Great Escape has become of my musts every festival season. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see loads of new bands and discover Brighton which is a wonderful city. The festival is a little like the British version of SXSW. Lots of venues, lots of showcases, lots of amazing bands just before they break, and lots of industry folk. Last year my ‘band of the festival’ was Cloud Control. After seeing them three times in one day, it lead to a long romance with their debut album ‘Bliss Release’ throughout the whole of the summer. I also saw incredible performances from Anna Calvi and Olfar Arnolds. And yet again, this year was no exception for amazing talent.
I have decided to split my Great Escape review into three parts, basically there is just too much to write about! So I will start with the first day of the festival…
My Thursday started with Passenger, busking on the street. Brighton is alive and thriving in culture even if you don’t have a wristband. You can walk round the city and see lots of talent for free and Passenger is a great example of this. Despite being huge in Australia, he is still busking, and he attracted a big crowd with his beautiful performance despite the rain. I then headed to The Loft where I caught the last of an Emma Louise song, which sounded lovely and then for Giovanna, which was quite frankly the oddest thing I saw all weekend. She genre hopped between piano ballads, trip-hop and erm, accordion drum and bass. She also treated to the audience to some running on the spot with added air punches and bum shaking. It was unusual to say the least.
Oliver Tank next at the Australian showcase, which was outside and it was unfortunately raining. His music would have perfectly suited a chilled day in the sun, but it was very nice anyway. I then headed for Komedia where a big crowd had gathered to see 18 year old Jake Bugg. He is one hell of a songwriter. Melodies that could be confidently compared to Oasis and Dylan. It will be so interesting to see him develop as a songwriter, I hope his label do the right thing with that young talent. Next up I wanted to see Friends as Horatios, which is a venue at the end of Brighton pier. Unfortunately when I got there is was full and there was no hope of getting in so I went to the church where I waited for Hannah Cohen.
I also saw Hannah the night before at Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston which was her debut UK show. It was beautiful beyond words. Her band were incredible and the venue was so perfect. Her performance at the Unitarian church was also pretty flawless. She didn’t have her amazing band with her, just her with Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) on piano. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. I am so in love with her music.
I then caught a couple of Gross Magic songs which sounded epic. I love his sound, I think it’s one of the best things to come from British guitar bands in a long time (except maybe from a band which I will mention later). Finally my night ends with Mystery Jets. I have seen them several times before but unfortunately this time the set was unfortunately a little flat.
I head off to the Great Escape in 2 days time and I am very excited to say the least. The Great Escape is hands down the best new music festival in the UK. The only problem is who is see! As there is so many amazing acts playing, and this year is no exception. This is the first of 3 posts with my recommendations of who to see at this years festival. Lets start with Thursday…
If you haven’t already seen my love for Hannah Cohen on this blog then your probably not a regular. This girl has made my album of the year so far. A stunning, ghostly collection of beautifully sung and arranged songs. She will be playing the Great Escape with Doveman and is my No. 1 must see of the festival.
I saw Friends a couple of weeks ago in London and they were so good. Quirky, 90′s influenced sounds with great stage presence.
This should be interesting to see. I expect a beautiful set from the German songstress.
Brighton based Gross Magic will be right at home when they support Mystery Jets in the Corn Exchange. Looking forward to catching their grungy, pop sounds live.
Big fan of this man. Folktronica at it’s finest.
Tickets for the Great Escape are still on sale from here and if you don’t already have yours, then what are you doing!?
A few days ago I featured a stunning Julia Stone remix by a very talented man called Oliver Tank. I think the term ‘this years James Blake’ has been too closely associated with Oliver. But it’s got Blake elements, that space in sound, chilled out dubstep, electronica goes mainstream etc. Tank, like Blake is a very talented producer. He makes everything sound beautiful, spaced out and interesting.
Oliver Tank is from Sydney, Australia and his debut EP ‘Dreams’ was released late last year on Yes Please records, take a listen and download here. Two of the tracks, and probably my two highlights, feature vocals from Fawn Myers (who I unfortunately can’t see does any solo work). The chemistry between their two voices is quite stunning. Oliver will be heading to the UK in May to play some gigs, including a slot at the Great Escape festival. He is definitely on my list of bands to see at that festival. A second EP is scheduled for later this year.
This track is divine. A remix by Oliver Tank of Julia Stone’s ‘Lets Forget all the Things that We Say’, which is taken from her new solo record, released later this year. The original version of this song also features on the new Communion New Faces Compilation out in the UK in April.
Her record, entitled ’By The Horns’ has been produced by Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman who also produced the Hannah Cohen debut record ‘Child Bride’ (which I adore). I am very much looking forward to hearing the full record, which is out on May 28th. But for now, check out this gorgeous remix.
Great Escape was another one of my favourite festivals of last summer, you can read my review of it here. It basically involves over 300 ‘new’ bands playing around Brighton over around 3 days. It’s also a conference and there is lots of industry people about, sort of like a British SXSW.
There is so many great bands to see, and so many wonderful venues and secret shows. Brighton also makes for a lovely little seaside town with brilliant nightlife. And it’s only £45, what’s not to love!? They have recently announced their ‘core’ line-up programme, although there will be loads more to come including another headliner of the Dome shows (ticketed separately). Can’t wait for this year!
Best of the line-up so far: Alabama Shakes // BOY // Lianne La Havas // Mystery Jets // Pale Seas // Willy Mason // Oliver Tank // Alt-J // Friends // Gross Magic // Dillon // . This festival is about discovering new artists so even if you know no one on the line-up, that’s the point! See the full line-up here.
Tickets are only £45 at the moment (prices will go up) and are available here.