The Great Escape 2017 Ones To Watch

TGE_logo    Alternative Escape_Logo

And it’s that time of year again – The Great Escape Festival! Now into it’s 12th year, with over 400 acts in showcase scattered about the city of Brighton, it always offers a prime opportunity to discover new music. Over the next 3 days we’re going to share with you our ‘Ones To Watch’ – by this day next week, you’ll be indulging in these festival highlights. Enjoy Part 1 of our top 30 artists; a combination of both The Great Escape (wrist-band entry) and The Alternative Escape (FREE entry)…

THURSDAY 18th MAY

Crimsons

Leaving indie-pop behind and opening a large can of courageous rock psychedelia, relative unknowns Crimsons, from Manchester, recently started their own club night ‘Club Crimsons’, which they hail as a ‘creative sphere’ of the best of Manchester’s new music, DJs, poetry and performances. Their TGE appearance coincides with the launch of their debut EP, Shy Talk. This should be a good one! *

The Hope and Ruin, 1pm (TGE)

Maria Kelly

We move now into the layered acoustic folk style – Dublin-based singer-songwriter, Maria Kelly, brings earnest songwriting and palpable emotion akin to The Big Thief and Lucy Rose. Check out graceful ‘Torn In Two’ – I think you’ll agree that this is a singer-songwriter with a lot of promise! **

The Hope & Ruin, 1:45pm (TGE)

Wyvern Lingo

We discovered these at Dublin’s HWCH’s in the Workman’s Club, last October, and they completely stole the evening – they carry Rn’B Pop melodies with soulful sassiness that’s best epitomised on ‘Subside’. The Irish trio: Karen Cowley, Saoirse Duane and Caoimhe Barry in fact started out as backing vocalists for Hozier and have since worked with Zaska, all in all, three very talented artists from Bray. **

Fender Paramount Stage, 5pm (TGE)

Our Girl

I first caught this Brighton native trio a couple of years back, at the time so much potential was masked by their PA, but these are stunning, in fact, you might recognise frontwoman, Sophie Nathan, from Big Moon, in this outfit she leads vocals and fronts a more steady, shoegazzy background; warm vocals up against a mist of fuzzy guitar. **

Castle Street Gymnasium, 5:10pm (ALT)

Dream Wife

Where shall I begin – these I have been meaning to see for flipping ages – they have such a catchy empowering edge, that’s almost Blondie – but with a spin on grunge and theatrical-pop. Despite being named after the 50’s romantic comedy starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, you’ll be kidding yourself to mistake these for anything delicate, but their punkiness absolutely works in their favour – in their words they’re: “poolside pop with a bite”. **

Castle Street Gymnasium, 5:50pm (ALT)

Horsebeach 

What’s not to love about this completely independent Manchester-based band, between their DIY ethos (they’re onto their third self-produced album on their own label) and their organic production, they are (personally) the best unknown act off TGE list that I’m the most excited to see live. They create an effortless, dreamy space through jangly-rifts and sensitive lyrics: “She wears an oversized sweater, to hide her oversized heart”. I have a lot of love for Ducktails and Real Estate, so to hear a band giving them a slight nod, I was already taken in…Make plans to see these, or you’ll regret it all together! Favourites include: ‘It’s Alright’, ‘How Far Must We Go’ ‘Andy’, ‘Dana’. **

Castle Street Gymnasium, 6:30pm (ALT)

Phobophobes

This dark psychedelic five-piece blend garage-to-glam-rock (‘Human Baby’) and sci-fi-pop (‘Never Never’) with vocals of slight reminiscence to Jim Morrison, though far grittier, and at times, such as on track: ‘Human Baby’ there’s instead, a subtle undercurrent of Marc Bolan. In fact, there’s so many influences and textures to them, that you’ll get so much out of a single track let alone an entire set; that of course, is going to be off the wall! **

Black Lion, 7:30pm (ALT)

Flyte 

I can’t possibly plug these enough – having won our hearts last year at their very own club night in Moth Club, Hackney, these are at the top of my recommended artists to check out! Expect the poetic, of a romantic kind, and nostalgic pop of 60’s singer-songwriter quality, paralleling Paul Simon. I stand by my best description of them; imagine The Kinks’ rooted englishness up against the pace of David Byrne’s wry and whimsy thrown in with Kate Bush’s literary attachment – something special indeed.

The East Wing, 10:15pm (TGE)

Fickle Friends

The Great Escape represents a homecoming gig for Fickle Friends, who have been touring the UK with The Kooks throughout May, including a date at London’s Ally Pally this Saturday. The Brighton five-piece fronted by Natassja Shiner have been working on their debut LP with producer Mike Crossey (the mastermind behind The 1975’s critically acclaimed first album) which should be a match made in heaven for this band’s bouncy, 80’s-tinted pop perfection. *

The East Wing, 11.15pm (TGE)

(Be warned this may stay in your head for days)!

Ten Fé

London duo Ten Fé return to the Great Escape for the second year in a row. They’ve travelled far since their last appearance – recording their debut album in Berlin with producer Ewan Pearson and building a steadily expanding following of fresh-faced, fashionable fans. Expect pleasing piano hooks, majestic synths, and memorable melodies underpinned by lyrics that hold their own. We love them! *

The Arch, 1.30am (TGE)

Writers: *Will Steadman@steadman_will and **Rachael Crabtree: @eccentric_eejit

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