So, The Great Escape Festival is over for another year! What a weekend it was, with plenty of new music to discover and some fantastic talks on all areas of the industry, including those lead by the O2 DIY Academy. Despite the rain we had a brilliant time, here’s some of our favourite acts from across the three-day festival.
TAMZENE, QUEENS HOTEL
To kick off our Great Escape weekend, we headed to the ReBalance showcase at the Queens Hotel. Started by Festival Republic, ReBalance aims to bring female musicians - whether they be solo artists or in bands - to the forefront of the industry and The Great Escape was a great place to see a whole host of amazing female artists in action. Scottish singer, Tamzene, delivered a flawless performance of dream-pop love songs that had us swooning over her delicate vocals and super-cool attitude that will undoubtedly take her on a path to big things in the future.
KAMAKAZE, DITTO MUSIC STAGE
Rising British rapper, Kamakaze, took to the Ditto Music stage on the Great Escape beach site to flaunt his razor-sharp flow and garage-inspired rhythms. Despite the erratic moods of the weather, he roped in a sizeable crowd who were thoroughly involved with each and every word that rolled off his tongue. Tracks from his recent Royal Blud 2 EP went down a storm, but it was latest single, the Game Of Thrones-inspired ‘Jon Snow’ that took his performance to the next level.
HOT MILK, VOLKS
Despite only being a band for a year, Hot Milk have had a hectic schedule, supporting Deaf Havana, Papa Roach and You Me At Six on tour, before they tackle Download festival and a slot opening for the legendary Foo Fighters this summer. Their first of two performances at The Great Escape, they packed out the Volks stage on the seafront and dived into a set of delicious emo-pop anthems from debut EP, Are You Feeling Alive?. Duel vocalists, Jim Shaw and Hannah Mee work perfectly together, bringing their personalities to each song to deliver a half-hour sweat fest of fun. Keep your eyes on this lot, because no doubt they’ll be hitting our venues again in no time at all.
LEWIS CAPALDI, BRIGHTON DOME
Tickets for Lewis Capaldi’s headline showcase at The Great Escape were almost impossible to get hold of, but we were fortunate enough to find ourselves in front of everybody’s new favourite popstar to get a glimpse of what his upcoming tour will offer. Walking onto the stage as ‘Here Comes The Money’ plays in the background and confetti spurts into the air, it’s clear from the off that he isn’t holding back with his live shows from now on. His band, all adorned in red tracksuits, complete the spectacle as Capaldi smashes through his viral hits, ‘Grace’, ‘Bruises’ and his seven-weeks-at-number-one ballad, ‘Someone You Loved’. Witty as ever, he cracks out jokes in between songs and the audience lap up every minute of it. With a string of sell-out shows ahead of him, this is just a snippet of what’s to come from the Scottish singer in the next 12 months and we can’t wait to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve.
O2 Academy Birmingham: Monday 25 November - SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Bristol: Tuesday 26 November - SOLD OUT
O2 Guildhall Southampton: Thursday 28 November - SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Brixton: Friday 29 November - SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Sheffield: Tuesday 3 December - SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Glasgow: Saturday 7 December - SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Glasgow: Sunday 8 December - SOLD OUT
O2 Apollo Manchester: Monday 2 March - SOLD OUT
O2 Apollo Manchester: Tuesday 3 March - SOLD OUT
HALFNOISE, THE DIVE BAR
Paramore drummer and musician extraordinaire, Zac Farro, brought his funky art-music project, HalfNoise to The Great Escape for a set of tambourine shaking, groovy dancing, fun. Filling out The Dive Bar at the beach site alongside his band of merry men, he got everyone to let loose to new single, ‘Who Could You Be’, 2017’s jangly anthem, ‘Scooby’s In The Back’ and the fan-picked hit, ‘Sudden Feeling’. Not afraid to get up close and personal with the crowd, he joined everyone in dancing his way through the songs and had us all leaving with a smile on our faces by the end.
JAMES BAY, COALITION
Announcing that he’d be playing a short set barely 24 hours before he walked on stage, James Bay had no trouble at all in gathering people inside the intimate setting of Coalition. Completely stripped back, with just him, a guitar and a setlist on the back of his hand, he stunned the crowd with the romance of it all. With only 20 minutes to fill, he squeezed in favourites from last year’s album, Electric Light, as well as a brand-new song from freshly-released EP, Oh My Messy Mind. Of course, it isn’t a James Bay performance without hearing ‘Hold Back The River’ and it rounded up his bitesize show perfectly.
The final day of The Great Escape saw Download Festival taking over the Volks stage to bring festival goers a taste of the exceptional talent coming through in the rock & metal world. One band that truly made an impression were Bristol three-piece, Superlove. Dressed in colourful shirts and with a cheeky attitude, they bounced their way through their set and turned the awkward in between talking bit into a stand-up comedy set. With huge, thumping basslines and the catchiest of choruses, it’s hard not to enjoy watching these three lads having the time of their lives and it won’t be long before they’re winning over crowds on a much bigger scale.
MARSICANS, THE MUCKY DUCK
New Music Blog alumni, Marsicans, have steadily been working their way to become the nation’s new favourite indie band and judging by the queue out the door at The Mucky Duck, they’re succeeding. Now quite the professionals at festival performances, (last summer saw them play at Reading & Leeds and Kendal Calling, to name a few), this intimate setting was a chance to see the newcomers take things back to basics and strip their songs to the bones with a minimal setup. Working their way through a handful of summery indie anthems, including the sing-a-long worthy ‘Suburbs’ and ‘Friends’, it was a lovely snippet of what these guys can offer and they made everyone in the room feel like they were friends, which is just nice really, isn’t it?
SONS OF THE EAST, DITTO MUSIC STAGE
Travelling all the way from the sandy shores of Australia, Sons Of The East certainly brought some much-needed sunshine to The Great Escape, as they squeezed onto the compact Ditto Music stage and blue skies opened up above. Having released their brand-new EP, Burn Right Through, just a day before, the band were in high spirits and performed their bluesy folk songs with pure delight. Making the most of their trip over, if you weren’t lucky enough to catch them at The Great Escape, you can also bask in their breezy music at a handful of headline shows, grab your tickets below.
O2 Academy Birmingham: Wednesday 15 May Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Oxford: Wednesday 22 May Buy Tickets
I TOLD YOU I WOULD EAT YOU, PRINCE ALBERT
Before they hit the road supporting Hellogoodbye, seven-piece indie-punk band, I Told You I Would Eat You, leaped onto the tiny Prince Albert Stage, having already caused a lengthy queue running down the stairs and out the door of the Brighton pub. Releasing their debut album, Oh Dearism, at the tail-end of last year, most of their set was dedicated to its floaty math-rock melodies and emotionally-tinged lyrics, which are perfect for having a little shimmy on a Saturday afternoon.
Want to keep up to date with all our features, interviews and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?
You can now purchase Academy Music Group gift cards! They can be used on thousands of shows across the UK in our venues. For more information, click here.