It’s almost that time again – the highlight in the Brighton musical calendar, when anywhere you can fit in a PA becomes venue for a few days. Yes, this coming weekend is The Great Escape Festival. We haven’t finalised our plans, but we’re probably going to end up seeing more Alt Escape stuff than proper Great Escape stuff, because that’s where the bulk of the local bands are playing. If you haven’t got yourself a ticket yet then you can get into all the Alt Escape stuff without one anyway.
If you want to start really early then there are actually a couple of shows on Wednesday night, our pick of which is the Fiddlers Elbow where you can see the likes of Fable and Porshyne.
Things really kick off on Thursday though. We’ll probably spending a lot most of the day at Alive Gym on Castle Street – not to work out, but to enjoy the Small Pond / Republic of Music all dayer which has an ace line up – Pussy Liquor, The Hundredth Anniversary, Our Girl and Dream Wife are all on our list. There are also three unannounced acts, which is often Great Escape code for secret gigs by much bigger bands. We’ll also be spending some time up at the Black Dove, which has a line curated by Octopuses that includes Bloom, Fukushima Dolphin, Tom White, Speak Galactic and Frost. In terms of non Brighton bands, we like the look of Anteros at 2pm at Bleach and Gurr who are playing at 3.30pm at Sticky Mikes and also at 9.15pm at Green Door Store. Liberty Music PR’s GRL PWR showcase at Hotel Pelirocco has a mix of tourists and Brighton bands, including Ex-Phanton Runner Adal who’s joined by Michelle O Faith, who are on at 8pm. Also representing Brighton on the main line up are Yonaka (8.30, Patterns), Jacko Hooper (9.15, Jubilee Square) and Fickle Friends (11.15pm, East Wing).
Possibly the strangest gig of the weekend is early afternoon on Friday when Nick Heyward from Haircut 100 (ask your mum) plays at the Black Lion. What we’re most looking forward to though is the Shipwright’s Yard Sessions (also put on by Republic of Music, who seem to be pushing all our buttons at this year’s festival). The whole bill look pretty good, but we’re most excited by The Magic Gang at 4.55pm and Rose Elinor Dougall at 5.35pm. It’s an Alt Escape gig, but you need to register for a ticket so don’t miss out. Elsewhere Porridge Radio are playing at the Hope & Ruin at 6.30pm, Thyla are at the Mucky Duck at 8.30pm, Dog in the Snow play at the Windmill at 10.30pm, and Chris Anderson plays in all three of his Crayola Lectern, La Momo and Zofff guises at the Black Dove over the course of the day.
Saturday daytime is all about Love Thy Neighbour’s Alt Escape gig
downstairs at The Hope & Ruin for us. From 2.30pm there’s a run of Kub
followed by Our Girl
followed by TEEFF
which you’ll be hard pressed to beat. Saturday night things get really busy at the festival so your best bet to avoid the queues is to get into a venue early and stay there. There are two great Brighton heavy line ups which we’ll be torn between – Over at the Old Market, Blood Red Shoes
headline with Tigercub
lower down the bill. Alternatively at Sticky Mike’s Magic Gang
, Dream Wife
, Abattoir Blues
and Our Girl
are all on the bill at Cannibal Hymns showcase. Also on our list (which has clashes everywhere) are LOM
at the Prince Albert at 12.50pm, Bloom
at Café Plenty at 1pm, Fable
at Hotel Pelirocco at 2pm, Kudu Blue
at 2.30pm upstairs at the Hope & Ruin, and The Big Moon
at 11pm at Horatios. Saturday night is also Bleach’s last day ever
. After the Great Escape festival they’re shutting their doors and closing the venue. Who knows what’ll happen to it – whether it’ll be a function room for the Hare & Hounds, or whether they’ll build it into more pub to be used on a daily basis, or hopefully it’ll come back as a new venue before long – but if you have fond memories of the place Saturday will be your last chance to say goodbye.