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Festival Coverage: The Great Escape - Day 3

  • Published in Live

With a heavy head and tired feet we drag our carcasses out for the final day. The excellent Great Escape app alerts us to a surprise outdoor gig outside of the Brighton library and we head here first.  

To our complete surprise it’s the massive talent of Rag 'N' Bone Man. And though announced very last minute, it pulls in a huge crowd and as it's outdoors in the baking sunshine, it is certainly a wonderful start. As he knocks out his hits the word gets around and by the end of his short set he has a huge audience. As the crowds fade away we stay to catch the brilliant songwriting talents of Vince James, whose honest, in-depth storytelling lyrics are bound to project this guy to bigger and brighter things.

Next up is Flamingods a five piece from Bahrain who are multi-instrumentalist consisting of drummers and guitarist. They show of their skills by swapping after each track.  There swirling Middle Eastern rhythms meet psychedelic guitars in a wonderful mixture of world sounds.  Continuing the world music theme we plump for Sarathy Korwar an Indian artist of traditional folk music who has just been signed to Ninja Tune. The blend of beats, folk and jazz are continuing to grow his reputation on the back of his new album which we highly recommend.

We pop across to Brighton marina to catch some more beats in the form of Blue Lab Beats. These two guys have produced and remixed many artists including the aforementioned Rag n Bone Man.  After gaining reputation as remixers they decided to go alone and breakout on their own to huge effect.  We march to catch The Parrots in the blazing sunshine and the hideous weather of previous days is now a distant memory. These Spanish indie rock and rollers are great fun and bring a wonderful energetic sound. We now have a short few hours break from the afternoon sessions until we attack our final night. We start off with the wonderful Daniel Wakeford. He gained fame via the Channel 4 tv show The Undateables. And now he’s a singer at the festival. He is simply wonderful and the huge outdoor crowd roar and scream their appreciation for a man whose warmth and love of music and performing is undeniably infectious. 

We feel we need a calming softer act to refuel so we plump for Julie Byrne, a country acoustic artist who transports us to a front porch of the deep south with her wonderful melodies of the mysterious of love. She is also a wonderfully talent guitarist and we are suitably calmed and relaxed. Ayia are an Icelandic electro pop three piece who serve up post-apocalyptic, intimidating, glichy, abstract dance music.

Jane Weaver is an intense artist that demands your immediate intention with her intense haunting voice that we were lucky to catch as she drew a huge crowd. Even bigger crowds come to see Baloji who comes highly recommend. He has so many talents from poetry to filmmaking and he wows us with a visual and sound display of epic proportions. There was a rumour of a secret gig in the same venue and to our absolute delight it’s the incredible John Grant. We are treated to very intimate performance and judging by the sheer size of the crowd it wasn’t that big a secret. He is such an intense and wonderful performer with a wonderful sense of humour. 

We race to catch a bit of Brighton’s own The Magic Gang with their lovely cross over sound. Relaxed indie yet a larger vocal presents is how we would describe them. We are running out of time so we plump for a final bit of urban in the form of Ryan De La Cruz. He is simply sensational with a wonderful crowd interaction and boundless energy. This is followed by the equally excellent Stefflon Don who loyal fan based packed out the venue. She finished with an impromptu stage invasion where half the audience join her.  Our Final act of the three days were Pom Poko from Norway a geeky four piece punk pop band who sum up the brilliance of this festival. Multi layers of genres throw together from acts all over the world who all come to celebrate the amazing thrill of live music.


The Great Escape Festival Preview

  • Published in Live

Prior to attending this year's Great Escape for us Rob Crozier has put together his thoughts about one of his favourite events by way of previewing what you can expect to read about next week.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. If you like your music new and slightly undiscovered. The Great Escape festival in the wonderful setting of Brighton features a host of clubs and bar venues usually reserved for party people.

Alongside this is a host of more unusual venues such as churches. Throw into the mix a strong 500+ of bands and quite quickly you see how this has grown into the UK's answer to SXSW. It's obviously impossible for anyone to see it all. The wonderful phone app helps us listen to new and exciting acts and plot our listening preferences. However one of the attractions is linking up with friends, mates and fellow musos to discover the acts we missed.

The frequent conversations of "OMG did u catch The Parrots who played on Brighton pier" is one of the festival's highlights

Alongside this is the ability to wander, sometimes with purpose, sometimes not, throughout Brighton's clubbing heartland waving our lanyards and carrying our goody bags with simply a name of a band as a point of reference. This comes sometimes from a friend of a friend’s recommendation and it’s a wonderful way to discover new music.

Modern technology has given us phone apps and Spotify playlists but still the feeling of standing in front of a band with no idea of their sound or stage presence is for us one of the reasons we love live music.

So with all the best will in the world and with our running order sorted I still hope we stumble across some random noise band or equally the Jam Tarts Choir.

We will be trying to tweet all the bands we see so please follow us via the festival hashtag #TGE16 and obviously via @musosguide.

Our current recommendations include The Parrots, The Hunna, Kiko Bun and Rag 'n' Bone Man to name but a very small few.

But who knows what else we will discover? We will bring you all three days in their hazy glory with the amazing acts we found, the ones we missed and even the ones we wish we didn't bother to queue for.

Last minute tickets for The Great Escape are available here.

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