With an apparent administrative cock up with dates to deal with, The Great Escape was a week earlier than normal, very soon after Easter and the Labour Day Bank Holiday. Would this have an affect? Would there be less sun and less people? Well, when you’re living in a highly changeable climate, but with the dark clouds of Brexit looming larger than ever, you’d be forgiven in thinking the party might not get started.
You simply cannot keep a great songwriter down. A founding member of Brighton based The Mojo Fins, Stephen (SJ) Brett has found his feet again, with a new band that includes Paul Pascoe on bass, Oddur Runnarson on guitar and Nick Van Vlaenderen on drums. This is only their third gig together, but there’s a natural chemistry apparent from the off, as they effortlessly gel as a unit.
Off the back of his fourth solo album Yawn, Bill Ryder-Jones returned to Brighton to treat us to a truly humble and intimate set of old and new favourites. Playing to an almost sold-out room at The Haunt, it was clear Bill had pulled in a number of his die-hard fans from the area. With an impressive back-catalogue and a packed-out room of people who were keen to listen to Bill’s every riff and word, it was bound to be a memorable night.
Following the release of their phenomenal debut album Errorzone, the hardcore five-piece known as Vein are a band that I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for. Their Code Orange-influenced style of furious hardcore, electronic distortion and other elements definitely had my attention and praise to the point where I would regard their debut record as one of 2018’s best albums. Therefore, I was very pleased to find out that Vein would cross paths with the people of Brighton at their Green Door Store show, with support from Higher Power and Narrow Head.
After the release of their latest album back in 2018 titled Bambi, the next step for indie champions Hippo Campus was obviously to commence a tour in celebration of the recent record. Thankfully for us, this tour would take the band to Brighton’s Concorde 2, a city full of great indie culture, which would have the pleasure of welcoming one of America’s finest bands of the genre.
Bridlington duo Seafret have, impressively, overcome being dropped by their label Sony Music Entertainment due to one thing and one thing alone: the enthusiasm and passion of their fanbase. Sticking with them every step of the way, the band have come through the other side looking bigger and better than they ever did before. Their gig at Patterns – their first Brighton gig since supporting Amber Run at Concorde 2 back in 2017 – was an excellent showcase of the progress the band have made and the extended love-in that has grown between the band and their fans.
Despite previously appearing back in 2015, the return of Mutations Festival feels like a brand-new festival. Now an all-dayer in a single venue rather than a multi-venue bash, as well as relocating to Portslade’s Hansen Hall and bringing Small Pond on board as co-promoters, it already felt like a whole new thing entirely. As such, there were certainly some teething problems on the day, such as a lack of facilities for such a large number of people, problems with the screens in the main room and, crucially, running out of pints way before its conclusion. However, there was certainly enough promise to keep Mutations alive long enough to become an annual tradition.
Despite building up a loyal following in the UK, Toy never quite reached the potential that it looked like they would back in 2012 with their self-titled debut album Toy. Their show at Patterns was in support of their fourth record, Happy in the Hollow, which we described as, “A wild ride through the darkness of psychedelia in just about every way, it’s a delightful journey that changes at the drop of a hat”. As huge fans of the five-piece, and certainly their latest album, this was an inanimate and almost lifeless performance from the Brighton band.
One of NME’s top 100 essential acts of 2018, indie-rock four-piece Thyla have been making waves in recent years. As well as having some great tracks on their newly released debut EP, the group have also allegedly built a “sterling live reputation”. With this knowledge, I was very excited to see for myself just how true this statement was when visiting The Hope & Ruin for their headline show, which included support from LibraLibra and La Lune.
I’ve always enjoyed an afternoon gig. It’s a big reason I’m a fan of The Great Escape. Why should shows always be in the evenings? Well, judging by today’s sell out, no reason at all! Tatty Seaside Town are local promoters of what could loosely be described as alt-goth-outsider-folk and today’s line up is a reflection of that.