The Great Escape is upon us once more and we’re welcomed to Brighton with some delightfully sunny weather to kick off three days of new music, bands (and maybe some bevs) here on the south coast. This year’s festival is bigger than ever with over 400 artists playing the many, many venues of the city and with DIY taking over Horatio’s on the pier again this year, it’s safe to say the festival is already shaping up to be an exciting three days of new music discovery.
The day starts with an intense jolt, courtesy of Mellah. Playing downstairs at the dingy Bau Wow, Liam Ramsden and co give a spellbinding preview of upcoming EP ‘Middle England’. Twisting his vocals in every direction possible, backed by folky strums of guitars and embellished with flutes and clarinet, it’s an immersive, fresh take on the singer-songwriter rulebook.
New at the festival this year is The Beach - a seafront venue consisting of two indoor stages - and Aussie newcomer G Flip works to cement the significant buzz around her in the first of a run of afternoon shows. Debut single ‘About You’ is a thunderous, Robyn-esque stab of pop, and it sounds even more huge live. Swapping between frontwoman and drummer, Georgia Flipo is already a multi-faceted proposition. The new songs showcased today don’t point to reaching the heights of ‘About You’, though, and it seems only time will tell if there’s substance behind the excitement.
She’s followed by Snail Mail - Lindsey Jordan is a formidable force on stage tackling the slower moments of her set just as well as well as her more upbeat ones, pairing twangy and fuzzed out guitars with heartfelt lyricism. With just a few weeks to go until the release of her debut album, it’s a set heavy with upcoming releases but it’s recent single ‘Pristine’ and ‘Thinning’, from 2016’s EP ‘Habit’, that causes the biggest stir, with pockets of the crowd shout-singing the lyrics back to her.
Next up on the same stage is Soccer Mommy. With a talent for songwriting as though reciting from her diary and a performer seemingly truly thankful for her set’s impressive turnout, Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison is becoming an ever stronger performer. It’s on ‘Your Dog’ she really shines though, with the song’s witty lyricism and powerful delivery meaning it’s quickly become a crowd favourite during her live sets.
At this year’s Great Escape, we’re back at Horatio’s Bar on Brighton Pier for three nights of buzz, and Thursday’s introduction is a blazing one. With tours alongside Superfood, Inheaven, Gang Of Youths and more under their belt, King Nun have become a ferocious live proposition, and tonight they’re impeccably tight. From the garage blues thrash of ‘Hung Around’ to the bounce of ‘Sponge’ and previews of tracks from an upcoming EP, the four-piece are just growing and growing, fronted by the insatiable Theo Polyzoides, who bounds around the stage with an untameable energy.
They’re followed by Pale Waves, who are excelling at every turn in the live setting recently. Vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie commands the crowd with ease tonight, coming well and truly out of her shell. New track ‘Kiss’, released only a few days prior, is already received with the same adoration as debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ and opener ‘Television Romance’, and with their biggest London show to date set for next week, there looks to be no stopping the quartet at the moment. As a first night down in Brighton goes, then, it’s been a total smash.
Photos: Emma Swann / DIY