It’s not a secret: Brighton is buzzing. Way more than in recent years. The city’s Great Escape Festival is always a welcome mix of local gems and giants from the other side of the planet, but the city’s talents are managing to steal the show in 2015. Royal Blood might have wavered about whether they were from here or in the not-too-distant Worthing, but the majority of new acts are embracing their roots and giving the seaside something to be excited about, beyond skinny dipping and getting doughnuts on the pier.
Later today (15th May), we’re hosting an Alt Escape show at Brighton Bleach alongside Echochamp, a collective comprising of some of the city’s most exciting new names. Less a label, more a showcase of who’s doing what, new projects come and go in an instant, and members of various acts interchange and produce each other’s songs.
Central to this is The Magic Gang, Brighton’s biggest hope of potential world domination. If you’re a regular on DIY, you’re probably familiar with the Weezer-nodding four-piece. The same goes for Demob Happy - self-starters with a serious cause, and their own Brighton cafe space to boot - and the ravaged Black Honey, unpredictable rock ’n roll gems.
Part of the Bleach all-dayer is to showcase some of the Brighton acts you might be slightly less aware of. As a preview, we’ve put together a quick guide to the Echochamp-backed gems playing today’s shindig. While you’re at it, check out Londoners Pix and Oscar, two more gems on the bill. Don’t worry. London’s cool too.
He fucking hates being sent out to the shops to buy milk, but there’s more to Daniel Taylor’s music than plain misery. Most of his songs are about failed romances, like a ‘Balkan Baby’ who decided to head back East, or his first love ‘Carmela’. None of these flings worked out, so Sulky Boy is moody for a reason.
Today’s showcase begins with a fuzz-encrusted wall of sound. The four-piece have one song to their name (divine burst of energy ‘Year or Two’) and a handful of shows under their belt. Together, they pack a punch that still manages to bask in any shreds of beauty it can get a hold of. This isn’t just rampant noise - it’s a wild spirit, an abandon that threatens to spin off into the distance.
Echochamp’s first free release was the debut solo track from George Boorman. ‘Pushing Pillows’ is a lonely daydreamer, a stripped-down ode to lost hours and dull afternoons. It’s emotionally-packed, but it’s delivered with a slight wry humour. When Boorman sings “do you love me at all?” in a gloomy chorus, he manages to spin misery into strange triumph. The Magic Gang’s Kristian Smith produces the track.
Spirited post-punk sets the agenda with Breathe Panel. Their debut ‘On My Way’ track came out on a compilation from go-to tape label Beech Coma, and it’s led by a vocal take from Nick Green that doesn’t place him too far away from a pack of Stateside giants - early Merchandise comparisons aren’t far off.
Harry Waugh is a frontman like no other. Happen upon any rowdy garage punk gig in either Brighton or London, and he’ll be down the front crowd-surfing for his mates. On stage, he delivers an earth-shattering boom of a vocal, the kind that could change the seaside’s tide if it fancied. Abattoir Blues are reminiscent of a more bloodthirsty Eagulls, and their recent ‘Awake’ song - taken from Art Is Hard’s ‘Family Portrait’ compilation - is reason to believe they’re onto something special.
Shameless guitar licks and cascading waves of psych have already spilled out into Brighton over this Great Escape weekend. Tusks played a packed-out show at The White Rabbit last night with Birdskulls. Like Temples if they’d been raised on horror flicks, they have more in common with gruesome grunge than any kaleidoscope-hugging pack.
DIY x Echochamp’s Alt Escape showcase starts at 3.30pm on 15th May in Bleach. See the stage times here.