Gigslutz Festivals Editor, Mel, has already shared her superb experience of 2016’s Great Escape Festival; catching the likes of Hidden Charms, Otherkin, Blossoms, Declan McKenna, Johnny Llyod, and Crows.
Associate Editor, Kate, is a little late to the reviewing party; but she’s found time to share her thoughts on her (drunken) weekend, watching bands by the seaside:
The beauty of The Great Escape is catching musicians on the cusp of success in tiny venues, and watching Isaac Gracie play to a packed out Unitarian Church on the first day of the festival was the ultimate example of this. Gracie sings with equal parts passion and calm; and plucked on the tender heart strings of all who were encased in the church’s walls, treating the crowd to renditions of ‘Terrified’ and the soon-to-be-iconic ‘Last Words’.
The Green Door Store had a stellar line-up on each day of the Festival, sponsored by the inimitable Dr Martens Air Wair. The venue delivered a showcase of raw, alternative talent; and shoe-gaze duo Tuff Love kicked proceedings off with their smooth vocals, and buoyant guitar sounds. Saint Sister kept things dreamy with their soulful, electronic folk, and as predicted; London rockers Skinny Girl Diet were cool as fuck, stunningly attired, and buzzing with rebellious attitude.
Across the road from Green Door Store was the Prince Albert pub, where Kate Jackson and The Wrong Moves were finishing up their alternative-pop set. Next up were Southend indie-pop outfit, Youth Club, who swayed and played their songs to a joyful, dancing crowd; marking the end of Thursday’s festivities.
On Friday afternoon, pop-rock duo REWS made Spiegeltent ‘Shake Shake’ with their collection of infectious, optimistic tunes; and kept their cool despite the rising temperature, and dodgy microphone at the beginning of their set. Much like Green Door Store, Wagner Hall (sponsored by VEVO) presented a showcase of emerging and established talent; including West London singer-songwriter Rukhsana Merrise. She used the sunshine to her advantage, championing the weather between her songs, all of which allowed her powerful vocals to shine.
Wagner Hall was at capacity by the time very special guest Jake Bugg made his was to the stage for the first of two appearances that afternoon. Bugg’s voice and demeanour need no introduction, and despite only playing four songs; the Nottingham lad stunned spectators with renditions of ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’.
Later in the evening, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was the place to be. Everyone’s been to a house party, but not everyone’s been to a HAUS party. The London five-piece delivered a knockout performance in the basement; breaking the fourth wall, and interacting with the eager crowd throughout their set.
On Saturday, the final day of fun, garage rockers The Big Moon made a triumphant return to the festival (they played The Haunt in 2015) with a packed out matinee show at Komedia; performing new single ‘Cupid’, and their brilliant cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’. Across town, The Alternative Escape was in full swing, and offered an interesting diversion from the main line-up. BLEACH hosted an all day event, starting in the afternoon, and finishing late with a set from The Wytches. Downstairs, Methyl Ethyl started proceedings with their melodic, trippy guitar sounds, and later in the evening ESTRONS packed a perfect punch with their fiery, focused performance; including tracks from their Whoever She Was EP; ‘Make A Man’ and ‘Aliens’.
Brighton’s sunshine took a brief hiatus, and spectators crammed in to the Spiegelpub to avoid the rain, and catch the incredible Lounge Kittens. If you simultaneously adore 1950s fashion/music, and Limp Bizkit; these girls are exactly what’s missing from your twee music, nu-metal loving life. Their harmonies were spot on, and their comedic outbursts between and during songs had the crowd erupting in laughter and applause.
The perfect place to conclude the weekend was at the end of Brighton’s Pier, where Stroud four-piece Milk Teeth thrashed around Horatio’s stage, performing their pulse-raising, punchy collection of grunge inspired tracks. You’d need an army of music lovers to cover everything at The Great Escape Festival, but that won’t stop us from trying again next year (I’m counting down the days already…)