Festival Preview: The Great Escape 2015 @ Brighton [Fifteen Bands To Watch]

on Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Great Escape Festival @ various venues across Brighton (14-16 May '15) // Words: Saam Das

Festival season is upon us, and we have a special place in our heart for the increasing number of multi-venue offerings placed in a more urban setting. The Great Escape is arguably the best of these festivals in the UK, and seen as a worthy contender to America's ever popular industry shindig SXSW. We've been running around Brighton's plethora of venues as much as possible since the very first offering back in 2006, and here's some recommendations for its tenth edition:

All Tvvins (Thurs 14th, 20.30, Green Door Store / Fri 15th, Prince Albert, 14.30)

Taking a page out of 'Captain Planet', former Adebisi Shank man Lar Kaye and The Cast Of Cheers frontman Conor Adams have combined their powers in this new project. So far, so good.

AOSOON (Fri 15th, 14.30, The Hub)

There's something refreshingly down to earth about the music of London duo AlotOfSomethingOutOfNothing or AOSOON - a type of synth-infused folk that feels both sincere and unique.

Cosmo Sheldrake (Fri 15th, 21.30, Spiegeltent)

We hadn't thought much about the experimental percussive pop of Cosmo Sheldrake till we laid witness to his arresting set at Southsea Fest in 2013. Weird and wonderful.

CuckooLander (Thurs 14th, 21.45, Paganini Ballroom)

Formerly Charli XCX's live bassist, Holly Hardy has stepped up to front her own outfit - also co-writing with her former colleague on 'Kingdom', which appeared on 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' soundtrack. Not exactly a shabby CV, with this festival appearance being the latest string to her bow.

Georgia (Sat 16th, Coalition, 20.15 / Sun 17th, Komedia Studio, 01.30)

A recent signing to Domino, and one of the most exciting talents in the UK. Having cut her teeth as live drummer with the likes of Kwabs and fellow-TGE performer Kate Tempest, the solo material we've heard from Georgia recalls Micachu and MIA.

Jagaara (Thurs 14th, Patterns, 19.30 / Sat 16th, 14.15, Dome Studio)

Historically, trios comprised of sisters tend to do well in Brighton - HAIM's debut UK gig at TGE 2012 was magnificent, especially with the added pressure of the post-SXSW hype at the time. Jagaara might not be coming in with quite the same level of hype but they have the opportunity to similarly solidify their burgeoning reputation.

Jack Garratt (Fri 15th, 00.30, Wagner Hall / Fri 15th, 21.45, Patterns)

We briefly caught Jack Garratt live at last year's festival and while the music felt a bit rough, Garratt's charm shone through. With a honed sound, and the backing of Island Records, this should be a triumphant return.

Josef Salvat (Thurs 14th, 19.30, The Old Market)

Aussie Josef Salvat has been threatening to break into the mainstream ever since he upped sticks and moved to the UK a while back - 2015 could finally be his year. Be part of it at The Great Escape.

K. Flay (Sat 16th, 13.30, Komedia)

Hip hop rarely gets an outing here on FG but we'd like to think that the cream of the crop still rise to the top - we recommended the experimental styling of Kristine Flaherty before The Great Escape in 2011 so we're repeating the trick.

LA Priest (Thurs 14th, 22.00, The Haunt)

Having thrilled and confused in equal measure as one part of cult heroes Late Of The Pier, Sam Eastgate is back with his latest intriguing proposition.

Mapei (Sat 16th, 21.00, Coalition)

We stumbled onto Mapei one day when Soundcloud was rumbling through some related tracks - a particularly pleasant surprise. Another gem of Scandanavia's strong pop heritage, mixing soul with synths.

Mt. Wolf (Thurs 14th, 23.30, Komedia)

Returning triumphantly having split unexpectedly a couple of years ago, Mt. Wolf are again on the upward rise. Their dream-folk sounds were emboldened by the vocals of Only Girl and Robyn Sherwell at a recent London comeback gig, so we're hoping for more of the same in Brighton.

Oscar (Sat 16th, 19.15, The Arch)

Oscar Scheller's been quietly making his name known over the last couple of years and has been richly rewarded with a Wichita record deal. Much has been made of the bedroom nature of his sparkling pop so we'll be interested to see how that translates in the live environment.

Port Isla (Fri 15th, 20.30, Green Door Store)

We've been increasingly impressed with Port Isla over the last couple of years, and we're not the only ones - Parlophone picked them up a few months back. We caught the band on form at last year's festival, and expect more of the same this time round.

Sasha Siem (Fri 15th, noon, Paganini Ballroom)

Contemporary classical isn't a genre you'd usually associate with The Great Escape but Sasha Siem fills the gap that Regina Spektor and Patrick Wolf are currently absent from.

Schedules subject to change. Find more info and purchase tickets at greatescapefestival.com.

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