The Great Escape is a world-renowned festival focused on up and coming bands that takes place in the venues, pubs and streets of Brighton. The 2018 version hits town from 17-19 of May – like, pretty much now! Here are some of the shows you won’t want to miss.
Horatio’s | 19/05 | 23:15
Grrrl power garage pop band The Regrettes have been sparkling their way through the LA club scene with their modern and feminist themes. Now they are bringing their cutesy pop vibes to The Great Escape. Having personal interests in witchcraft, ice cream and Snapchat (all completely natural bedfellows), their fierce lyrics and kind hearts just want you to feel something. The wave of sound that hits you in the first few seconds of their music swells to become a sensation that overcomes you with bittersweet tenderness and passion. The Regrettes have a knack for fluorescent vocals and infectious rifts that will keep you on your feet all night long.
Words by Lucie Moody
AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
Prince Albert | 18/05 | 23:10
Beach House | 19/05 | 12:50
Born out of a Melbourne shared house, Amyl and the Sniffers call back to the brash, D.I.Y. garage rock sounds of early ‘70s Aussie punks such as Cheap Nasties and The Saints. Singer Amy Taylor’s commanding drawl tangles with fuzz-drenched guitar in the manner of legendary female punk singers Poly Styrene or Kim Gordon. Their first release, the Giddy Up EP, was something of a spontaneous venture, being recorded by the band on a whim in only four hours, after a day’s work. The result, however, proved far from disappointing: a seven minute series of punk vignettes that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Minutemen album. The band recently signed to Australian independent label Flightless Records and have released a new single, Cup of Destiny.
Words by Stefan Williams
Wagner Hall | 17/05 | 23:00
BBC Sound of 2018 Top Tenner Alma is a progressive pop artist from Helsinki, Finland and one of the dominate faces of a new wave of fierce female lead singers. With or without Aunty’s blessing, she definitely is one to watch, following the release of her blazing singles Chasing Highs and Phases in 2017, as well as over 170m streams to her name. She is currently working with collaborators and friends on her 6-track mixtape, Heavy Rules. Catch her live at The Great Escape ahead of a summer tour, quite possibly followed by world domination.
Words by Mary Smith
Latest Music Bar | 18/05 | 15:15
The Hope & Ruin | 18/05 | 23:45
Volks | 19/05 | 19:00
Welsh rockers Dream State have had a hectic few months since their last appearance in Brighton in August 2017, having inked a deal with Australian label UNFD just before making their debut performances at Reading and Leeds Festivals. They’ve most recently headlined a packed out UK tour. Their powerful catchy brand of post-hardcore is bound to get the crowd moving at this year’s Great Escape, with newest single In This Hell sure to spark a singalong.
Words by Phoebe Constable
The Haunt | 18/05 | 20:30
The second day of The Great Escape (18 May) will see London-based magazine So Young curate an evening of music at The Haunt. Playing alongside such bands as Sorry and Bodega are Portsmouth based five-piece Hotel Lux. Since releasing their debut single, Envoi, Hotel Lux have rightfully established themselves as one of the most essential bands of today’s alternative music scene. Led by frontman Lewis Duffin’s wry wit and foreboding stage-presence, they provide the kind of minimalist, hard-hitting boldness that frequently draws comparisons to The Fall and Fat White Family. Having just released their new single, Daddy, and coming off the back of a European tour supporting London contemporaries Shame, Hotel Lux sound as invigorated as ever.
Words by William Kay
The Old Market | 18/05 | 22:15
Art Pop collective Superorganism are definitely a band for the modem generation. Made up of eight truly international musicians from South Korea to New Zealand, the band now live together in East London,. absorbing art music and culture which they bring into their own synth-pop soundscapes. The band achieved instant success with debut single, Something for Your M.I.N.D., then gained widespread exposure when picked up by console mega-game, FIFA 17. The band released their self titled debut album in 2018. Superorganism are a mesmiric watch and listen.
Words by Jules Pestano
Paganini Ballroom | 18/05 | 21:30
Jamaican born singer and rapper Alicai Harley brings her Caribbean roots to London’s grime scene, knitting together her cultural influences with her upbringing for a modern and unique twist on UK rap. Her tracks are a cool infusion of R&B, hip-hop and grime, moulded together with classic dancehall beats. A strong rising female voice in the UK’s rap scene, Alicai is poised for greatness and has been championed by BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Introducing for her contributions to the UK scene. Alicia has been making waves with her latest single, Gold, a track primed for summer listening, filled with groove and attitude and an audible slice of her Jamaican heritage. Her tracks are rife with striking lyricism. 2016 track, Know Me, marries a gentle vocal with seething rap and raw truths drawing comparisons to the likes of Missy Elliot. Alicai is is set for exponential growth in the scene over the summer.
Words by Annabel Platt
Prince Albert | 19/05 | 14:40
White Room are a Brighton-based psyche-rock band who are bringing their swirling kaleidoscope of psychedelic rock to The Great Escape 2018. Last year saw the band release their Eight EP to critical acclaim. This year they will embark on a headline your around the UK, debuting new material, doggedly pursued by a tidal wave of (quite justified) hype. Clash magazine described them as “a transportive journey that rips apart your expectations and sluices the multi-coloured debris into your imagination”, while Wonderland billed them as “your favourite new Rock n Roll”.
Words by Jules Pestano
Horatio’s | 19/05 | 20:15
A six piece jazz-infused art-pop band named after a state; that’s not the typical type of group, is it? Well ALASKALASKA are anything but the typical. Known for their outlandish live performances, the band that draws inspiration from the likes of The Smiths and The Police are set to blaze at this year’s Great Escape. Fronted by singer and wordsmith Lucinda John-Duarte, (and formed in 2016) the quirky London troupe throw pop and jazz in a blender with a light dash of disco to create their far-out music with intelligent eccentricity. Dubbed “the UK’s most eclectic new live band,” by NME, ALASKAALASKA are sure to inject craziness and charged up energy into the festival, playing a set made up of their vibrant debut EP and new music.
Words by Ray A.J
Horatio’s | 18/05 | 19:15
BLOXX are a female-fronted indie pop band fusing grungy undertones with classic melodies. The four-piece are made up of lead singer and guitarist Ophelia Booth, Tazon, lead guitar and backing vocals, Mozwin on drums and Paul on bass. The DIY-praised band, originating from Uxbridge, have had huge success in the last year, including a Maida Vale live session for Radio 1. BLOXX’s sound is familiar, yet unique which ties in perfectly with the band’s onstage energy. Having huge social media success with latest release, Novocain, the band have captured fans’ and critics’ attention. Returning to one of their favourite cities to play The Great Escape, BLOXX promise to have you immersed into their world of gripping riffs and intricate melodies as they perform their catchy songs.
Words by Emma Sherar
Beach House | 17/05 | 14:30
Horatio’s | 17/05 | 21:00
Yorkshire’s finest, The Orielles, are joining the party down at Horatio’s Bar on Brighton Pier. Sisters, Esme and Sidone Hand-Halford joined forces with their best friend Henry Carlisle Wade after meeting at a house party a couple of years ago. The Halifax trio have gone from strength to strength since signing with Heavenly Recordings at the end of 2016, and recently released their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment. Standout tracks include the aptly-titled The Sound of Liminal Spaces and the final track on the record, Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist). Their jangling, sun-soaked guitar riffs set the perfect backdrop for those incoming summer days, whilst Esme and Sidone’s vocals have the ability to send you into a transient haze. They’ll be taking the stage on Thursday the 18th, with King Nun, FREAK, Pale Waves and Say Sue Me, for what promises to be an unmissable night.
Words by Isabelle Aldridge
The Old Market | 19/05 | 22:15
Maturity isn’t measured by years, but by character – and Tom Grennan is an artist whose age has no reflection on the depth of his art and storytelling. Acclaimed as one of the biggest talents to emerge in 2017, and with his debut album, Lighting Matches, set for release this July, Grennan is ready to take 2018 by storm. The songwriter has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months, playing show after show and collaborating with various artists including Bugzy Malone and Chase & Status, all leading up to the release of his first album. Lighting Matches will continue to showcase Grennan’s talent for thunderous pop songs which feature his raspy and fervid vocals, with lyrics which demonstrate a certain vulnerability.
Words by Eline Joling