[LIVE REVIEW] Skepta + Guests @ The Great Escape ’15

Live Reviews

Occasionally over the weekend in Brighton, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re actually in South London with this year’s strong grime presence. With their knack for jumping on new and exciting movements in music, The Great Escape organisers were certainly privy to a grime revival with talismans JME & Skepta crowning a huge year with a historic dome show.

The two brothers don’t disappoint, opening the show with the anthemic #thatsnotme, the crowd go insane as Skepta conducts the audience like a punk band might, organising circle pits and bellowing “Energy!” whenever he has a spare breath. Their set acts as a magnum opus for grime’s progression and burgeoning popularity with the pairs’ bars coming thick and fast. Through the jovial ‘German Whip’ to the future enigmatic classics ‘Man Don’t Care’ and ‘Shutdown’, Skepta and JME assert their dominance as the scene’s forefathers still running the game.

Great Escape is all about bedding in the next generation, a task 18 year old Lewisham MC Novelist and his producer Mumdance grab by the horns. “Novelist I write bars until I got a weak hand” he boasts on the bass-heavy ‘Take Time’, his notoriously dexterous flow arrests the initially bemused crowd, with Mumdance’s sparse and often avant-garde instrumentals gives an edge to Novelist’s assertions that “It’s mad on the road” in his native Lewisham. Despite his age, Novelist’s talent and big money XL records deal could provide the competition to Skepta & JME that’s been hugely lacking for a few years.

By Toby McCarron

[LIVE REVIEW] Shamir @ The Great Escape ’15

Live Reviews

Thursday night at The Great Escape festival well and truly belonged to XL Records. Taking up a residency at Coalition, the seafront sweat-pit accommodated the lucky ones capable of getting in to see what the upcoming artists on the UK independent label had to offer.

    Amongst the rising stars of the night was 20 year old Shamir. Born and raised in North Las Vegas, the wet stoned walls of Brighton’s busy night club are a long way from home for the young pop sensation. His presence however proved he could make any stage his home. Beginning with Vegas, Shamir tells us of his home city, his soft vocals riding above the throb of the bass synth. “The city’s alright, at least at night” repeats Shamir as the track fades, echoing his experience of growing up in one of the world’s most notorious party capitals.

    “So.. I wrote this song as a joke,” Shamir giggles before beginning On The Regular. The playful, house-infused disco beat becomes the backdrop to Shamir’s colourful personality, displaying a unique style of modern pop capable of getting a whole crowd bopping along. On stage, Shamir’s eyes dart around the room, his whole body moving along to his contagious beats, he’s thriving off the crowd’s energy.

    The energy dissipates as Shamir begins Darker. Offering his hands out to the front row for support, he lifts himself on to the barrier to perch amongst the crowd, beginning the slow, stripped down number. His playful, chirpy voice transforms into a soulful and emotive tone, stunning the audience as his vocals reach all corners of the room and deep within the souls of the onlooking crowd.

    The dizzying synth line of Head In The Clouds brings Shamir’s excellent set to a close. While the synths continue to whirl around the room, Shamir spends the last part of the song in the crowd himself, moving through and hugging anyone in his path. Somewhere within the crowd he finds Lapsley and excitedly pulls in his fellow XL member for a hug before moving further on as the music fades.

    By the end of the night everyone in Coalition felt like they had a new friend. Shamir’s unique presence captures people, combined with his addictive new pop/electronic style it is guaranteed that the young musician will continue to move audiences one way or another as his career progresses.




In For The Kill

On The Regular

Hot Mess




Call it off

Head in the clouds

By Ollie Didwell

Delta Rae @ The Great Escape ’15

Live Reviews

In a tiny pub at the end of Brighton pier on a hazy summery afternoon, an intimate crowd is gathering, clutching cans of Red Stripe. Feeling dazed from the unprecedented hot weather on the Saturday afternoon of the yearly Great Escape Festival, we’re waiting for six-piece rock band Delta Rae. They’ve headed over to Blighty from Durham in North Carolina, after being asked to play at the festival off the back of momentous critical acclaim from their recently released second album ‘After It All’. Their brand of gospel-tinged folk rock is in full force tonight as the band step onto the stage and launch into ‘Run’. What makes them stand out the most is the two female vocalists and their impressive vocal ranges. One minute they reach operatic heights and the next a soft Southern drawl. After a start that impresses but doesn’t entirely enthral the crowd, we are soon won over by ‘Bottom of the River’ and ‘Scared’. It is within these tracks where the drummer comes into his own, banging around with insane passion in his eyes. The crowd loosens up and we start to feel the beat, surrendering ourselves to Delta Rae’s musical charms. Towards the end of the set they announce a cover, and Fleetwood Mac immediately springs to mind; there’s something about this band that draws easy comparisons to the sixties group. Sure enough, they launch into indisputable classic ‘The Chain’, to which the band gives full justice, with front woman Brittany Hölljes easily echoing the impressive carefree vocal style of Stevie Nicks. They may not be the most cutting edge band in the world, but looking around at the crowd in Brighton after today’s gig, every single one of us had a smile. Seeing Delta Rae is an uplifting experience that puts some bluegrass joy into your soul.

By Hana Barten

[NEWS] Asylums To Play Method Magazine Launch Next Week

Indie-pop-punk act Asylums are playing at The Book Club in Shoreditch on Thursday 11 June.
The uptempo Essex popsters are supported by new, hotly-tipped Birmingham act Chartreuse and it’s part of the Method magazine launch party.
Method is the UCA Music Journalism graduate magazine and features all the students’ best degree work – with articles ranging from why banana peel is funny and the history of Fleet Street to eating contests and the resurgent northern soul scene – alongside interviews with God Damn and Rob Da Bank.
Tom Bacon, David Lubich and Gareth Thomas will be on the decks pumping out punk, soul, funk, hip hop and garage.
Asylums will be performing, appropriately, their track “I’ve Seen Your Face In A Music Magazine” as well as their new single ‘Joy In A  Small Wage’.
First up are dreamy trip-hoppers Dear Life.
Doors are open at 6pm and the night goes on till 2am. And it’s free entry. 
The Book Club
100-106 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4XS

[Interview] Shamir Bailey at The Great Escape ’15


So, there we were minding our own business at The Great Escape Festival, when we stepped outside the Brighton venue where Låpsley had just played to find Shamir, who was due on stage in under an hour, smoking a ciggie. Naturally we joined him for a light and a chat…

by Gareth Thomas

Emerging blinking into the daylight after watching Merseyside newcomer Låpsley perform in the Brighton beach nightclub Coalition, we cross the path in front of the venue for a smoke and end up asking for a light from US rapper/singer Shamir.

“I’ve smoked for a while now,” confesses the young artist. “I have to try to smoke in secret – my mom doesn’t like it,” he adds, wafting smoke away with his hand as if she was there. He looks at the ground. “I should stop.”

The 20-year-old Las Vegan, who has just released his debut album Ratchet, is obviously close to his mother.

“My mom is into r’n’b,” he says. “I’ve definitely absorbed some of the music she likes…I’m not sure if she likes mine.” His eyes crease and then twinkle. “She’s a cool mom!”

Fresh from a gig in Nottingham where he said the crowd gave him a great reception, Shamir says he likes touring and is looking forward to his forthcoming shows along the east coast of America, especially New York where he lived for a few months.

He said he’d already been in Brighton for “a few hours” and becomes suddenly modest, taking a slight step back when it was pointed out that all of the people in the ever-growing queue just yards away were lining up to see him. “Really?”

“I need to work on my lower vocal range,” he states, possibly in mind of his upcoming show. “My upper range is okay though.” This earnest comment is somewhat ironic and would come as no surprise at all to anyone who’s heard his trade-mark high-pitched voice, in full use on the track On The Regular.

As well as pursuing his own career, he’s managing a band called Forever Lesbians (er…actually four guys from Philadelphia). “They’re very new, but they’re amayyyy-zing,” he enthuses. “I’m not really into the business side of things – I just want to help them out. I’ll take them as far as I can then a proper manager can take over…I’ve got my own music to think about!”

Just then, fresh from her show, Låpsley comes out for a cigarette and they share a mutually appreciative hug. “I love her,” Shamir purrs.

“Oh my God!” screams a Japanese girl who’s emerged out of the queue after spotting him. “You talk just like you sing!”

Shamir takes this interjection in good spirit.

But then he pulls out his phone. “Where’s my band?” he says, looking worriedly at his mobile for some heaven-sent help. “I need my band!” At this point we realise he needs to sort stuff out.

We part with Shamir giving us a smile and an “okay” sign with his thumb and fingers.

Modest, cool, funny, charming. Shamir.

[INTERVIEW] The Bulletproof Bomb


Hannah: Hi guys! Do you want to start by introducing yourselves?

Tom: We are The Bulletproof Bomb and we’re from Sutton. I’m Tom and I play bass


Joel: I’m Joel and I play…the voice, and guitar.

Mike: I’m Mike and I play guitar.

Robbie: I’m Robbie and I play keyboard.

George: and I’m George and I play drums.

Tell me about your sound.

All: punky, British, indie, pop, garage, guitar, funk, soul, jazz…

T: I don’t know, fun?

R: Yeah fun! We’re a new genre called ‘fun’.

You’ve just released your new track, ‘Five Green Bottles’, why did you choose this particular song to release as a single?

J: Well we only had 4 recorded so that was the biggest reason.

T: Yeah, well I think Five Green Bottles is our best one because it really encapsulates

what we’re about.

R: It’s like our manifesto isn’t it?

All: Yeah.

Well you definitely picked the right song seeing as it has been playlist on Radio 1! How did you find out that was going to happen?

J: Our manager James dropped by my house and showed me a text. It didn’t really sink

in, I was just like “oh that’s pretty cool” and then I went inside and peed myself.

T: And cried.

What does it mean to have someone like Zane Lowe supporting you?

J: It’s brilliant, Radio 1 are so powerful. If you’ve got them backing you, you can go

anywhere. We got a Zane play in February and we’ve been milking it all year!

T: It’s amazing just how much power they have isn’t it? Disclosure’s success had a lot to

do with Radio 1 really liking them. They drive a lot of new stuff.

J: We’ve had a lot of support from Gary Crowley, BBC London’s “Introducing” fella, and

he was at the centre of the punk scene which drives what we do, so that’s massive.

Who are you guys listening to at the moment?

J: I’m listening to Lorde. I really like Lorde.

T: Really?!

J: Yeah, I love her! I’d love to meet her, she’s alright.

R: I’m listening to a lot of Mac DeMarco. He’s got horrible teeth though. Really bad.

Do you think that ‘Five Green Bottles’ being played on Radio 1 has been a big turning point for your band?

T: Definitely. Our Facebook has gone up a bit. People are paying more attention to our

Twitter which is good.

J: Yeah the likes go up, the favourites go up.

R: It’s good just to see people talking about it to their mates and stuff. It feels good.

T: It’s less like we’re just someone’s mates band now, more like we’re a professional

band in a way. We’re getting towards that.

J: We’re not making any money but the sentiment is there.

R: We got a fiver each actually. From one gig we got a fiver each.

M: When? I didn’t see that…

T: Well that’s your fault for turning up late!

J: We spent that on chips.

M: You bastards!

What was the last gig you went to see?

R: Probably Bestival.

T: Chic were the last people I saw.

J: The last act I saw that were brilliant was The Orwells at Reading. They played the

Festival Republic stage I think. They were wicked.

Based on the line-ups that have been announced so far, are you planning on going to any more festivals next year?

R: I’ve only seen one act announced for one festival and that’s Metallica at Reading. Not particularly my cup of tea.

M: Wait no, Jamie T has been announced too, that’ll be good.

T: Marilyn Manson [announced for Download festival] is sick, he is good. I thinkGlastonbury is the one though.

R: Glastonbury and Bestival are the two I really want to go to next year.

You headlined the BBC Introducing stages at Reading and Leeds this year, how did that go?

J: It was good. We weren’t meant to headline, Moko was supposed to actually headline it,but she was ill for two days. In the end we headlined it. That was really cool. The crowds were really good. It was cool just to go up to Leeds as well, we’ve got a bit of an online following up North as well so it was nice to actually have those people come and see us.

M: We got a lot of feedback afterwards which was good.

R: Yeah it was weird because a friend of ours said “oh I met someone the other day who said they saw you in Leeds” and we were kind of just like really? There were 20 people there, they must have met all of them!

J: We had an awful time beforehand though. We were all so excited to play Reading, you know, every little boys dream, and on the way up there we get this phone call saying that Jamie T is clashing with us. We are VERY similar to Jamie T, as everyone likes to tell us…

M: “Oh you sound like Jamie T”.

R: “You know what? I think guys sound a bit like Jamie T!”

Who would your dream festival line up be?

T: Can they be dead?

Yes. So it’s a 5-day festival, all of you pick one band you’d like to see.

G: The Stone Roses.

R: I’m going to go for R.E.M.

M: I’d love to see Blur.

J: The Buzzcocks.

T: The Sex Pistols. That’d be funny.

G: I think they’d all get on.

R: That would sell out.

T: I think we’ve got an idea here guys!

What are your plans for 2015?

M: We’re hoping to play some festivals, hopefully on bigger stages.

T: We’re releasing some new music, some new tunes.

J: We’ve got a new single coming out in January and then hopefully an EP a few months

after that.

Anything else you want to say?

T: Check us out.

J: Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud…

T: Spotify. My playlist is being uploaded soon.

R: Are we actually doing it? Is it working now?

T: Yeah! Check out my playlist on Spotify.

All: Everybody listen to Tom’s playlist!

T: Listen to me!

Thanks for your time guys, and good luck with your new single!

By Hannah Alice Cade