The first wave of acts performing at next year’s Great Escape have been announced.

This year Mystery Jets, Beach Baby, Girli, Tigercub and Vant are heading up the UK contingent, with Australia’s Banff, Methyl Ethel and Owen Rabbit also appearing on the bill.

On Thursday the 19th May 2016 the All Saints Church will play host to a Spotlight show featuring Mura Masa, Oh Wonder and Shura.

The annual event takes place in Brighton every year and aims to showcase some of the best up and coming musical talent from around the world.

The full line-up can be found here: http://greatescapefestival.com/line-up/

Words by Shannon Cotton


Music Reviews

The Academic are fast growing a positive reputation for themselves with their effervescent brand of indie pop. The four-piece from Mullingar have already played a string of UK shows as well as extensively touring their Irish home country, and now comes the release of their debut EP, Loose Friends.

Lead single and EP opener Different is a sonic attack with its surging guitars and energetic percussion. It’s been the breakthrough track for the quartet this year, with the song going down a storm at UK festivals like The Great Escape and Y Not? as well as earning them performances on prime time television back in their native Ireland.

In October the band first debuted Northern Boy, which on the surface seems more mellow until those trademark electrifying riffs make and appearance. It’s the second song on Loose Friends and sees the four-piece at their most vulnerable with frontman Craig Fitzgerald pleading: “I don’t get the way you feel, this ain’t a movie reel.”

The first of three new studio tracks is Sometimes. The song is a straight up indie pop banger while second new track Chasers fizzes with upbeat guitars and striking basslines with Fitzgerald’s Irish accent creeping through on the vocals as he sings: “your world is on fire but you’ve still got your youth.”

The final track is Thought I Told You. Lingering basslines and subtle synths provide a bed for the distant vocals: “I thought I told you just to disappear, I thought I told you just to run away”, bringing the EP to an unexpected melancholic end.

After a series of successful live shows, Loose Friends just cements The Academic’s status further as one of the more exciting indie bands around at the moment.

Listen to Different below:

Words by Shannon Cotton


Music Reviews

High Tyde have created another youthful indie anthem with Do What You Want. Just shy of three minutes the effervescent song includes scorching guitars and energetic bass lines as well as frontman Cody Matthews’ carefree lyrics: “I’m bolder, drinking c-c-Corona”. This is the first sign of new music from the Brighton quartet since the release of their EP Fuzz back in March but the band clearly haven’t lost their spark. Over summer they conquered festival season with sets at The Great Escape, Boardmasters and Y Not? as well as support slots with Bad Suns and Young Kato.

Stream Do What You Want below:

Words by Shannon Cotton


[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

[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.


Live Reviews


The first four rows of the crowd in this makeshift, mirrored, wooden space – one of the smaller Great Escape venues – are female and every one of them thinks Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) is singing to them. That he not only wants them, but ‘needs’ them. The thing is that Hozier sings openly and honestly about romance and isn’t afraid of being vulnerable.