Festival season is now so close you can nearly touch it, and The Great Escape is not only one of the first, but is also guaranteed to be one of the best.

This year's event is taking place from Thursday 10th May and culminates on the Saturday 12th of May. Across the three days three hundred plus bands will be providing Brighton rock, indie, electronica and more in 30 venues on the south coast.

Listing all the great acts playing may break the internet but some names we’re excited about include: Perfume Genius, Niki & The Dove, Alt-J, Shabazz Palaces, Grimes, Friends, Zulu Winter and Django Django. There will be shows in the Brighton Dome, in churches and pubs around the city. Add to that an array of fringe events, club nights and a daytime conference - plus a bar on the famous Brighton pier - and you have all the ingredients for a very special time indeed.

Amazingly tickets are still available and you can get them here.

For a full of who’s playing and for more info visit escapegreat.com.

See you there, yeah?

Listen to our Great Escape playlist by clicking here.



*****


Editors Picks: James Canham (Live Editor):

Retro Stefson

Possibly the most interesting and entertaining live act I've ever personally witnessed, Retro Stefson would need no introduction in their homeland of Iceland. Renowned on the Reykjavík circuit for their unique mix of pop ethics and peculiar, yet stunning, execution they're definitely one to catch. [Listen]

  • Performances:
  • 10th May - Latest Music Bar - 23:15 11th May - Above Audio - 14:30 11th May - Green Door Store - 19:30

Fever Fever

Art punk isn't dead, and with bands like Fever Fever it never will die. On top of their fantastically literate lyrics their layers of dissonant yet raw guitar and pounding drums give the festival one of the best and most interesting performances. [Listen]

  • Performance:
  • 10th May - The Hope - 20:30

AlunaGeorge

With an EP coming soon on the illustrious Tri-Angle records, and with an arsenal of future pop hits to hand, now is the time to see AlunaGeorge before they make it huge. Every song they've released so far is dredged in a fantastic drape of smooth and sexy vocals with rich synthy backing, and their near-midnight show at Coalition on the Friday is shaping up to be one of the best of the festival. [Listen]

  • Performance:
  • 11th May - Coalition - 23:30

Seams

While Seams will be playing the sounds at his Corn exchange, the real reason anyone will be going is to see his fringe jumping excitedly on stage. We've loved him from the word go (especially his remarkable Tourist EP, a piece of work focused and composed from sounds heard in Berlin, the city he's now based in) and by all reports his live show is just as great as his recordings (mainly because of his fringe...). [Listen]

  • Performance:
  • 12th May - Corn Exchange - 21:30

Micachu & The Shapes

Along with many others we've eagerly awaited the next move from Micachu and The Shapes. After a few interesting diversions (most notably their chopped and screwed mixtape performance piece with the London Sinfonietta Orchestra) they've finally got a sequel to 2009's Jewellery in the pipeline and, with any luck, we'll hear something new from the makers of one of the last decade's most fascinating albums. [Listen]

  • Performance:
  • 12th May - The Haunt - 21:45


*****


Editors Picks: Wil Cook (Music Editor):

Alt-J

As they prepare to drop one of the albums of the year, Alt-J are the band to be excited about. Engaging, melodic songs full of depth, songs that linger on longer than you expect. Remnants appear in your head for days after and they are welcome. I cannot wait to see this band play live. [Listen]

  • Blind Tiger Friday 21:15

Jonquil

I have been screaming from the rooftops about Jonquil since 2006 when I caught them playing in a horrible little bar in Ipswich. It's been fascinating to watch them evolve from a folk band who evidently had a bit of a crush on Boards of Canada into this massive summery behemoth of a band. I love this band more than I could ever put into words for you, which says a lot, because I love to talk. [Listen]

  • Prince Albert Thursday 22:15
  • Green Door Store Friday 14:00

Cloud Nothings

Since releasing the wonderfully nihilistic Attack on Memory earlier in the year Cloud Nothings have been on my "must see" list. It's a crunching punk rock pop fix that simultaneously restores my faith in my ability to feel alive and reverts me back to a mindset where I wanted to die. Basically, they are the hipster Nirvana. I just hope they are as ramshackle and urgent in the flesh as they are on this record. [Listen]

  • Above Audio Thursday 21:45

Perfume Genius

I'm not who St. Mary is, but she doesn't half know how to book a gig, last year she hosted Dustin O Halloran and Max Richter for one of the shows of the festival. This year it's the turn of Perfume Genius who plays after Loney, Dear making one of the sexiest double bills of the three days. The chance to see songs like Hood and Dirge performed in the beautifully intimate surroundings of the church is not something that you should pass up. [Listen]

  • St. Mary's Church 21:15

Tall Ships

One of my favourite memories from last year was the mass sing-along during Vessels, mid afternoon in the Pav Tav, it placed in my mind an idea that has been reaffirmed several times since, Tall Ships have it. They have whatever it is that every band is trying to achieve when they write songs, that feeling. Y'know that feeling when your hairs prickle up with your skin bumps as you realise that you are lucky to be alive and in a world full of potential. Yes, that is quite a bold statement, but have you seen Tall Ships play? If you haven't, then you really need to catch them soon, this years Great escape is the place. [Listen]

  • Pav Tav Friday 1am
  • The Hope Saturday 22:15


*****


Editors Picks: Tim Boddy (Photography Editor):

Gang Colours

The 405 have been following Will Ozanne's Gang Colours closely since the release of the violently monikered EP, In Your Gut Like A Knife, last summer. Recently the chap from Southampton released full-length debut album The Keychain Collection on Brownswood Recordings, to positive appraise.

It's the kind of album that rewards enormously on repeated listens, the reflective soundscapes burying deep into the skin, and cut-up homages to garage swirl smoothy through the bloodstream. The result is rather Beautiful stuff, like if Mount Kimbie went into ballad territory - but with a very definite Gang Colours personal grace to proceedings. [Listen]


Forest Swords

Oh Forest Swords, where have you been? The solo project from Liverpool-based Matthew Barnes has been quiet of recent, following the release of 2010's gorgeous and beguiling LP Dagger Paths. Beguiling in that a myriad of differing styles are sewn into each other; Barnes' passion and knowledge for techno, drone and even R&B coming to the fore.

Gorgeous in that the way the aforementioned genres are masterfully woven; resulting in a sparse, yet bold dream-state. It'll be fascinating to see how it will play out in a live setting at gone midnight on the final day of The Great Escape; anything from a melancholic nightcap to a techno dub-filled set seems like a possibility. [Listen]


Regal Safari

It's obviously important to treat your ears well during a live musical experience; but what about your eyes, what to do with those squidgy photosensitive organs? Regal Safari have solved this problem by providing visual stimuli in the form of video projections that compliment their sound - forming a crucial part of the band. It's better than staring at the backlit straggly hair from the tall chap in front of you anywhoo.

The ears part is well-covered too - the talented Brighton duo exuding a warm ambient vibrance, with some lush beats traversing into your soul. It could lazily be described as chill-wave, but there's a lot more going on here; a dark undercurrent and exquisite arrangement, yet with a lucid air to proceedings. Go and download their debut six-track EP before the show. [Listen]


Virals

Virals is the nom de plume of Shaun Hencher (he of Lovvers fame), where he has been creating some exciting tunes in a pub since late 2010. Fans of Lovvers will no doubt enjoy the sounds of Virals, though, they are very different entities; gone is the frenetic noise-fest, to be replaced with a more pop-orientated, melodic air.

To date only one release is available - the double A-side of 'Magic Happens' and 'Comes the Night' on the marvellous Sexbeat. But fear not; their debut EP will be out the very week of The Great Escape, titled 'Coming Up With The Sun' via Tough Love Records. Lets hope the sun rears its big orange face to compliment the sun-kissed vibes Virals ooze in abundance. [Listen]


Perfume Genius

Seattle resident Mike Hadreas, as Perfume Genius, recently (and now somewhat infamously) had his video for 'Hood' banned by YouTube; under the pretence that they thought families wouldn't be able to hack the sight of two people of the same sex, ya know, actually hugging each other. However, one traditionally socially conservative group seemingly does not have a problem with Perfume Genius, as he will be performing at The Great Escape in a Church.

It promises to be a superb choice of venue, the delicate vocals of Hadreas will surely sound heavenly reverbing around the walls of the Unitarian Church. The deeply personal, emotional themes of albums Put Your Back N 2 It and Learning in this setting could be something of a moment. See you in the front pew. [Listen]



*****


Editors Picks: Oliver Primus (Site Editor):

  1. Born Gold
  2. Shabazz Palaces
  3. Lapalux
  4. Niki & The Dove
  5. Bass Drum Of Death


*****


shabazzpalaces

Editors Picks: Kris De Souza (News Editor:

Alabama Shakes:

I fell in love with Alabama Shakes' debut album, Boys & Girls on my first listen, but then again, I love that bluesy sound, so like the last two Black Keys albums and Jack Whites recent solo album, it feeds into that side of my music taste seamlessly. I can't wait to see how well these songs come off live and hear that voice in person. [Listen]


Niki & The Dove

I've heard nothing but good things about them live, and while pop isn't normally my thing, I do really like the Drummer EP. I actually had tickets to see Niki & The Dove at a Line Of Best Fit show but they weren't due on till something ridiculous like 1am, and being a midweek night I had to get the train before they were even close to coming on. So catching them at Great Escape is a priority for me. [Listen]


We Were Promised Jet Packs

I've got a big soft spot for Scottish bands. I think it might have something to do with my obsession with the film Trainspotting back as a teen. I love the accent and especially when you can hear it come across in the vocals of a band. The first I heard of WWPJP was their second album In The Pit Of Our Stomachs, I got it last year and since then I've wanted to see them live. [Listen]


Shabazz Palaces

I've long been a hip hop fan and the Seattle scene is rich in talent at the moment with Shabazz Palaces leading the charge. They are intelligent, and have a lot of substance to their rhymes, which is something I look for in rap. I'm a huge fan of people like Talib Kweli and Mos Def and these guys are certainly of that ilk. I think this will be a popular one though so I'll have to get down there early. [Listen]


Friends

I think these guys will put on a really fun show with plenty of good tunes to have a pogo to. I'm nearly 30 but it is still ok to pogo yeah? [Listen]