Brighton’s biggest music festival of the year is back this 17- 19 May, and who better to help you rifle through that sprawling list of 450 acts than the students of BIMM themselves?
Here’s their pick of 12 of the best acts to be gracing stages across the city this Great Escape Festival, so more of your time can be spent actually watching the bands. Download the TGE app for more!
A Festival, A Parade, Komedia, Sat 19 May 1.15pm
Formed in Newcastle in 2015, northern quartet A Festival, A Parade have gained word of mouth success for their intricately crafted and sonically abrasive alternative-rock tracks. The group show their ambitions as a band through their style of performance; they dance across different themes and embody a plethora of emotion, the integrity of their musings are undeniable. Championed by BBC Radio 6’s Tom Robinson and DIY Magazine, the band have already shown their potential for dizzying heights. Bringing their raw atmospheric rock to this year’s TGE set, be assured it will be a truly unique performance.
Ari Roar, Sallis Benney, Sat 19 May 7.15pm
Texan singer-songwriter Ari Roar will be at The Great Escape one week ahead of his debut album Calm Down’s release, so expect his lo-fi, melodic music to be at its most anticipated. Calling on inspirations as wide-ranging as The Doobie Brothers, Radiohead and Grandaddy, Ari’s detailed and personal lyrics intertwine with his lush, moody guitar and pianos. It’s rooted in his past, from childhood experiences, getting through surgery and travelling across the states. More recently, he’s been working with producer Hunter Davidsohn on Calm Down which was recorded in his New York studio.
Bad Sounds, Horatio’s, Fri 18 May 11.15pm
Their recent single Evil Powers marked its release by becoming Mac’s Hottest Record in the World last month. Now the baggy revival is in full flow, as anyone on the know is bracing themselves for the sampledelic delights of their debut full-length album this summer. Brothers Ewan and Callum are rewriting the pop music playbook, squeezing the best from a mismatched collection of old recording equipment and some obsessive crate digging. Together they create a magical and unique world, influenced by pop, soul and hip-hop. There’s already been sell out shows and a fair amount of hype already.
BC Camplight, Sallis Benney, Sat 19 May 9.15pm
BC Camplight was for a good while considered a lost treasure of the 21st century. After making a pair of bold, 60s influenced albums released in 2005 and 2007, he returned in 2015 with How To Die In The North. Inspired by his relocation to Manchester. The American songwriter has continued making introspective, non-conformist pop and rock. His brand of self-aware, educated music has made him popular amongst musicians, getting him a spot performing with The War On Drugs and guesting on a Sharon Van Ettenalbum. He may describe himself as “the guy who blew it”, but this hidden gem has uncovered itself just in time.
City Calm Down, Patterns, Thurs 17 May 9.30pm
City Calm Down bring their darkened indie-pop to The Great Escape from Melbourne, Australia. This is the quartet’s second TGE appearance and nestles in with their UK tour promoting their already acclaimed second LP Echoes In The Blue. With a mellow base to their sound; fusing lead singer Jack Bourke’s rich vocal with a sun-tinged synthy backbone makes for classic 80s sounding and altogether calming melancholy tones. The group span seven members on stage and promise an engaging performance. Check out latest single Joan, I’m Disappearing for a taste of their talents. Catch them again at the Beach House on Sat at 2:50pm.
Easy Life, Komedia, Fri 18 May 11.30pm
Leicester five-piece Easy Life have created something that cannot, and should not, be defined by any genre. Rather than allowing their mismatch of influences to become a jarring feat, the group have opted for a subtle simplicity in their fusion of soulful hip-hop, electronic beats and softer tones of indie-punk. Debut single Pockets is the epitome of cool, a fresh take on self-confessed hedonism that will undoubtedly resonate all too well with audiences. Despite the huge scope of influence, the track has a distinctly British sound, defining Easy Life’s roots. Hotly tipped to make waves over the summer, you can catch them first at TGE.
Hunter And The Bear, Prince Albert, Fri 18 May 9.15pm
Folk rock is still alive and well in the music scene – Hunter And The Bear prove it. The London based four piece are a collection of classic guitar rhythms and velvety vocals. With tracks like Renegade, the band showcases their mastery of the solemn acoustic ballad and thumping electric rock track, all with their distinctive clouded vocals. And it’s not just their music that has an authentic home-grown appeal. The band have the most humble of beginnings, first playing as a two piece in a shipping container, and later growing to the rock ready four piece we know and love.
Nilufer Yanya, Komedia, Fri 18 May 10.15pm
Born and bred in West London, this 22-year-old has been immersed in art and music her whole life. Influential artists to her sound such as Nina Simone, The Pixies and Jeff Buckley are elegantly woven into her angst filled melodies and haunting lyrics. Blossoming from the capitals many open mic nights, Nilufer Yanya created her own style and genre, mixing together soul, jazz, rock and indie to compose a sound like no other. Having just completed her SXSW tour of the USA, she will be stopping off in Brighton for The Great Escape as part of her European tour.
Nina Nesbitt, Sallis Benney, Thurs 17 May 10.30pm
Known (perhaps unfairly) by some as the subject of a selection of Ed Sheeran’s songs after a brief romance, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt is forging herself a path to pop stardom in her own right. Her classy pop strays from the current trend of four-to-the-floor club beats and instead focuses on anthemic choruses and classy instrumentals that compliment her incredible vocal ability. Latest singles The Best You Had and Somebody Special are by far her most successful to date, coupled with a fantastic collaboration with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence for Spotify Studios project Psychopath.
Psychic Markers, Sallis Benney, Sat 19 May 8.15pm
Psychic Markers is an alternative group with harmonious indie melodies with a 50s doo-wop feel. Signed to Bella Union, the band has released two albums and gained themselves over 1200 monthly listeners on Spotify. Lush, cinema-influenced track Hardly Strangers was released in February followed by a release show at The Victoria, London, in March. The last few years the band have played with the likes of Ulrika Spacek, Homeshake, Morgan Delt and Girl Ray. They have toured the UK and played mindblowing sets at several festivals, most impressively the End of the Road Festival in 2017.
The Beat Escape, Sallis Benney, Sat 19 May 6.15pm
Montreal duo Addy Weitzman and Patrick Boivin make up synth-pop band The Beat Escape. The twosome are used to playing their hypnotic electronic pop DJ sets in bars in Montreal, however, this spring they will be heading down to Brighton to play at TGE. The Beat Escape specialise in creating a near-psychedelic experience for their fans through warm synth chords and numbing harmonies. This is showcased on their debut album Life is Short the Answer’s Long which was released April this year. This gives a perfect opportunity for UK fans to catch the new songs live first at The Great Escape festival.
The Faim, Komedia, Thurs 17 May 2.50pm
Australian alt-rock band The Faim have become a new obsession within the alt-rock scene. The four-piece return to Brighton for the Great Escape Festival after previously playing the city this year, supporting Lower Than Atlantis. The band is centred around the vocal strength of lead singer Josh Ravens as well as intricate guitar moments. Formed in 2014 and coming together as high school friends, the band have risen quickly, with the release of their compelling anthemic style track Saints of the Sinners, which was co-written with Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. An up and coming name in the genre, The Faim are only just getting started.