Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Concorde 2, Brighton – 23rd October 2018

As far as years go, Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s has been exceptional. Formed in 2013 and relatively unknown at the start of the year, they went on to play some of the most prestigious festivals in the world, as well as headline shows of their own. Not only that, but they released their debut album, Hope Downs, which we said, “Exhibits everything we’ve loved about the band – ragged, but smooth nonlinear indie-rock – but with a much broader landscape than they’ve shown with their EPs.” They rounded off their fantastic year with a brilliant celebration at a euphoric Concorde 2 gig that showcased their debut record and their early singles.

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs

Melbourne band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have been on the Brightonsfinest radar for the past year now. Their excellent The Great Escape performance, where we described them as “The War On Drugs but with more off-kilter guitars” enabled them to become a favourite over the last few months. The band, however, have pretty much been in place for a lot longer than that. Prior to forming the band in 2013, singers/guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White had played together in various garage bands, dating back to high school. “Over the years, we built up our own sound and style, guitar pop songs with bits of punk and country” says Keaney. “Then when we started this band, with Joe [Russo, Tom’s brother] on bass, Marcel [Tussie, Joe White’s then-housemate] on drums, we had this immediate chemistry.” This immediate chemistry is extremely evident on their debut record, Hope Downs, which exhibits everything we’ve loved about the band – ragged, but smooth nonlinear indie-rock – but with a much broader landscape than they’ve shown with their EPs.

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The Great Escape Festival – 2018

To paraphrase that Marmite film classic, the streets were alive with the sound of music! Over three long days and nights, Brighton did truly come alive as The Great Escape juggernaut rolled into town for its 13th edition. The festival for new music saw over 500 acts playing in 40-odd venues, representing countries from all around the globe. If you add in the The Alternative Great Escape, and the plethora of events and pop-up performances arranged off the back of TGE and AGE, you’re looking at closer to 1,000 acts in 80-odd venues. Yes, it was mad, but glorious. Helped along by some beautiful mid-May sunshine, somehow within all the chaos, Brightonsfinest were out in force, documenting, commenting, and enjoying what we like to do best. Watch live music.

So, brace yourself. If you were there, hopefully memories will be stirred. If you weren’t, dive into our thoughts about the state of new music, and check out our many recommendations.

Read reviews from Ben Walker, Dan Whitehouse, Liam McMillen, Iain Lauder, Jeff Hemmings, Jamie MacMillan, Ben Noble

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­Who to see at The Great Escape 2018

Back for its 13th year, The Great Escape is the premier showcase in Europe for new music. Over three days and nights, Brighton is host to 450-plus acts playing over 30 venues, from around 20 countries. You won’t have heard of many of these acts, but quality and potential is the name of the game here. Along with a few fairly established names, the bulk of the bill is made up of acts who have shown their talent, and are on the cusp of bigger and better things. It is a fabulous opportunity to check out new music, covering almost all genres known to man. Alongside The Great Escape, there’s The Alternative Escape, which also features a wealth of stunning new talent, and The Great Escape Convention, where many of the music industry’s movers and shakers congregate to check out the talent, and do a spot of networking and deal making. For three days in May, Brighton truly is the place to be! To help you get a grasp of what is out there, we asked various Brightonsfinest contributors, along with some industry players, to give us the lowdown on who they are looking out for.

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