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A Guide to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton

A Guide to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton

19 May 2017 | Will Rathbone

Brighton is, and always has been, a hub of new music. Every May the city’s frenzied creativity boils over in the form of The Great Escape festival – a sprawling three-day event with gigs all across the city – featuring mostly underground and unsigned artists. Intimate gigs are very much the order of the day, so it’s the perfect opportunity to discover your new favourite artist, or revel in the brilliance of a band you dig, with like-minded fans, before they hit the big time. Here are our highlights.

Afriquoi
This dance-tastic supergroup fuse electronic music with African rhythms and instrumentation to create something totally unique and impossible to stay still to.
 
Afriquoi are performing at the Fender Paramount Stage at 9pm on Friday May 19.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/afriquoi/
 
Cabbage
Cabbage, a post-punk outfit from Manchester, are a band whose political ideals can be subtly felt through songs such as Uber Capitalist Death Trade. Their angry-young-man rock is sure to fire up the crowd.


 
Cabbage are performing at Horatio’s on Thursday 18 at 8:45pm, and The Haunt on Friday 19 at 9:30pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/cabbage/
 
Cosima
Definitely one to watch for 2017, Cosima has been quietly gaining plaudits from every single publication to have caught on early and seen her play. Stylish, smart and perfectly crafted pop songs are the order of the day here.
 
Cosima is performing at the Brighthelm Centre on Thursday 18 at 11:30pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/cosima/
 
Flamingods
Multi-instrumentalists Flamingods hail from Bahrain and have a unique, psych-tinged style incorporating Eastern and North African grooves. They embrace multiculturalism and are a truly 21st century group.    



Flamingods are performing at The Haunt on Thursday 18 at 7:30pm and Komedia Studio on Saturday 20 at 2:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/flamingods/
 
HMLTD
Bringing art-rock to new levels, HMLTD’s live shows are out of this world. They’ve gained a cult following over the past year, and they’re actually pretty difficult to describe in a paragraph, so we suggest you just go see them instead.
 
HMLTD are performing at The Haunt on Friday 19 at 8:30pm and the Prince Albert on Saturday 20 at 11:30pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/hmltd/
 
Ibibio Sound Machine
Fronted by Eno Williams’ powerful vocals, Ibibio Sound Machine combine West African funk and disco with British post-punk and electro to stunning effect.
 
Ibibio Sound Machine are performing at the Paganini Ballroom on Thursday 18 at 9:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/ibibio-sound-machine/

Ray BLK
Alongside Little Simz, Ray BLK is another South London artist whose mixing of influences – including Prince and Lauryn Hill – with a distinctly UK rap style lends her music an honesty that shines through. Her crowds are notoriously loyal – which is understandable with anthems like My Hood.


 
Ray BLK is performing at The Old Market on Thursday 18 at 10:00pm and Brighton Dome on Saturday 20 at 7:45pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/ray-blk/
 
Jamie Isaac
South East London’s Jamie Isaac, along with childhood friend King Krule, has been slowly gaining traction through a slew of remixes, EPs and gigs over the past two years. His jazzy, woozy electronic soul is the real deal, and his set forms part of Marathon Music’s takeover of Horatio’s on Friday afternoon – grab a free drink and vinyl while you’re there.
 
Jamie Isaac is performing at Horatio’s on Friday 19 at 2:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/jamie-isaac/
 
Jane Weaver
Jane Weaver’s layering of vocals and synths is the sound of one woman fuelled by a creative and musical vision that knows no bounds. Expect ethereal and strangely beguiling melodies from one of the most unique artists operating today.
 
Jane Weaver is performing at One Church on Saturday 20 at 9:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/jane-weaver/

Sarathy Korwar
Signed to pioneering jazz and world music label Ninja Tune, Sarathy Korwar’s blend of traditional Indian music with jazz and electronica is both fresh and powerful.


 
Sarathy Korwar is performing at the Unitarian Church on Friday 19 at 8:30pm and Komedia Studio on Saturday 20 at 3:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/sarathy-korwar/
 
Little Simz
At the forefront of British hip-hop, and with Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z among her fans, London’s Little Simz is very much an artist on the cusp of big things. Her soul, grime, jazz-tinged hip-hop is one of the biggest draws of this year’s line-up.
 
Little Simz is performing at The Old Market on Friday 19 at 8:30pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/little-simz/
 
Pumarosa
Pumarosa are a London-based five-piece whose songs combine the grit of artists like Anna Calvi and Nick Cave with the synth-heavy beats of Fever Ray or The Knife. Their live shows are also pretty special.
 
Pumarosa are performing at Coalition on Saturday 20 at 11:15pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/pumarosa/
 
Rejjie Snow
Rejjie Snow’s Dublin via Georgia upbringing is just as unique as his music. Surreal lyrics and first class collaborations with producers like KAYTRANADA, Cam Obi and Rahki have helped him to amass a huge online following.


Image Credit: Robert Moses Joyce
 
Rejjie Snow is performing at Wagner Hall on Thursday 18 at 10pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/rejjie-snow/
 
The Turbans
Another marvellously international band – with members from Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Greece and England – The Turbans know how to bring the party. Once you’ve seen them play, you’ll never miss the chance to go again. See you in the crowd – we’ll be the ones swinging our hair back ‘n’ forth like there’s no tomorrow.
 
The Turbans are performing at the Fender Paramount Stage on Thursday 18 at 9pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/the-turbans/
 
Young T and Bugsey
No festival line-up would be complete without an out-and-out grime act tearing up the stage and whipping crowds into a frenzy. The grime scene shows no sign of abating, and with talent like Young T and Bugsey emerging it’s easy to see why.
 
Young T and Bugsey are performing at Patterns on Friday 19 at 8:30pm.
http://greatescapefestival.com/artists/young-t-bugsey/
 
The Great Escape runs from 18 – 20 May in Brighton. See the festival website for further gig listings and more information.

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