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.