Concert Reviews

The Great Escape 2019 – Day 1

Photos by Janine Van Oostrom


Sick Joy – Volks

Bringing the grunge to Brighton Beach, UK-based trio Sick Joy stood out amongst the sea of indie pop bands over the weekend. With vocals that resemble the stylings of the late Kurt Cobain, vocalist Mykl’s singing paired with the energy each member exerts onstage makes for a unique performance that can’t be ignored. Their tracks “Heaven” and “Senses” are the perfect tracks for all of the rock/grunge fans out there, each track having a balance of classic grunge influence and Sick Joy’s own interpretation of the genre.


Surfbort – Jubilee Square

Jubilee Square in the heart of Brighton’s City Center was open to both festival goers and the public, the outdoor venue constantly buzzing with people throughout the weekend. In the late afternoon on Thursday, Surfbort took over the area for a performance unlike anything else. Vocalist Dani Miller ignored the stage for half of their set, interacting with the kids that lined the front row and the adults drinking their pints in the back. Climbing the pillar right next to the stage, Miller brought Surfbort’s songs to life with her powerful vocals and unpredictable actions, making for a moment over the weekend that many were both captivated and intrigued by.


BLANc – Loading Bar

Yala! Records artist BLANc put on a stripped back performance for Republic of Music as part of the Alt +ESC Showcase. Opening up their set with “Pipe Dreams,” they created an intimate atmosphere at The Loading Bar. It almost felt like the audience was part of their jam sessions with Will White’s easy-going stage presence and Alex Thirlwell playing while sat on the stage floor throughout the set. BLANc also played a number of tracks off of their new release via YALA! Records, including “Foreign Cities” and “Chameleon,” setting the bar high for the rest of The Great Escape Weekend.


The Murder Capital – The Prince Albert

Post-punk outfit The Murder Capital brought one of the most intense and engaging performances over the weekend at the Prince Albert Pub, the room filled to the brim with festival goers the moment their set began. Including their two latest singles “Green & Blue” and “Feeling Fades,” their performance pleased all of the rockers who came down to Brighton Beach for the weekend. Although keeping to themselves for much of the set, the band did take a moment to talk about more sensitive subjects, expressing how lucky they feel to have each other in their lives to confide in when things aren’t seeming to go their way. Being both intense in energy and heavy in relatability subject matter, The Murder Captial brought one of the most stand-out and authentic performances to The Great Escape.


Inhaler – The Prince Albert

Hailing from Dublin, Inhaler is the perfect band for all you indie rock-loving listeners out there. Formed of longtime friends that met while in school, vocalist Elijah Hewson has one of the most distinct voices in indie rock right now, his vocals helping to separate them from other acts in the genre. Their latest single “It Won’t Always Be Like This” really got the crowd moving in the Prince Albert Pub, fans bopping their head to the infectious beat while the band jammed together onstage. It was inevitably clear through their chemistry onstage that the members that makeup Inhaler are in it because they love making music, their strong passion and love for the profession being just what they need to take them far.


Marika Hackman – The Old Market – Fender Stage

In the midst of the heavy rock acts that took over The Old Market Stage, Marika Hackman brought her powerful vocals and captivating songs for the whole venue to enjoy Thursday night. Although her latest album, I’m Not Your Man, was released in 2017, the Brighton crowd were treated to “I’m Not Where You Are,” her latest single that was released just last month. Featuring groovy guitars and synths, Marika Hackman’s genre-bending music was just the thing the crowd needed as they geared up for SHAME’s surprise set that followed.


Shame – The Old Market – Fender Stage

Surprising the Great Escape crowd this year, Shame put on a surprise gig for the festival that was one to remember. Interacting with the audience as much as possible, vocalist Charlie Steen crowd surfed multiple times in between performances of old favorites like “Friction” and “Concrete” and even a few brand new tunes. Although the crowd wasn’t as chaotic as usual Shame shows are, Steen at one point telling everyone to not be so serious, the set was overall one of the most lively and memorable of the entire weekend and one those in attendance won’t be forgetting any time soon.