Once again festival season has kicked off with the iconic The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
Basking in glorious sunshine, engulfed by the hottest and freshest new music out there it was another successful year for the rising new music sector.
Running all around town and up and down hilly Queens Road for god knows how many times, always on the hunt for the best new music out there, I am happy to finally present you with my ultimate festival highlights of #TGE18!
Buckle up, it’s a loud and rocking ride!
Having known a handful of Dream State songs prior to the festival I knew I needed to this Welsh five piece live on stage.
On Friday night just before midnight anything that I could have ever hoped for came true as Dream State took to stage at the Hope & Ruin.
The loud yet melodic post hardcore sounds flood the venue and right from start there is no standing still. Front woman CJ Gilpin personally makes sure of that, constantly running around the stage, jumping on the speakers whilst simultaneously screaming her heart out.
I am pretty sure anyone that was around in the heydays of nu metal rise felt at home during the Dream State show.
Unleashing their newly released EP ‘Recovery’ onto the Great Escape punters was a pleasure to watch. The room was going wild to the sounds of ‘White Lies’ and my personal favourite ‘New Waves’ as CJ jumps up and down on stage, runs into the crowd and shares the microphone with several fans.
Dream State’s high energy gig was the perfect ending to a wild Friday night, it was rowdy it was boiling, it was the carnage the punters needed. The band wrapped up their festival set with ‘In This Hell‘ which was a fitting choice as all hell broke loose.
Anyone that wasn’t already dancing or moshing was going for it now. Crowdsurfers went wild while singing their hearts out and half the band jumped off stage rocking out from within the crowd.
Fans and band were almost one at that point and being there in this moment, halfway being catapulted back to my early teenage days but at the same time knowing I am truly stood in 2018 gave me the hope that there is still a chance for new music.
Dream State is what the music world needs right now, they are loud, raw, full of power, yet emotional and without doubt they came to conquer the heavy music world!
Lighting up The Haunt at Brighton’s seafront, painting the place in beautiful hues of yellow, red and blue created the perfect setting for the dreamy rock trio whenyoung.
Hailing from Limerick in Ireland, the three piece brought heir sound to The Great Escape stage for the world to hear. And what a joy it was!
Their indie rock songs wrap you up in a warm and fuzzy hug while lead singer’s Aoife Power dreamy vocals take you back to a better place. Taking their new single ‘Heaven On Earth’ in front of the crowds proofed a good decision as the punters seemed delighted by the fresh tune.
With their coordinating boiler suits and light show the band looks like they have been doing this music thing for ages when indeed they only became whenyoung not so long ago. Regardless of how professional whenyoung look on stage their unadultered joy shines through all the time.
Guitarist Niall Burns rocks out with Aoife numerous times which gets the crowd all excited. The excitement culminates when the three piece launches into their hit ‘Pretty Pure‘.
The fans sing along at the top of their voices and revel in the fuzzy indie rock sounds on such a glorious spring day!
Once a pop punk kid, always a pop punk kid! So it was kinda obvious that I had to head down to VOLKS and catch LA trio PVMNTS as they have brought their pop punk finesse to the British shore.
Seeing a punk rock show at mid day feels a bit weird but thanks to the dark interior of the venue and PVMNTS being proper excited about their first UK show, any flew doubts were out the window.
Considering that the band has only released one song so far they drew quite the crowd, which might also have been due to the fact that actor Tyler Posey is part of the gang. But regardless of actor turned musician or not, PVMNTS know their shit.
Right from the start of their set the band sends everyone down memory lane with their sound, as it remind of the good old punk rock days of early Blink 182 and Green Day, which we all loved, right?
Songs like ‘White Walls‘ and ‘Hit The Ground’ are what gets everyone excited for their first EP which according to the band ‘ we will release at some point!’. So let’s hope that better be sooner than later, as we need more than one released song.
Halfway through the set PVMNTS switch things up by Tyler Posey and Freddy Ramirez swapping guitar and bass with each other. When a little switch-a-roo sometimes confuses the punters, the Brighton crowd was quite excited to see of what was to come.
Bashing out more of their repertoire like ‘Standing On My Own Two Feet‘ and ‘Chem Trails‘ the trio seems to be having a fun time on stage, which translated to the fans. The state side band wrapped their Great Escape Festival performance up with the one song that everyone knew, their first released track ‘Jumping Stairsets‘, very much to the liking of the punters.
As far as I can tell, PVMNTS UK debut gig went pretty well, judging from the happy faces of the band and the mirroring smiley faces from the punters. All in all we can agree that having been able to witness PVMNTS first UK concert was pretty special and surely was only a teaser of what’s to come in the future.
HUNTER & THE BEAR
My love for Hunter & The Bear has been growing continuously for the last few years and after the band made big waves with their First Fifty warm up show for the Great Escape Festival, it was without question that I was gonna go and catch them at their first ever Great Escape performance.
Opening their festival set with ‘Skintight’ probably best described the feeling in the room. The live music room upstairs at the Prince Albert Pub in Brighton was packed for the Bear’s set.
It was very hot and so crowded that some people couldn’t even get it, and the lucky ones that made it, well they were skin-tight with all the other punters.
But that’s how you need a good old rock gig to be. The London based five piece were brimming with excitement to finally grace the mighty TGE stage and treated the fans to a sweet set list full of a well blended mix from new and old songs.
Dishing out the best bits from their debut album ‘Paper Heart‘, the band was unstoppable on stage! Will Irvine’s distinctive rock and roll voice howls through the venue as Hunter & The Bear perform their stadium ready bangers and have the crowd sing back the chorus word for word.
But why stop there? Giving the fans no time to breathe Hunter & The Bear continue to rock the place. One of my personal highlights was seeing ‘Charlotte St‘ live, the song is the perfect soundtrack of a night out and that’s exactly how the festival punters celebrated it. Singing along with old and new friends.
No festival is complete with a band treating the fans to some new material, and thankfully Hunter & The Bear delivered. ‘I’m just gonna make up the words as I go along’ lead singer Will Irvine joked when introducing the next track on which the ink has just about dried. ‘It’s called ‘Little Victories‘.
I’ve said it once and I will continue to do so, if Hunter & The Bear continue to write those kickass rock anthems it will be in a blink of an eye that the five piece will hit the massive stadiums!
Apart from the official The Great Escape Festival there is also the Alternative Escape going on at the same time. Giving artists and bands a platform to play their songs to a big audience that might have missed out on festival tickets but still want to enjoy some good music.
So whilst down in Brighton do not ignore the line up of the Alternative Escape as it hold some gems that don’t want to be undiscovered!
Speaking about gems, one of my highlights was seeing Reigning Days totally own it at The Mesmerist in Brighton. Despite the lack of a huge crowd the trio turned that into their forte, giving their set a real intimate feel.
Flooding the venue with their loud rock songs got the attention of the punters and they started gathering around the stage as Reigning Days played their hits ‘My Sweet Love‘ and their recent release ‘Inhaler’.
Even a broken snare drum didn’t stop the Devonshire trio from owning their set, lead singer Dan Steer quickly improvised and casually wowed the crowd with a stunning rock ballad rendition of ‘Do You Feel‘.
Their track ‘Empire’ speak volumes not only in sound but also in what Reigning Days have to offer. Their alternative rock sound is infectious, so much that even after the set you kind of want even more Reigning Days in your live.
Who was your highlight at #TGE18? Let me know!