates booked at the moment. Surely there’s a promoter with some decent musical taste who could do something about that?
FIDDLER’S ELBOW 11:00pm – 11:30pm (Unofficial Escape ‘No Friends In The Industry’)
Having arrived early in the hope of seeing ex-Brighton resident and BIMM student Daisy Warne (aka BABii) perform as part of local promoter Love They Neighbour’s ‘No Friends In The In Industry’ shows, sadly we found the venue at capacity. Although we missed the start of her set, we were rewarded for our patience as we eventually managed to gain entry and catch much of it and it was certainly worth waiting for. This performance had all of the contemporary BABii trademarks which gave the audience a ‘dark and light’ experience with her brilliantly original intricate electronic compositions and heavier techno beats accompanied by flailing ribbons and a torch creating an immersive show of visual art that captivated those in attendance.
(Martin J Fuller)
LATEST MUSIC BAR 11:30pm – 12:00am
A little bit of walking and queueing has got us into the Latest Music Bar, where photographer Cris and I are planning to finish the evening and the festival. It’s absolutely packed downstairs and rather warm, and things hot up even further as The Chase come on. They are a five-piece from Nottingham, who seem to alternate big soaring indie rock with dancey offbeat ska. Tyler is on lead vocals and guitar, with his brother Dion on drums. They are joined by Will on guitar, Luke on bass, and James on keyboards, and it’s pretty lively stuff. They open with ‘You’re The Encore No One Asked For’, with a siren effect wailing over an urgent guitar riff and a hint of grime about the rapid lyrical delivery. ‘Trumpet’ has a bouncy ska feel, and the whole place is jumping. I rather enjoy the carnivalesque feel of current single ‘Bonzo Bonanza’ with its prancing keyboard sound and a weirdly oscillating solo. ‘I’m The Man’ is a steady-paced stomp driven along by keyboard stabs. The set concludes with ‘I Just Can’t Believe That We Share The Same Name’, which seems to be about sibling rivalry. Tyler is leading a huge chant along to the “da da da” vocal motif. Brother Dion interjects with a tasty drum break, and there’s a massive bounce underway amongst us dancing sardines.
FIDDLER’S ELBOW 11:50pm – 12:20am (Unofficial Escape ‘No Friends In The Industry’)
Take the space of an average lounge, turn off the lights, throw in a 5 piece band who could fill a stadium with their raucous sound and then let all hell break loose! That is precisely what happened for tonight’s DITZ performance. A long queue of people were left outside unable to get in, such was the demand to see their local heroes in a venue of this size. Due to prior proceedings and the setup overrunning plus a couple of technical issues, this performance was cut to around 20 minutes, so the band discarded the setlist and began taking requests! Within a minute or so, the whole back room at the Fiddlers Elbow became one big moshpit with the crowd headbanging and surging back and forth. Vocalist Cal Francis was on top form, at one point swinging from the rafters of the adjacent space and then the next minute on the floor. The music was typically raw with explosive tempo changes that almost blew off the roof. The space was lit only by a ‘Fire Exit’ sign, the darkness adding to the sense of chaos. Our photographer bowed out after this intoxicating performance wanting to finish her three TGE days on a high. Few would disagree that it was the right decision.
(Martin J Fuller)
LATEST MUSIC BAR 12:30am – 1:00am (Sunday morning)
We’re finishing the day downstairs in the Latest Music Bar in the company of the splendidly-monikered Dull, a high-velocity four-piece from Stockholm, Sweden. The name is ironic, as this is anything but dull. Louise and Canan provide the twin guitar attack, and share lead vocal duties. Max on bass and Elias on drums are getting a good workout too, as it’s fast and furious stuff. Opener ‘The Problem’ has a recurring motif of rapidly strummed multiple string bends, and ‘Bad’ somehow manages to go up another gear with out-and-out thrash. There’s some brief respite with the steadier ‘Sad Boys’, before we’re back to full-tilt with the manic ‘Treats’. Canan is really getting into it, shaking her hair and dancing wildly. I like the lyrical conceit of ‘Taking Notes’, which seems to be about recording your experiences to write a book. It has a slightly more angular rhythm but is still pretty intense. ‘This Is Going South’ launches with thunderous drums, and there’s some enthusiastic dancing amongst the packed crowd. Best of all is final number ‘Headphones’, a furiously manic torrent of screeching guitars to conclude an energetic and exhilarating set.
THE HOPE AND RUIN 1:00am – 1:30am (Sunday morning)
Having started the day 13 hours earlier and not wanting TGE2023 to end, my colleague and I decided to take in one final act, charismatic North East based five-piece Komparrison, who offered up a brilliant set of good old fashioned guitar-based harmonic indie pop songs with a personal story or social observation attached to each of them. Their great crowd interaction and humour added to the feel-good nature of this performance. My favourite tracks of the night were the melodic ‘And Again’ and the rockier much harder-edged ‘Loose Lips’. Their latest single ‘He Doesn’t Get It’ was released one day prior to this performance on Spotify and is a great place to start discovering their excellent music. So that was it! A cracking way to finish The Great Escape festival this year. The standard of acts was absolutely magnificent and without wanting to wish our lives away, every member of our team cannot wait to do it all over again next year!
(Martin J Fuller)
The Great Escape will be returning to Brighton on Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May 2024. Purchase your tickets HERE.
Nick Linazasoro, Martin J Fuller, Richie Nice, John Bownas, Sara-Louise Bowrey, Cris Watkins, Mark Kelly, Peter Greenfield, Richard Warran, Phil Newton, Stephen Willcox, Emma Austin, Teddy Webb, David McLean, David McMaster, Cherie Elody, Christian Le Surf, Michael Hundertmark, Moe Noble, Mike Burnell