The Great Escape 2018 Review

Live Reviews, The Great Escape 2018, Uncategorized

Brighton 2; Spiral Magazine

The UK’s biggest and brightest showcase of new alternative music was enhanced this year by the irrepressible rays of sunshine – Brighton was grinning from ear-to-ear; everyone was glowing, rooms were gold emblazoned and the streets were so chilled you had to pinch yourself to remind yourself of the time.

Meandering in and around the sun-kissed seaside streets to over 30 venues, from pubs, nightclubs, street stages and beach marquees to catch a glimpse of as many of the 450 bands across 3 days where there were natural challenges in deciding who not to miss and the unavoidable gamble of clashes.

By the Saturday afternoon we felt we let in as much magic as we could manage and set-off on the long voyage home, as to recover from pre-festival (ill-timed) viruses. Our highs however, were unforgettable and without doubt Ireland found it’s way to everyone’s heart by it’s peoples innate charisma, wry wit and warm spirits.

THURSDAY’S highlights…


Moncrieff 01; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

This Irish Singer-Songwriter took the theatre by storm. It’s no exaggeration that his raw and commanding stadium-sized vocals never mind filled, but could be heard outside, the Sallis Benney Theatre, and without a microphone on many occasions to boot too! We were drawn in from the first powerful note; with bluesy and effortless vocal ranges certainly giving Hozier a run for his money!

His heart- wrenching lyrics were delivered with so much punch, we felt the pangs to our gut, particularly on standout tracks: ‘Symptoms’ and ‘Serial Killer’. Suffice to say this Dublin artist is an emerging soul-pop artist to watch, in fact, you’ve got to join us in seeing him headline London in July!

George Taylor 

George Taylor; Elizabeth Andrade; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

This was one of those most tender and sensitive sets that you needed in-between some sketchy shows that afternoon. George’s soulful delivery was effortlessly supported by the tight band. The emotive energy combined was palpable in Jubilee Square – the frontman called to mind Tom Odell, particularly on ‘Come Follow Me Down’. Their set garnered the attention of every passing punter, we reckon these are serious contenders to watch in the upcoming months!

Riley Pearce 

Riley Pearce 02; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)This talented Perth-based singer-songwriter from the Melbourne-based management: Lemon Tree Music (which already boasts the likes of Tash Sultana, and Pierce Brothers) was everything we hoped for live – the guitar work was impressive to watch, let alone listen – picture Ben Howard in his early days!

He harnessed calming ambiance and had the ability to silence One Church very casually through voice and guitar alone. A slow burning musician that draws parallels to Jose Gonzalez. Playing his latest dreamy single ‘Elephants’ not forgetting his classic ‘Brave’ and ‘Misplaced’ that was every bit as moving in person.

Blanco White 

Blanco White; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright).jpgThere was no disguising the momentum behind this gig, genuine panic was in the winding queues eyes around Unitarian Church that it was to much relief we were admitted a pew seat. Effortless sensitivity oozed from the strings of the guitars, violin and soft percussion. Every musician’s precision within the five piece intrigued and sent us to goosebumps.

All that was needed was the lead vocalist to provide us with the passionate literary lyrics to give us moments of reflection: “We’re confined to be apart, To take sides in divided cells. We collide when we depart, Don’t ask me what’s the cost, I don’t know myself”. It’s music to make you feel as though you’re the leading role in a romantic drama.

Frontman, Josh Edwards began as London-based solo musician before studying guitar in Spain and the Andean (mini-classical guitar) in Bolivia to bring home together authentic influences and elements of Andalusian and Latin music and is every bit the entrancing artist you imagine he would be live.

FRIDAY’S highlights…

Ten Fé 

Ten Fe 05; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

Generating an epic wave at TGE was the alternative London via Birmingham five-piece, Ten Fé, who have really come into their own and hinted to even greater things with their very subtle teases of new music – we cannot wait for them to drop their second album! At a capacity, Black Lion, these brought colour to everyones cheeks.


Clearly meant for bigger stages and with only a snapshot of set, it was moments like these where you could feel impressions were being made; turning heads as they glided from song-to-song seamlessly and between lead vocalists, framing their varied influences and styles, with hints of Americana (‘Elodie’), Gospel (‘Twist Your Arm’) even a Middle Eastern vibe (‘Make Me Better’).

Ten Fe 03; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

Get familiar with Ten Fé’s debut album: ‘Hit The Light’ this summer before you plunge into their much anticipated follow-up album released ahead of their biggest ever headlining UK tour this autumn.


Gengahr 02; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

To see out the evening we caught the ‘special guests’ Gengahr steal the hearts of The Haunt. Everyone was webbed into a lair of dreamlike haziness of their sunshine soaked guitar-rock enhanced by Felix Bushe’s haunting falsetto vocals.

Their garage-rock anthems from 2014 album, The Dream Outside such as ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ and ‘Heroine’ felt nostalgic and no doubt got the crowds joining in harmony. It was soothing lo-fuzz guitar-rock that reminded us of forgotten gems – their latest album of which, we’re currently tuning into!

Gengahr 01; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)


SATURDAY’S highlights…


Marscians 01; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright).jpg


Never mind adjusting to the darkness of Komedia as the Marsicans were beaming, attracting the crowds with their vibrancy. This Leeds four-piece radiated with relentless energy and were so genuinely elated, bouncing about the stage that no-one could keep themselves from smiling and basking in this indoor sunshine. The kind of festival band that are aware of their power in projecting their buoyant chemistry onto crowds.


Marscians 02; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)

Fontaines D.C 

Fontaines 02; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright).jpg

The gnarly wit of this Dublin quintet livened everyones soul with their ferocious set at Marlborough Theatre! Their strong Dublin dialect and ode to the city ensures everything Irish runs through your blood (if it doesn’t already) twinned with the perfect amount of nonchalance akin to Shane MacGowan and Mark E.Smith.

Fontaines 01; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright).jpg

The edgy, gritty drawl from lead-singer Grian provides hypnotic rhythm up against the kraut-rock influenced guitars and manic drumming creates infectious iridescence.

Having garnered early support from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music) and being the feature of every major Irish publication these have picked up real momentum in their very early days. News came in last week (24/05/18) that they have signed to Partisan Recordings – everyone can see these lads are on the up!



Joshua Burnside

Joshua Burnside 02; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)
The Belfast musician who recently released his debut album, Ephrata which sits somewhere between, as Joshua told the Irish Times: “…somewhere from Belfast to Chicago via Bogota” is able to transcend this interesting suffusion of styles live.

Burnside knows exactly how to constantly keep the listener on their toes with incredible textures and experimental folk paths with elements of Irish Country and Latin Folk. It was delicately dark and romantic, touching on deeper questions about time, love and death up against the modern age. Tipping on the poetic on our favourite track ‘Hologram’: “So love glows, like the moon, Swinging low above the Atlantic, Sparkles on the choppy days, I don’t care what they say, If I have to dance alone I will”.

Joshua Burnside 03; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright)


David Keenan 

David Keenan 01; Rachael Crabtree; Spiral Magazine (copyright).jpgChurches are synominous with an serenity and when paired with the acoustic artists, whether that be solo or band, there is always a distinct feeling of privilege.

I hasten to use this hackneyed turn of phrase, but this very unassuming singer-songwriter from Dundalk, Ireland, is the finest example of a chap wiser beyond his years. We were completely taken in by Keenan’s worldly and poetic storytelling. His Dylan inspired socio-political commentary was no doubt enhanced by the lilt of his Irish tongue. So much maturity was expressed through the way Dublin was referenced, new and old, standing testament to his wisdom, hinting also towards a character born in another era altogther. The rising singer-songwriter shared with us a quiet understanding of the world, navigating us through the streets of Ireland’s capital “…meeting underneath the GPO tower at sunset”.

When Keenan entered the stage he began with a humble reference to that day’s gigs across Brighton’s churches; “I’m not sure what He’s trying to tell me up there..” glancing up wistfully to the heavens. Everything was very natural and wry, not least mature; referencing his travels across on the boat to live in Liverpool for some years, that taught him a lot; stories gained from busking shaped the man he inevitably is, whilst remaining distinctly and proudly Irish; “…Sorry there, just had me passport sticking in my backside…” as he patriotically hit it to the floor the golden harp gave him his spotlight.

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Photography: Rachael Crabtree and Elizabeth Andrade (@LizzyEA)


The Great Escape // Ones To Watch

The Great Escape 2018, Uncategorized




Ten Fé

It’s only a matter of time become this London-based five-piece attain mainstream success! The singer-songwriter busking duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan are joined with mates Rob (bassist) Johnny (keyboardist) and Alex (drummer) hail from London and Birmingham. We have been following these legends for little over a year, and seen their 2017 debut ‘Hit The Light’ reach a wider audience, connecting deeply with, from touring extensively around, America. Many bands promise, create this hype and fade; very few stand true to themselves and are content from standing devoid from ‘coolness’ and ‘scenes’. Ten Fé, however remain timeless. With two very distinctly different lead singer-songwriters these have grown from a busking duo to a five-piece band that have just recorded their second album in Norway and are currently rehearsing their new deep and upbeat songs every night in bunker below Oxford Circus!

When: Prince Albert, 11:15pm Saturday  


Breathe Panel

Fun fact of the day: our very own Will Steadman once briefly shared a house with Nick, singer from Brighton’s Breathe Panel. Apparently, Nick is a thoroughly nice bloke and so laid back he’s almost permanently horizontal. We narrowly missed them at last year’s Great Escape so we can’t wait to lose ourselves in their shimmering shoegaze on a Saturday afternoon. Check out that urgent drum intro on Carmine…so good.

When: One Church, 2:15pm Saturday


Fontaines D.C

Everything about this garage-rock band garnered our attention, never mind BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq of September last – what with their colloquial rock’n’roll, swaggering punk and strong (and gorgeous) Dublin accent. The quintet bonded over mutual love of poetry and artists, very much inspired by the spirit of The Pogues, their words are rooted in the society/politics that is influenced from pub talk and poetry. Frontman Grain Chatten’s spoken vocals and unassuming poetic delivering channels Mark E.Smith – insistent and connecting – what’s not love!

When: Prince Albert, 2pm Thursday 

Joshua Burnside

Rising out of Belfast’s burgeoning music scene, Joshua Burnside is taking the UK and Ireland by storm. Powerful and poignantly poetic, his music ebbs and flows with the echoes of folk’s anti-heroes. 2017’s Blood Drive takes you on a wonderfully soothing journey…reminiscent of a train chugging slowly through a distant meadow. Black Dog Sin on the other hand, engulfs you in a pounding microcosm of light and dark. And EPHRATA is just sublime. He has talent leaking out his ears and you’ve two chances to see him, so there’s no excuse!

When: Old Courtroom 9:15pm Thursday; Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar 1:30pm Friday

Durand Jones and the Indications

Durand Jones and the Indications are bursting at the seams with soul – musicians that definitely wear their heart on their sleeves. The saxophones, trumpet, guitar and drums collectively combine, enhancing their natural gift! Some of our favourite songs are ‘Make a Change’ with relatable lyrics and a sound you can’t help but move with. ‘Is it any wonder’ delivered vocally by the drummer, is a stand out! A classic song, almost throw back 1950’s. In fact, their sound is reminiscent of the late Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley; Durand Jones and the Indications have taken over where their idols have left off. Soul music is here to stay!

When: Latest Music Bar, 11:15pm Thursday 

Boy Azooga 

You can hear The Beach Boys running strong with these Welsh lads, on the basis of their adventurous arrangements and strong melodies. The Cardiff-based outfit who emerged and signed to Heavenly Recordings towards the end of last year are already very much on the radar and are currently extensively touring the UK! A band who think in drums; the vice behind creating the ‘groove’ in their songs, the unwavering precision running through their hit single “Face Behind a Cigarette” is a psych-funk jam that runs deep…

When: Latest Music Bar, 12pm; Dr Martens Stage, 2pm; Patterns, 9:15pm Thursday


Rebecca Lucy Taylor emerged from Slow Club last year as Self-Esteem with killer track Your Wife, which we’ve had on repeat pretty much ever since. She writes, sings, strums and drums. To be honest we’re slightly in awe. A must-see.

When: Prince Albert 8:15pm Saturday


Nao has been on the scene for a while, an east Londoner with her album released in 2016.  Since then this undeniable talent has played shows around the world. She is gradually gaining the popularity she deserves. Having witnessed her top-notch songwriting skills and sublime soulful voice recently at London’s Village Underground, we can certainly agree how well her sound translates live, she can’t be missed!

When: Beach Club 10pm Friday 


‘Upbeat indie meets dirty pop from the north of England’. Sounds top notch to us. Catchy as hell, lush harmonies abound and some serious youthful energy. Their new track Too Good is, well…too good.

When: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar 10:30pm Thursday; Komedia 3:15pm Saturday

The Tesky Brothers

Ready for our wild card? Well this old-school bunch of siblings from down under are it. Soulful magic, pure and simple. Pain and Misery is the first single from their debut album Half Mile Harvest and has had us in tears quite literally.

When: Komedia 2:10pm Thursday; Coalition 7:30pm Saturday

Blanco White 

The effortless depths this singer-songwriter attains through voice and guitar is entirely absorbing. Having started out as a solo project of Londoner Josh Edwards in 2014 ahead of learning classical guitar in Spain. You can only begin to imagine the chills down your spine as the beautiful blends of Andalusian and Latin American guitar tones are twinned with the string textures and enriched by the haunting vocals. This quickly-rising star is signed to Yucatan Records.

When: Unitarian Church, 10:30pm Thursday 


With guitar riffs crunchier and tastier than Kellogg’s nuttiest cereal Zuzu ooze confidence and swagger. Originally from Liverpool and now based in London this female-fronted four piece are apparently obsessed with Courtney Barnett, which we can kind of understand to be honest.

When: Marine Room (Harbour Hotel) 8.15pm Saturday


Carmody, a very talented artist hailing from London has strong vocals and simple, yet beautiful guitar arrangements. She has collaborated with Tom Misch, going on to produce great songs, ‘Release You’ and ‘The Last Song’ are just a two examples of their work together. ‘Skin’ is a recent hit single showcasing Carmody’s varying vocal range and backing synthesiser, whilst ‘Before You Knew Me’ is our firm favourite, with infectious rhythms and mesmerising vocals. Festival fresh with a new album (released 29/04/18) Carmody is one to watch!

When: One Church, 10:15pm Saturday 


We can’t get enough of this South London duo effervescent blend of R’n’B, electro-pop and dancehall, summer perfect, let alone festival perfect! The upbeat sound of ‘Howling’ which is also the name if their EP is a perfect festival song as is ‘Pride’. It won’t be long until these are a household name. The fun loving dance tune ‘My Yute’ with a dancehall infusion is another stand out, seriously, it won’t be long until popular recognition!

When: Beach House, 6:30pm Saturday 

Aine Cahill

Just wait until you hear this Irish singer-songwriter’s darkly mesmerising vocals live – a cross between Lana Del Ray and Lorde! Hailing from County Cavan, Ireland, this diva draws on her love of 50s jazz and her contemporaries, bringing to the table classics of her own making, check out the sublime singles: “Plastic” and “Blood Diamonds”.

When: The Hope and Ruin, 8:45pm Thursday


With a 2015 album aptly named The Great Escape, we think this singer songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia will go down a treat at TGE18. Blending simple folk with sophisticated pop to create music which reflect his roots in rural Canada, Devarrow (Graham Ereaux) has a powerful and distinctive voice.

When: Green Door Store 1:30pm Friday; Latest Music Bar 12:15am Friday

Riley Pearce

We interviewed this Singer-Songwriter who was, at the time (Septemeber 2017) a hotly tipped artist in his home country of Australia – we knew then it was only a matter of time until he would become big over here! Pearce measures his true success through the people he is able to reach and their connection to his music as we discussed; busking plays a huge role, as much, if not more, than maintaining a digital presence to both gain new followers of his music and push him on creatively.

When: Komedia Studio Bar, 1:30pm, One Church 9:30pm Thursday 

Jealous of the Birds 

Jealous of the birds, a.k.a Naomi Hamilton, also hails from Northern Ireland and has gone through a bit of transformation visually and musically since we last saw her live in November 2016; coming into her own as a credible force in alternative folk. We loved her debut album Parma Violets. Go bask in her understated glory.

When: Bau Wow 9:15pm Thursday; Jubilee Square 2:00pm Friday


Singer/guitarist Shauna Tohill and vocalising beat-maker Collette Williams make up Rews, who clearly aren’t afraid of cranking the amp up to 11.  This duo gives Royal Blood a run for their money. Bring ear plugs.

When: Beach House 9:15pm Friday


Intelligent, infectious indie-pop. What’s not to like? Dance and sing the night away to London four-piece Teleman and you’ll go to bed happy (that’s if you go to bed at all). Are they a bit like MGMT? Yes. Are they better? Probably.

When: Paganini Ballroom (The Old Ship) 11:15pm Saturday


These pop legends have a real edge, catchy and wry with an individual experimental approach. Distinctive electro-pop is the vibrant backdrop to front woman Orono’s angsty deadpan delivery. The international eight-piece, from all corners of the world, met in New Zealand, before moving over to London to form their collective. Their first single: ‘Something For Your Mind’ had them signed to Domino within months – no one can get enough of their technicolour pop paradise right now!

When: The Old Market, 10:15pm Friday 

Writers: Rachael Crabtree (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT) Will Steadman: (@STEADMAN_WILL) And Elizabeth Andrade (@LIZZYYEA)