The Great Escape - Thursday Preview

The Great Escape - Official Website

It's May and you know what that means kiddiwinks, Summer is well and truly on its way and festival season begins now. We are exactly one week away from the start of The Great Escape (okay, there are some Alternative Escape events on Wednesday night, but the festival officially kicks off on Thursday) when thousands of us bloggers, artists and punters alike will be descending upon Brighton for three days of wonderful music, beer and weather (well, we can hope about the last one!).

I've been going to The Great Escape six years now (this will be my seventh) and over the last couple of years the festival has well and truly come into its own, an ever expanding volume of venues (although some 'new' venues turn out to be old ones renamed), acts and increasingly secret gigs. This year the number of bands playing is higher than ever (and that's before counting the Alternative Escape - always a place to find new talent in perhaps quieter rooms), this year's festival promising to be three days full of more music than you could ask for.

There are many, many treasures lurking within the line-up and that's where I'll try and go with my three preview posts (one for each day). I'm going to pick five acts I think you should see each day, the point of TGE in my opinion to discover something that might just become your new favourite act so for that reason whenever there is a clash between two acts I like (and there are many with the line-up being so good), I favour the 'newer' act.

I've given tips and information before but anyone reading this and heading to Brighton for the first time, be sure to use your head... If you do plan on going to one of the 'hyped' artist gigs, the advice is simple, get there early. If you plan on waltzing into the venue two minutes before stage time, you will be mistaken and you will spend the entire gig standing outside wishing you were somewhere else. In the last two years of The Great Escape I've not queued up for more than two minutes in total (and that was because the venue wasn't quite open yet).

The Great Escape is a vast, widespread festival (if you've never been, be warned that Concorde 2 is a LONG way along the front, don't leave five minutes to get there) with many treasures to be found (and to help stamp it in, don’t forget The Alternative Escape when you are investigating bands you want to see). Hopefully these tips will perhaps help you decide who you want to see... One thing for sure, with new and emerging bands playing in venues no bigger than your front-room, music festivals don't get much better (and you get a warm bed and shower to go home to as well!)…

Thursday at The Great Escape - Five Picks:

The Night VI - TGE Page
8th May 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm

The Night VI have been one of my favourite discoveries of 2014 so far, I couldn't make last weeks London show and as such this afternoon show will be the first time I get to see them live. Robin over at Breaking More Waves gave their show in Reading over last weekend glowing praise (we tend to bump into each other about a dozen times over the course of the weekend) and as such my anticipation level has increased even more.

With a beautiful EP already under their belt and the immaculate "Sienna" recently released there live performance promises to bring to life Sophie-Rose pristine vocals with smooth, widescreen instrumentation. It think it all promises to be the perfect start to your weekend.

Rae Morris - TGE Page
8th May 2014 7:45pm - 8:15pm

The progression highlighted by Rae Morris (who I actually picked as an act to see in my TGE preview back in 2012) on her recent tracks "Skin" and "Do You Even Know?" is quite startling, bringing the Blackpool singer-songwriter out from the crowd of solo acts around at the moment with a haunting blend of intimate, emotive songs and a captivating vocal.

I'm not sure what her live performance will be like anymore. I'm hoping for a full band to back her plaintive piano ballads as well as goosebump moments aplenty and perhaps a rousing version of "Do You Even Know?" to climax the show. I think it's going to be worth finding out what happens...

Russian Red - TGE Page
8th May 2014 8:30pm - 9:00pm
9th May 2014 8:40pm - 9.05pm (An Alternative Escape Show)

I've only had the pleasure of seeing Russian Red once previously, a wonderful show at Union Chapel in support of her second album a couple of years back. Her two shows at The Great Escape (and a couple of sold-out gigs at The Lexington earlier the same week) are the first shows back on these shores since...

Her third album Agent Cooper has recently been released (although not yet in the UK) and highlights a fuller, expansive sound which combines Lourdes' impeccable voice with a new soft pop-rock direction. The rich, bright and dynamic instrumentation helps to bring out the unique sweetness of her voice and the catchy choruses promise to sound even better in a live environment. I can't wait for this one.

Wilsen - TGE Page
8th May 2014 9:00pm - 9:30pm
9th May 2014 12.45PM - 1:15PM (An Alternative Escape show)

Hi again Wilsen. I posted about the Brooklyn trio just yesterday with "Go Try" so I'll keep this one short and sweet...

I was one of the early adopters when I fell instantly smitten with "Dusk", the perfect introduction to the heartfelt, intoxicating songcraft that awaited within the debut LP Sirens, a stunning record that ebbs and flows with exquisite arrangements and devastating vocals. I'll be seeing Wilsen quite a few times next week and I can't bloody wait. Go and see her at one of her gigs too.

Arthur Beatrice - TGE Page
8th May 2014 11:15pm - 12:00am

One of my two heartbreaking clashes of the weekend sees Arthur Beatrice play at exactly the same time as Alice Boman. I've pretty much decided (if I can, the Prince Albert is tiny) that I'll see Arthur Beatrice ahead of Alice Boman because I've seen Alice before and she has a London show planned for early June.

Arthur Beatrice's debut album Working Out has crept up on me gradually over the last month or so and after numerous repeated play it's now one of my favourite releases of the year so far, awash with slow burning rhythms, exotic guitars and the beautiful dual vocals of Orlando Leopard and Ella Gerardot.

From the sultry, smooth beauty of "Late" to the joyous and frankly mesmerising singles "Midland" and "Carter", it's an album that oozes with both style and substance and I am still wondering quite why I am so slow on the uptake with the quartet. I think this one could get busy so best get there early if you want to attend.