Festival Preview: The Great Escape,18-20 May 2017

From 18-20th May, thousands will flock to the sunny shores of Brighton, to catch one of the biggest multi venue festivals in the world, The Great Escape. 

Whilst I say sunny, traditionally it is welcomed by gloomy grey skies with the odd bit of rain, but this never seems to put off gig goers from the fish and chips, donuts on the pier and discovering their new favourite band.

Festivals are always a time to catch some of the biggest artists around and The Great Escape is no different. Rag'n'Bone Man and Slaves are just 2 big profile acts paying Brighton a visit, but the festival is about so much more than that. With over 400 artists performing across 30+ venues the "next big thing" is most certainly performing at The Great Escape and this is your chance to "know them before they were huge".

To help you make your way around, we've compiled a list of our top 10 must see acts, plus a few venue recommendations for a pint and some grub...

The Magic Gang
Top of our list has to be The Magic Gang. These guys have been playing the festival circuit for some time now and are delivering tune after tune. This indie/pop with a garage twist 4 piece recently released new single "How Can I Compete" which has received huge applause from critics and even bagged a spot on Radio1's Playlist. There's a reason for that! Take a listen for yourself and admit that The Magic Gang are your new favourite band...

I discovered CHILDCARE one evening listening to Annie Mac's show on Radio1. At the time their single 'Omega Grey' was stuck in my head for months on end and it wasn't going anywhere. Follow up singles 'Film Club' and latest single 'Kiss?' are equally as unforgettable. These guys have been announced for many a festival this year but I can't think of anything better than grabbing a glass of Brighton Gin and lapping up the band's set in the sunshine.

Will Joseph Cook
If you haven't heard of Will Joseph Cook until now, then what have you been doing with your life?! Something a little more chilled out for you all but this guy is seriously good and you can flick through our archive to see our previous coverage of him. More importantly, he's been getting much critical acclaim from the likes of Radio 1 with his single, "Beach (I Wanna Make You Mine)" grabbing the title of The Hottest Track In The World Right Now and has recently dropped his new single 'Biggest Fan'. His debut album 'Sweet Dreamer' hits the shelves in April so plenty of time for you to pick up a copy and head down to catch him at The Great Escape.

Abattoir Blues
Next on the list is a Brighton band returning to their home land. I say returning as the band will be on tour throughout May with our number 1 choice The Magic Gang. So it seemed only fitting they also made our list. Raw, melancholy vocals coupled with distorted heart pounding guitar riffs helped land Abattoir Blues a place on the The NME 100: essential new music for 2017. Listen to latest single 'Fading' below...

Sticking with the Brighton bands, Yonaka are another act to break out of Brighton city in recent months. After recently signing a big ol' record deal with Atlantic Records, I doubt they will be going quiet any time soon either. As if that wasn't enough, the band have just revealed on their socials they will be hitting the road with Mr Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes throughout March before they take on their very own headline tour in May. This band are one of my favourite new artists to be making waves in the industry of late and I cannot recommend that you go and see them enough.

Dream Wife
There is an infuriating lack of female artists breaking through in the music industry right now, but  Dream Wife  are an exciting, tune-writing, all-female power house worthy of attention. These 3 girls could make the greatest band in the world put down their instruments and not bother anymore. With a set that consists of tracks such as 'Lolita', ''Kids' & 'Hey Heartbreaker', Dream Wife are ones to watch right now and not to be missed at The Great Escape.

Norwegian 4 piece Sløtface have made pretty much every "Ones To Watch" list written in 2017 and with good reason. Reigniting the indie torch in all its glory, the band recently completed a very successful UK tour that finished in a packed out Brighton. A band with a message attached, Sløtface are raising awareness of the world's issues and slapping you in the face with them. The band have just released a new video for their EP title track 'Empire Records' which you can watch below!


Something a little different now from cousins Mike and Joel who go by the name of Otzeki. With a genre description of Electronic Dance Rock, I can tell you're already interested! It's been an exciting 12 months for the duo who made it all the way to the legendary Maida Vale studios for a live session with Huw Stephens and Radio1. For fans of Alt-J, Otzeki are a must see. You'll find yourself mesmerised in a trance of nothing but joy as your body is infused with their music.

Husky Loops
Italian born Husky Loops are bringing you nothing but pure rock n roll. Prepare to get sweaty, prepare to loose yourself and prepare to have your faith in good rock music restored. Channelling their inner Queens Of The Stone Age, the band do exactly what they say on the tin. No messing around, straight to business. Husky Loops will be the band you come away and tell all your friends about! Check out new single 'Tempo' for an sneak preview of what's to come.

Last, but by no means least, are another Brighton band, MarthaGunn. Working closely with Communion Records, MarthaGunn have a blues rock tone that feels all so familiar and comforting. I mean that in no bad way, in fact quite the opposite. It's not often you're able to catch a band and know that every track in the set is going to have your foot stomping, arms in the air and head bobbing. With a powerful, hard hitting vocal that resembles that stop and listen effect of Florence Welch, I'm excited to see what the future holds for MarthaGunn. Catch them while you can!

So that's the artists covered, now for the City itself!
Brighton plays host to a pub in pretty much every other building, so you can feel safe in the knowledge you won't be going thirsty over the festival weekend. Plus, with most of them providing food of some sort, you won't be going hungry either! But with so much choice, where is best?!

The Hope & Ruin
The Hope & Ruin on Queen's Road tops the list purely because it's a vegan restaurant within a ruddy lovely pub. When I say vegan restaurant, I don't mean some pub owner's lame attempt at a salad, this is proper grub! I personally recommend checking out the Loaded Fries. They really are as good as they sound. Plus the pub does takeaway so if you're in a hurry you can grab and go. If all that wasn't enough, the venue is situated above the bar area so if you fancy a quiet drink downstairs, the option is there.

Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
You have to visit for the name alone right?! You'll be pleased to know the stickiness goes only as far as the name. Sticky Mike's underground venue has long been the go to place to discover an up and coming band on the Brighton scene, but with the added bonus of pizza! Handmade pizzas with veggie, vegan and meat options, plus house cocktails, all you need to do next is roll down the stairs to catch your favourite band. Doesn't get much better than that.

The Hare & Hounds/BLEACH
Stepping slightly outside of the main bulk of venues and taking a stroll down London road will land you in . Whilst upstairs (BLEACH) plays host to one of Brighton's more grunge scenes, downstairs houses the best Mexican ever. Well maybe not ever but it's VERY good. La Choza is the name of the restaurant within the pub. Simply choose your base and filling, finish it off with a choice of salsa, do a shot of tequila and be on your merry way!

One final side note for the festival, keep an eye out for The Alternative Escape. You can normally find a ton of secret sets from bigger bands in tiny venues. Previous years have seen The Vaccines play The Haunt (375 capacity) and Drenge play BLEACH (150 capacity).

See you on the beach!

Festival Preview by Project92

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