Friday, 11 May 2018

Preview: The Great Escape Festival 2018

Brighton’s Great Escape is by far and away the UK’s largest new music, multi-venue, wristband access festival. It’s an event I’ve been attending since this blog started nearly 10 years ago (and even before that) and have seen it grown from relatively small beginnings to the near monster it has become now.

If you want some tips on how best to tackle the festival, get the most out of it and to survive it in one piece, read this piece by clicking on the link The Great Escape: Practical Tips For Music Nerds from 2017.

As the Great Escape is so big (there’s over 400 artists playing over 3 days) it can seem somewhat overwhelming. Every person who goes will have a completely different experience – it’s very easy for people that have even relatively similar music tastes to yours to see totally different artists over the three days.

So if you haven’t done your homework (there’s a Spotify playlist that you can find by clicking here that contains 95% of the artists playing) let me provide you with just a small handful of recommendations of artists that may well be worth your time.

G-Flip (Australia)

Beach Club 5.30pm Thursday

Beach House 3.30pm Saturday

G-Flip is exactly the sort of artist I want to see at Great Escape. First because she’s incredibly new, with just one single release to her name, secondly because the reports I saw of her performances at SXSW Festival, Austin, Texas were very encouraging and thirdly because she’s from the other side of the world – which is what Great Escape does so much better than every other new music festival in the UK – bringing in artists from across the globe. For 2018 Australia is setting the bar in terms of exciting new artists at Great Escape with a very strong contingent of artists across the board.

Introduced on the blog just last month, G Flip’s name makes her sound like a rapper or grime artist, but her debut track, About You is actually a rather perfect pop song created from a looped rumbling dark electronic drone, a drum pattern and Georgia Flipo’s pristine vocal. As yet I’ve no idea if her other songs will match up to About You, but Great Escape will be an opportunity to find out.

Hatchie (Australia)

Komedia 12.50pm Thursday

Horatios 13.00pm Friday

The Arch 6.00pm Friday

My second recommendation is also from Australia. Hatchie has already picked up a lot of on line support including from Breaking More Waves. Hatchie is the world of Harriette Pilbeam and her music recaptures some of the spirit and sound of late 80’s / early 90’s ethereal indie bands such as The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins (Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins has even remixed her song Sure). A more recent modern comparison would probably be another Breaking More Waves favourite Hazel English, who according to Spotify is a related artist in terms of audience listenership. If you like your indie pop dreamy, fuzzy and celestial Hatchie could be for you.

Flohio (United Kingdom)

East Wing (Brighton Centre) 6.15pm Thursday

Komedia Studio Bar 3.30pm Saturday

Shooshh 9.30pm Saturday

Funmi Ohio, better known as Flohio is a South London MC who has already gained endorsements from the likes of Pitchfork, Noisey, The Fader, The Guardian and earlier this year was selected by Naomi Campbell for Vogue as one of the 10 Women Changing Our Future. She was also runner up in last year's Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition. With a delivery style that carries a certain rawness and an undiluted energy her tracks such as new single Watchout and previous track Bands mix elements of trap, techno and grime, all laid out with scissor sharp precision. Having already supported the likes of Princess Nokia, Clams Casino and Mura Masa, Flohio is a rapper on the rise.

Hatis Noit (Japan)

St Mary’s Church 7.00pm Thursday

Great Escape can serve as many things for many people. Some like to chase the latest buzz bands. Some like to catch all the latest new acts from a particular type of genre. But one thing I love about it is that over the three days there’s the opportunity to watch new artists who don’t really fit any simple classification. Hatis Noit is one such artist. In fact of the 400+ artists playing Great Escape, I’d go as far as describing Hatis Noit as utterly unique.

Originally from Shiretoko in Japan but now residing in London, Hatis Noit creates music based almost entirely around her voice, a voice that in a previous post I described as operatic, alien, monastic and earthily primal. Her work is abstract, experimental and from the leftfield embracing elements of modern technology, ambient, Western Classical and Japanese Folk. It’s also utterly absorbing. She’s playing just one show, in a church, which should give her music an added sense of otherworldliness. 

Easy Life

Komedia Studio Bar 12.15am Friday

The Haunt 6.30pm Saturday

First introduced on Breaking More Waves in November 2017, Easy Life shaped a place all of their own with debut single Pockets – a laid back anthem of modern consumption. An indie band of sorts, their reference points are far wider. Pockets has a neat brass riff, a wash of soul and a groove. That groove is even more present on their song Siverado, a track that sounds far removed from their Leicester home. With dates at Dot to Dot Festival, Barn On The Farm and Reading / Leeds all confirmed, Brighton is the next stop for Easy Life. See you there?

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