The Great Escape (2013) - Preview Part One

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2013 will be my sixth Great Escape, I’ve learnt from being shut out of Metric’s seafront show on a wet, windy evening and now tend to look lower down the festivals billing for my acts. If you plan on seeing a London Grammar or a Chrvches this year, my advice is simple, get there early. Other the next couple of posts I’ve picked out a dozen acts from the 350 odd in the line-up as my “must-see’s”. The Great Escape is a vast, widespread festival with many treasures to be found (don’t forget The Alternative Escape when you are investigating bands), hopefully these tips will perhaps help you discover something that might just become your new favourite band. That’s the point of TGE to me, to check out new, emerging bands in venues no bigger than your front-room. It doesn't get much better than that…

Embers – Facebook /

Friday 17th May - 12.30 - Above Audio
Saturday 18th May - 17.20 - The Mesmerist (Alt. Escape)

Here’s a band I’ve been itching to see live for over twelve months, finally I shall set that right. Embers have rightly caused a stir in the blogging community almost since day one, which then went into overdrive when a live video for the stunning “Hollow Cage” was released late last year. A track I earlier described as “a ground-breaking, a seven minute journey beyond comprehension that is truly, truly stunning". Embers’ dark, cinematic storms will render you speechless, wave after wave of epic, shimmering noise building upon intense, ferocious, joyous soundscapes. You’ve not heard of Embers but like Hope of the States? Thank me after the Manchester quartet have blown the roof off a Brighton basement.

Keebo - Facebook

Saturday 18th May - 12.20 - The Mesmerist (Alt. Escape)

A blog better than my own labelled Keebo as ‘a female Real Estate’, that could be pretty accurate. The London based quintet’s stand-out track to date is the wonderful “Native American” a track overwhelmingly bright, hypnotic and catchy from first listen. Keebo have a handful of tracks that combine beautiful floating vocal harmonies with sunshine splashed melodies, jam packed with layered guitars and a funky rhythm section. Jangle/fuzz/dream pop, call it what you will, with Keebo on heavy rotation summer seems just that bit closer.

Bird - Facebook

Saturday 18th May - 00.30 - The Basement

Liverpool three piece Bird are led the celestial voice of songwriter/bassist/guitarist Adele Emmas with Sian Williams providing stunning guitarscapes and complimenting harmonies alongside Alexis Samata on the doom-laden drums. Their live show is full of power and grace, equally dark and mystical with rich swirling guitar tapestries and superlative defying harmonies, like being transported to an otherworldly place of pure, spiritual beauty. (They do an excellent cover of Bauhaus' "Bella Lugosi Is Dead" too).

Check out their recent single “Ophelia” for proof of the trio’s combination of delicate ethereality and dramatic, otherworldly beauty. Perfectly haunting, ghostly and gorgeous – guaranteed to send shivers all the way down your spine.

Parlour - Facebook /

Saturday 18th May - 18.30 - Audio

Parlour is the new project of Angela Won-Yin Mak, previously of the now sadly defunct Carousels. I’m not sure if she’s played live yet but I know she’s gained a full band and has recorded some new tracks which hopefully we’ll get to hear at The Great Escape. So far there has only been the one track, the deliciously fuzzed-up “My Love”. That alone was enough to get me and various other shoegaze blogs hot under the collar, think thick guitars and gorgeous psychedelic daydreams or if you prefer a name check Rory Atwell plays drums. I’m always keen to see bands in their infancy and sniff out my new favourite love and Parlour are one of those acts I can’t wait to see.

This is the Kit -

Friday 17th May - Time Unknown  -  The Fountain  (Alt. Escape)- Facebook Event

I've had the privilege of watching Kate from This is the Kit soundcheck before, that and the intimate acoustic gig performed later the same evening were as beguiling an experience as you could wish for with music. An absolutely gorgeous feast for the senses that left me wrapped in a warm, calming blanket of fuzziness and happiness - Kate has a tranquil, soft voice and her songs are beautifully put together - check out the extraordinary "Earthquake" from her album Wriggle Out The Restless for proof. A show in a little Brighton pub promises to be a little special...

Fear of Men - Facebook

Thursday 16th May - 21.00 - Latest Music Bar (Alt. Escape)
Friday 17th May - 19.10 - -10 Below (Alt. Escape)
Friday 17th May - 22.30 - The Basement

As you’re in Brighton it’s only right to check out some local talent and amongst them this year (as in the past couple of year) are Fear of Men, as organic and swoonsome a band as you could hope to hear, from a self-released demo tapes to a recently released compendium LP Early Fragments. Their material resonates exquisitely around their trademark guitar shimmers and sweet vocals with wistful, tender melodies pulling you in as they flutter somewhere between hopeful and heart-broken, as perfect an indie-pop band as 2013 has to offer.

Part Two to follow soon...