Festival Preview: Ten Brilliant Bands To See At The Great Escape 2019

on Thursday, May 09, 2019
Words: Saam Das

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Festival season is well under way in the UK, with the early May Bank Holiday seeing such great festivals as Liverpool Sound City, Leicester's Handmade, and Live At Leeds all rolled into one musical bonanza. Brighton's premier music festival The Great Escape is next on the calendar, featuring big names like Foals and Lewis Capaldi alongside the literally hundreds of upcoming outfits.

We've been attending The Great Escape since its opening edition in 2006 and more often than not, it lives up to its "great" name. (Usually it's just the infamous Brighton weather that causes any issues.) We've drilled down ten of the best bands to catch at this year's festival but it should be noted that festivalgoers can also attend a special day of panels and seminars on Saturday, giving you a small taste of what the conference side of The Great Escape is about.

Another Sky
(COALITION 6:15pm Saturday)

We caught Another Sky in their embryonic form a couple of years back and were blown away by their atmospheric, all-encompassing sound. Their latest guise has been understandably well received, including an appearance on BBC's 'Later With Jools Holland', with Catrin Vincent's rich vocals of particular note.

Black Midi
(KOMEDIA STUDIO BAR 2:30pm Saturday // THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 9:15pm Saturday)

Perhaps unexpectedly, genre-defying South London quartet Black Midi became one of the most hyped bands in the land toward the latter half of 2018, despite an almost complete lack of recorded music. Their fearsome live shows, led by the visceral drumming of Morgan Simpson, led them to be picked up by Rough Trade Records at the start of the year.

(THE DIVE BAR – BEACH SITE 9:30pm // Thursday HIDEOUT 3:15pm Friday)

One of the best aspects of The Great Escape as a music festival is its remarkable ability to showcase an incredibly diverse range of musicians from across the world each year. Japan's CHAI are a prime example, an all-female outfit bringing Girl Power to the forefront in a surprisingly wholesome yet rock-inspired fashion. Their website is quite the treat.

Confidence Man
(THE DIVE BAR – BEACH SITE 10:30pm Thursday // THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 3:05pm Saturday)

Another far-flung group of musicians, Aussies Confidence Man are sure to bring the party to Brighton at TGE19, having already done so at the 2017 edition of the festival. Wearing inspirations such as 'Screamadelica'-era Primal Scream and Deee-Lite on their sleeves, the groove will be in all our hearts this May and beyond.

The Dawn Of May
(KOMEDIA STUDIO BAR 1:05pm Thursday // UNITARIAN CHURCH 8:30pm Thursday)

It's easily understandable that The Dawn Of May has been influenced by defining artists of the ilk of Andrea Boccelli and Nina Simone upon hearing the New York-based artist's incredible vocals. Signed to the Best Laid Plans stable, partly run by BASTILLE's Dan Smith, The Dawn Of May is building serious momentum - catch her in these intimate settings before it's too late.

Easy Life

Enigmatic Leicester outfit Easy Life delighted onlookers at Handmade 2018, their hometown festival, and we felt no different. So it's no surprise that they're one of a handful of acts to play at a TGE19 Spotlight Show, supporting chart-topper Lewis Capaldi. Fortunately, they're also playing a regular show on Friday for all to enjoy.

(THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 9:15pm Thursday)

Oddly enough, the last time we came across Flohio was her appearance as the central autobiographical character in Nadia Amrani's short film 'Fly', which we caught at the 2018 BFI London Film Festival. The rising MC from Bermondsey's reach has already expanded past South London through regular collaborations with a variety of other musicians such as God Colony and Modeselektor, and a breakthrough feels imminent.

Oh Land
(ST MARY’S CHURCH 6:45pm Friday)

Oh Land? More like Oh Yes. We're overjoyed to hear about the return of Nanna ├śland Fabricius, who we actually caught at The Great Escape back in 2011. She's worked with the likes of John Legend and Sia over the years and will be bringing her wonderful brand of pop back both live and in recorded form, with her first studio album in five years.

Rachel Chinouriri
(ONE CHURCH 8:00pm Friday)

The teenage sensation from Croydon's earnest, heartfelt material instantly connects with listeners, led by her soaring vocals. The soulful sounds of her debut 'Bedroom Tales' EP (recorded using a twenty quid microphone, no less) are likely to shine in the church setting of her TGE19 performance.

Snapped Ankles
(THE DEEP END – BEACH SITE 7:15pm Friday)

We somewhat stumbled upon East London's Snapped Ankles at Rockaway Beach 2018 and were soon entranced by their shamanistic experimentalism and unusual attire. Equal parts baffling and joyous, the band particularly excel in the live environment.

All timings and venues subject to change. Limited tickets for TGE19 remain, find more info at greatescapefestival.com.

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