LIVE: The Great Escape 2022 (Photos & Highlights)

We were back at The Great Escape for the first time in 3 YEARS at the weekend, stomping around Brighton trying to catch some of our favourite women and LGBTQ+ artists in new music. Spread across multiple venues in the city, the festival showcased an eclectic line-up of talent, and our Features Editor Kate Crudgington and official photographer Jon Mo were there to capture just some of the highlights of the prolific 3 day event.

Of course, clashes, queues and timing issues meant we inevitably missed some artists, including sets from ZAND, Ailbhe Reddy, Mykki Blanco, A.A. Williams, Witch Fever, Bad Waitress, Kills Birds, LibraLibra, PEANESS and Grandmas House, but we tried to get to as many gigs as possible on Thursday & Friday. Read about the performances we did manage to catch and take a look at our pictures below…

 

ARXX remain one of our favourite bands, both on and off stage

Whether it’s vocalist & guitarist Hanni casually saying “let’s break up this wall of men” as we moved towards the front for Fräulein’s set at Queens Hotel, or drummer Clara cracking up the crowd with her story about a seagull stealing her croissant during their own set (she’s a Brighton resident as well, rookie mistake) – ARXX truly are the definition of an iconic duo. Their set at The Hope & Ruin was so packed we couldn’t get in, but it was worth running up the hill to Brighton Youth Centre to catch them performing later on the same day. Full of their trademark riotous riffs, anthemic vocals and knockout percussion, the duo tore through renditions of ‘Deep’ and ‘Call Me Crazy’ as well as previewing their new single, ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’. We can’t wait to have them headline for GIHE again at The Shacklewell Arms on the 22nd July. (tickets here)

Fräulein are your new favourite grunge duo

Joni & Karston aka Fräulein blew us away when they headlined our first GIHE gig of 2022 back in January at The Victoria in Dalston. Since then, the duo have been playing across London non-stop and have been out on tour with The Mysterines and Coach Party too. They performed their brooding, captivating grunge sounds to a full house in the basement at Queens Hotel on Thursday afternoon, with singles ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Drag Behind’ being set highlights. They played a show on each day of the festival over the weekend, so if you didn’t catch at least one of their sets, you definitely missed out.

We are in love with Brimheim and her band

We had a lot of FEELINGS watching Danish artist Brimheim perform to a packed crowd at seafront venue WaterBear – and all of them were GOOD. Clearly loving every moment of her set alongside her equally enthusiastic band, she thrashed around with her guitar, enjoyably scowling down at her mic as she delivered her pitch perfect vocals. Performing songs from her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, she thundered through ‘favourite day of the week’ and ‘baleen feeder’, her exquisite, confessional lyrics were given a new edge by her raw, more abrasive live performance. We cannot wait to see her live again.

The Irish showcase at Prince Albert is always a festival highlight

Year after year, the line-up for the Irish showcase at the Prince Albert continues to impress us. Even when we can’t physically get into the venue to see the bands (we heard SPRINTS sounding HUGE as we stood in the queue on the stairs) the atmosphere and the talent is always worth sticking around for. We caught Tolu Makay in her stunning sequin-drenched outfit on Thursday, performing infectiously fun tracks from her debut album Being, including ‘Me, Myself & I’ and ‘You Are Enough’. On Friday, we were front row for CMAT’s show (read more on that below) and to catch Kynsy live for the first time. Since the release of her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’ in 2020, we’ve been keen to see her show and she did not disappoint. Accompanied by her band, she ripped through singles ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’ and ‘Elephant in the Room’, her voice sounding superb despite her saying she was “a little croaky” on the day.

Tolu Makay

KYNSY

CMAT is Queen

Despite their best efforts to make things work, CMAT’s band couldn’t play along with her due to tech difficulties, so the Irish pop sensation shrugged it off and performed a superb solo acoustic set instead. Armed with her guitar and her trademark white cowboy boots, she performed seamless renditions of ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’, ‘Nashville’ and a “lounge version” of ‘No More Virgos’ with keyboard player Colm, all taken from her debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. A mix of stand up comedy and stand out vocals, CMAT’s sets are always a total joy to witness, and listening to other folks in the crowd sing along to ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ never gets old.

Lido Pimienta is a L.E.G.E.N.D.

Full of her stunning vocals, metal-esque screams, sharp wit and strong pro-choice vibes, award-winning Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta had the crowd dancing, cheering and laughing along during her set at Jubilee Square. Performing tracks from her 2020 album, Miss Colombia, including a flawless rendition of ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’, Pimienta cracked jokes about the Queen’s Jubilee between songs and made valid comments about the importance of respecting women’s reproductive rights. Her charisma, euphoric live energy and candid comments will remain embedded in our memories for weeks to come.

We want to join Softcult

We’ve been looking forward to catching Canadian twin siblings Mercedes and Phoenix aka Sofcult live since the release of their debut EP, Year Of The Rat, in 2021. Informed by their experiences of sexism and objectification as young women in the music industry, the pair performed their bittersweet grunge-pop anthems to a packed crowd at Volks, with songs ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and ‘Gaslight’ providing an empowering and cathartic moment to push back against toxic masculinity.

We want to scream in tune like Lucy from Projector

Brighton band Projector have always impressed us with their live shows, but their set at The Tempest Inn on Friday evening truly excelled all other times we’ve seen them play. The four piece smashed through a set full of visceral alternative noise, with bassist & vocalist Lucy’s cord-ripping screams absolutely decimating our ear drums (in the good way), especially during the band’s latest single ‘hell in my head’.

Like most major UK festivals, The Great Escape has room for improvement

Whilst our experience of The Great Escape was a positive one, we know that’s not the case for everyone who attends or plays at the festival. We saw a tweet from artist Billy Nomates explaining that there was “no water no towel no buy out no rider [and] a microphone that doesn’t work” – therefore she couldn’t perform to the best of her ability at her set on Friday night.

We also saw a tweet from the band PEANESS, rightfully lamenting the lack of opportunities for artists playing the festival to have access to complimentary food and drinks, whilst delegates are often bombarded with these invites. It was both disheartening and comforting to see replies on these threads that echoed similar sentiments, especially as artists (particularly female artists) are often labelled as ‘unappreciative’ or ‘difficult’ when they highlight these issues. It’s not fair that people’s experiences of the same festival differ so vastly.

There are plenty of artists, promoters and PR teams working towards a better and more equal music industry – we met and saw some of them at The Great Escape! – but until everyone is on the same page, we will continue to elevate the conversations that challenge the unfair “norm”.

In terms of its line-up, 2022’s Great Escape really did feel like one of its most diverse and entertaining yet. But there’s always more to learn, more work to do both on and off stage, and more reason than ever to speak out when you think you’re being treated unfairly. Respect to the artists who were bold enough to do so this year.

CIEL

BERRIES

Gen & The Degenerates

Words: Kate Crudgington / @KCBobCut
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography

VIDEO PREMIERE: LibraLibra – ‘Fancy Car’

Having released their epic second EP, Modern Millennial, earlier this year, and fresh from wowing crowds at TGE and receiving acclaim from the likes of Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, GIHE total faves LibraLibra have now shared a brand new video for album track ‘Fancy Car‘.

With the vibrancy of the retro, Grease-inspired hand-crafted visuals matching the colourful charisma and frenzied energy of the track perfectly, ‘Fancy Car’ is propelled forwards with a sizzling, empowering spirit. Fizzing with a swirling, psych-infused chaos, it oozes a fierce, immense power as the raging magnificence of front woman Beth’s colossal vocals are interwoven into the track’s gritty, anthemic musicality.

With the visual and lyrical narrative so wonderfully aligned, we’re fully immersed into the story of ‘Fancy Car’ – the highs and lows of intense young love, and the rollercoaster of feelings that can accompany it. Fluctuating between a riotous angst-driven force and glistening soulful majesty, the glorious dynamic splendour of Beth’s vocals lends itself perfectly to the vivid cinematic allure of the animated illustrations.

The video for ‘Fancy Car’ was created by Holly Deanna from previous GIHE headliners and faves CURRLS – and I think you’ll agree that she has encapsulated the fiery essence of LibraLibra perfectly! See more of her art at @heavenlystudio_ .

Watch the new video, for the first time, here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LIVE: Lunar Vacation @ Moth Club, 11.05.2022

Having been completely addicted to last year’s debut album from Lunar Vacation – listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last six months – I was excited to finally see the Atlanta-based band live at Moth Club last Wednesday.

The night opens with the shimmering, uplifting grace of German band Roller Derby, and – as they treat the crowd to a mesmerising cover from their “favourite UK band”, I shimmy along to ‘Friday, I’m In Love’, and come to the realisation that I may have just discovered my new favourite band.

After introducing themselves – explaining that they had to get the ‘Chunnel’ to come over to the UK – Lunar Vacation begin their set with the blissful tones of ‘Peddler’, instantly captivating the crowd of adoring fans, as an endearing sense of excitement and joy radiates throughout the sparkling interior of Moth Club. Following the jangly musicality and swirling surf-pop energy of ‘The Basement’, Lunar Vacation ask “someone they met earlier today” to join them on stage – and so we’re introduced to Ella, a mega fan who seems to have learnt ‘Unlucky’ note-for-note and seems completely at ease joining the band on guitar for the entirety of the track’s twinkling romanticism.

Discussing the title of their album, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp, front person Grace explains that it is indeed a true fact – despite being a fruit, figs are not vegan, due to the amount of dead wasps you may accidentally come across when eating them. So, no more figs for me… Continuing to charm the crowd with both insightful knowledge and a dreamy musicality, the band ease into ‘Where Is Everyone?’ and ‘Mold’, flowing into each song with their trademark lilting hooks and stirring, sparkling emotion.

As Grace’s luscious crystalline vocals ripple alongside the cinematic instrumentation, I notice someone in the crowd literally do a little jump for joy… And it’s poignant just what a truly joyous atmosphere has been created. The front couple of rows are pretty much entirely made up of smiling femmes and queers; all swaying along, beaming, singing along to each and every word of Lunar Vacation’s glistening offerings. The kind of euphoric sense of unity I hope to create at the gigs I host for Get In Her Ears.

Following the gentle ethereal splendour of ‘No Offerings’, guitarist Maggie continues the endearing witty banter, revealing that Grace has always wished she was British, and was hoping that Alex Turner may have made an appearance tonight…

As the sweeping, mystical allure of tracks such as ‘Anna’ and ‘Gears’ floats through the venue with an exquisite heartfelt charm, I remain utterly immersed in Lunar Vacation’s knack for perfectly fusing together a beautiful, stirring melancholy with an uplifting, rapturous energy.

As the set draws to a close, the disappointment doesn’t last long as the band sneakily reappear a moment later to treat us to a little encore and – as the whimsical majesty of ‘Swimming’ glides into our ears – I’m left feeling utterly elated. Any worries or stresses I may have had on arriving at Moth Club tonight have floated away on the truly dreamy, radiant grace and heartwarming sense of unity that Lunar Vacation have created.


Mari Lane
@marimindles

LIVE: Bad Waitress @ Moth Club, 09.05.2022

I’ve been wanting to see Toronto band Bad Waitress live ever since first falling in love with the riotous power of last year’s single ‘Strawberry Milkshake’, followed by weeks of listening to epic debut album No Taste on repeat. So, it was with much excitement that I was able to catch Kali, Moon, Katelyn and Nicole opening for Brooklyn band Gustaf at Hackney’s Moth Club on Monday.

Kicking off the rather sweaty night, Bad Waitress immediately blast into the seething discordant splendour of ‘Rabbit Hole’ with an immense, gritty energy – no introduction needed. As frenzied, relentless riffs ricochet off the sparkling interior, I become instantly utterly immersed in their scuzzy, angst-driven power. As a ferocious energy propels ‘Lacerate’, Kali’s raw, impassioned vocals ring out with a fierce emotion, reminiscent of the legendary Brody Dalle. 

Continuing the set with racing, chaotic vigour, the band treat us to more hell-raisingly raucous – yet fuzzily catchy – offerings, such as wonderfully sinister punk anthem ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ and the eerily seductive allure of ‘Manners’. 

As Kali leads the band with an immense, raging drive, the rest of Bad Waitress captivate the crowd; whether it’s the quirky charisma of guitarist Katelyn as they deliver the most impressive of riffs, Moon pummelling the kit with an infectious shimmering energy, or the ethereal charm of bassist Nicole.

Nearing the end of the set, Bad Waitress treat us to one of their earliest singles ‘That Sedative’, before showcasing their versatility with the sweeping, sultry ferocity of ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ and fierce latest single ‘Spit It Out’.

After a year of being desperate to see this Toronto band live, they do not disappoint. I remain utterly spellbound by their seething, empowering cacophonies throughout. A truly epic experience.

(Kills Birds – with their colossal grunge-fuelled fuzz and immersive stage presence – were also incredible!)

Mari Lane
@marimindles