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

Track Of The Day: Berries – ‘Wall Of Noise’

Following last year’s raucous extended play, Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios, Berries have further embraced their influences – pulling from the indie pop melodies of Wolf Alice, the scuzzy distortion of The Breeders, and the raw punk rock power of Sleater-Kinney – releasing the anthemic ‘Wall of Noise‘; a frenetic track that thematically explores the unwanted static that so many of us find interfering with our own thoughts.

These feelings of insecurity and isolation are tackled by the London-based trio – Holly Carter on guitar/lead vocals, Lauren Cooper on bass/backing vocals, and Lucie Hartmann on drums/backing vocals – with lyrical angst and meticulous, yet raw instrumentation; an honest introspection into mental health with propulsive basslines, angular guitar riffs, infectious drum grooves, and a vocal twang. “The wall of noise / Threatens to leak all the things we don’t see / Distorted voice / Blink and it’s gone but for now it lives on.”

In the music video, the band are confronted with repetition – an endless amount of stairs – representing common obstacles that Holly, Lauren, and Lucie approach differently each time, by either “running straight at them, cautiously, following others, courageously or alone”.

Berries promise that their forthcoming debut LP will explore mental health extensively, based on personal experience. If the record is anything like ‘Wall of Noise’, we can expect a confident combination of riff-driven melodies, layered noise-rock and a “fuck you” punk rock attitude.


Recorded and mixed at Big Smith Studio, the debut album from Berries is set to be released this Summer through Xtra Mile Recordings.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

PLAYLIST: August 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our August Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of electronic bangers, swirling shoegaze tunes, gritty guitar tracks and alternative alt-pop sounds. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Grandmas House – ‘Golden’
The GIHE team collectively ADORE this single from Bristol queer punk trio Grandmas House. Taken from their upcoming self-titled debut EP, which is set for release on 15th October via Brace Yourself Records, ‘Golden’ is a gritty, thundering reflection on the apathetic outlook of the organisations that profit from the suffering of others. (Kate Crudgington)

ARXX – ‘Not Alone But Not With You’
The latest single from our total faves, ‘Not Alone But Not With You’ continues to cement ARXX as consistently exciting and forever honing their sound to become even more amazing. A gritty, yet reflective, and unapologetically honest offering, I just love this track’s driving emotion and anthemic singalong energy. Another swirling slice of rousing power-pop from the impressive Brighton duo. There’s also a fab Comic Review of this track up now, courtesy of illustrator Sally-Anne Hickman. (Mari Lane)

HighSchool – ‘Sirens’
Full of moody vocals, buzzing bass lines and playful riffs, Melbourne trio HighSchool have shared this sultry lo-fi banger accompanied by a very cool music video. Check out their previous single ‘De Facto‘ too. (KC)

Basement Revolver – ‘Skin’
Inspired by guitarist & vocalist Chrisy Hurn-Morrison’s thoughts and struggles about her own body image, Basement Revolver’s ‘Skin’ is a swirling, reassuring ode to self-acceptance. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming album Embody, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Slow Crush – ‘Hush’
Hazy guitars, lush vocals and heavy beats combine on this beaut new single from Belgian shoegaze outfit Slow Crush. ‘Hush’ is also the title of their upcoming album, which is set for release on 22nd October via Quiet Panic. (KC)

Lost In Your Mind – ‘Restless’
Dublin-based newcomers Lost In Your Mind have shared this new single today, along with an accompanying video. Inspired by their love of Riot Grrrl, post punk and dark wave, Aoife McMahon, Tracey McEvoy, Elisa Kuhl and Andrea Lambe make music that makes them feel good, and latest single ‘Restless’ does exactly that. (KC)

Berries – ‘The Expert’
The latest single from GIHE faves, London trio Berries, ‘The Expert’ takes down all those patronising know-it-alls with a spiky punk energy. Tackling imposter syndrome with a ferocious, grunge-fuelled drive, Holly Carter’s distinctive sweeping vocals ring out with a rippling power alongside frenzied riffs, showcasing the band’s trademark raw passion. (ML)

Barry – ‘Neolithic Homosex’
Following their eponymous 2019 album, South London based Barry have now shared a new double A-side release. First of the tracks, ‘Neolithic Homosex’, ponders the all-important issue of what gay sex was like in ancient times. Propelled by breezy beats and joyously jangly hooks, whirring keys flow alongside brazen vocals and added cheering hand claps, oozing an uplifting, sunny energy with a fizzing, playful charisma. ‘Neolithic Homosex’, alongside double a-side ‘No More Boys’, is out now. Download from bandcamp. (ML)

Beorma – ‘Her’
I love this track from Birmingham-based duo Beorma. Mixing R&B and indie pop sensibilities with a Prince inspired guitar solo, ‘Her’ is a smooth, melancholy-tinged reflection on absent love. (KC)

Sans Soucis – ‘On Time For Her’
London based artist and one of our faves Sans Soucis has released ‘On Time For Her’ as the lead single from their highly anticipated EP of the same name. Speaking of the track, Sans Soucis says it’s a life changing statement: “It means that I am finally here for myself and I’m ready to seek happiness in life rather than being stuck in my past trauma.” (Tash Walker)

Emma Bradley – ‘I’ll Be Outside’
22 year old Emma Bradley’s ‘I’ll Be Outside’ is a song I find incredibly calming, written about being the person who shows up for yourself. Of the track, she explains “I hope that when people hear my songs, they can feel less alone in their own experiences and also empowered in some way. I think sensitivity gets a bit of a bad reputation, but everything that we feel someone else somewhere has also felt.” (TW)

Bleach Lab – ‘Real Thing’
This Bleach Lab melts me every time I listen to it. Definitely check out their recent EP A Calm Sense Of Surrounding if ‘Real Thing’ makes you a big ball of feelings too. (KC)

Anna B Savage – ‘Since We Broke Up’
Lifted from her upcoming EP These Dreams which is set for release on 24th September via City Slang, Anna B Savage’s latest single ‘Since We Broke Up’ tentatively celebrates the joy she experienced after an emotional break up. If you like the sound of this, you should definitely check out her debut album A Common Turn. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘The Way Back Home’
The latest single from Aisha Badru, ‘The Way Back Home’ offers an endearing reflection on relationships and the age-old realisation of “if you love something, set it free”. Propelled by a lilting energy and shimmering grace, it’s a beautifully stirring ballad, with a poignant lyricism swirling throughout. A simply exquisite, evocative creation that’ll soothe the ears with its resplendent, uplifting allure. The Way Back Home, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is set for release on 3rd December. (ML)

Olivia Dean – ‘Slowly’
‘Slowly’ is a lovely piano ballad from Olivia Dean showcasing a different, more intimate side to the London artist. Taken from her recently released EP, Growth. (TW)

Siv Disa – ‘Toxic’ (Britney Spears Cover)
Having recently announced the release of her upcoming debut album, Siv Disa has now shared a wonderfully unique cover of a Britney Spears classic. Propelled by a shimmering musicality and chiming beats, Disa’s rendition of the 2001 anthem oozes its own majestic ethereal haze as the bewitching, sweeping allure of her vocals flows throughout. A beautifully captivating ode to our favourite pop queen. Siv Disa comments on her decision to release this cover: “Now that the abuse of Britney’s conservatorship has been exposed I hope we’re all taking a minute to think about how she was publicly judged ten years ago, and how that played into the nightmare she had to live in. I hope she gets back everything that was taken from her. We love you, Britney!!” (ML)

Alex Loveless – ‘Brixton’
East London based musician Alex Loveless’ new single ‘Brixton’ captures a moment of romantic indecision with its lo-fi beats and strung out vocals. This is Loveless’ first release that features a guitar, which they managed to borrow from a friend. (KC)

BEBELUNA – ‘Drunk’
BEBELUNA is an artist I’ve played before on our radio show and I’ve been following them ever since. This track ‘Drunk’ is a very enjoyable mash up of jungle and electroclash. My only criticism of is that it is TOO SHORT, but there’s nothing wrong with being left wanting for more. (TW)

CREATRX – ‘experience’
Non-binary, LA based rebel CREATRX declares they are “Not a boy / not a girl / baby I’m an experience” on this savage new single. “This song is a reflection of how I view my gender,” CREATRX explains. “I feel that my spirit (and many others) transcends the limited ideas of gender in Western society and this is a song celebrating that – encouraging us all to take up space, explore and push more.” This single is taken from their upcoming EP dirt. honey. glitter. water, which is an exploration of “what it means to be Black, young, ratchet and spiritual” in today’s world. (KC)

DROWND – ‘Sinner’ (KANGA Remix)
I’m a big fan of KANGA’s industrial, pop-tinged sounds and I am obsessed with her remix of DROWND’s new track ‘Sinner’. Full disclosure – DROWND is the new project of my older brother Joe – and I am thrilled that she’s remixed this track for him as he is also a big fan of her work. You can check out the slick visuals for the original track here. (KC)

Nilufer Yanya – ‘Day 7.05093’ (keiyaA Remix)
I can’t get enough of this track with its synthy sizzles, insect tapping beats and of course Nilufer Yanya’s dreamy vocals. So good. Check out their recently released Feeling Lucky? Remix EP out now. (TW)

John Glacier – ‘Icing’
This song comes in at under 2 minutes and leaves me gagging…gasping for more! It comes from elusive East London vocalist John Glacier, taken from her recently released 12-track project SHILOH: Lost For Words. You can all send me your thanks for the recommendation later, but for now enjoy ‘Icing’ because this track is over almost as soon as it starts. (TW)

BABii – ‘Shadow’
As is always my want, I’m going to slip a little bit of UK garage influenced music into this playlist. ‘Shadow’ from BABii nods to those club sounds we’re all desperate to be immersed in right now, with an edge of electronics. (TW)

JOON – ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ (Depeche Mode Cover)
A cover of the Depeche Mode classic, JOON’s rendition of ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ offers a playful, twinkling soundscape, whilst maintaining all the colourful energy of the original. Joon is Yasmin Kuymizakis, a Maltese musician and producer who ten years ago survived a life-changing car accident, and since then has seen making music as a necessary part of recovery. She’s recently released her beautiful album Dream Again and is also co-founder of the Maltese Sound Women’s Network – an organisation connecting, supporting, mentoring, promoting and educating women and girls in electronic music and sound. Find out more about her in a recent interview we had with her. (ML)

YAY MARIA ft. Franx – ‘Template’
Having previously captivated our ears as the front person of Grawl!x, Trans and queer artist YAY MARIA has now announced the release of her debut solo album, Oyez. The first of three tracks to be shared from the album, ‘Template’ is an empowering slice of poignant power-pop. Made in collaboration with Nottingham based queer artist and musician Franx, it’s a blissfully euphoric anthem celebrating being your true self in the face of adversity. You can buy ‘Template’ on bandcamp now – and all proceeds are going to the QTIBIPOC Therapy Fund; an initiative of the Radical Therapist Network, to create access for Queer & Trans People of Colour to safe therapeutic spaces & services. (ML)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘He Earns Enough’
Featuring members of Trash Kit, F*Choir and Bamboo, six-piece choral punk ensemble Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business have been captivating our ears for some time. Latest single ‘He Earns Enough’ reflects on shamelessly money-grabbing men who increased their fortunes to the tune of billions during the pandemic, while millions around the world struggled and suffered. As the swirling layers of vocals trickle alongside each other and grow with an empowering energy, a sweeping, celestial splendour is created. And, ending with a sea of voices exclaiming “Enough!” in unison, it perfectly captures the rage and sense of hopelessness of living with the continuing injustices of a patriarchal capitalist society. He Earns Enough, the upcoming new EP from Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business, is set for release 8th October via Lost Map Records. (ML)

Bas Jan – ‘You Have Bewitched Me’
Formed of songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Serafina Steer, alongside Rachel Horwood (Trash Kit, Bamboo, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business), Emma Smith (the Elysian Quartet, Jarv Is, Seamus Fogarty) and Charlie Stock, London experimental collective Bas Jan have now shared their first music in three years. Propelled a swirling ethereal majesty, ‘You Have Bewitched Me‘ offers an effervescent reflection on the mesmerising power of first attraction and new love. With the delicate grace of its sparkling harmonies, ‘You Have Bewitched Me’ showcases the subtle power of crystalline voices coming together in unity to create a truly euphoric soundscape. (ML)

MEI – ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’
Taken from London artist MEI’s latest EP, ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’ provides a welcome pool of tranquility. Reflecting on a refreshing evening walk she took after having been ill with COVID, it interweaves a lilting jazz-infused groove and funk-fused beats, rippling with the smooth allure of MEI’s lush, soulful vocals and a gently empowering spirit. The Hard Way Around The Sun, the new EP from MEI, was created with an all-female team and is out now. (ML)

Blonde Maze – ‘Being Pulled’
The latest single from total favourite, New York based artist Blonde Maze, ‘Being Pulled’ is inspired by “the conflicting feelings of wanting to move forward while being pulled backwards by your memories”. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection and oozing a woozy, hypnotic splendour, Amanda’s vocals flow with a blissful haze, creating the perfect soothing tonic. A beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack that I so desperately need right now. (ML)

Track Of The Day: BERRIES – ‘The Expert’

Bursting into your eardrums with a spiky guitar riff dancing around commanding vocals, the new single from London trio BERRIES tackles imposter syndrome with uncompromising grunge-fuelled power. Following latest single ‘Copy’ and the release of their recent EP Live From Big Smith Studios,The Expert‘ showcases the band’s the ferocious energy and sparkling charisma once again.

A firecracker of a track, ‘The Expert’ balances jagged punk heaviness with evocative harmonies while the lyrics take down patronising know-it-alls in the process. The mid-track instrumental is nothing short of rock perfection with its immediate call to mosh-pit inciters, pairing super fuzzy bass with a climbing guitar solo and head-bang worthy drums. BERRIES’ urgency is infectious, and – as the last note rings out – you’re left inspired to stomp around and take back control from your own so-called ‘experts’.

Of the track, the band explain:

Lyrically, ‘The Expert’ is based broadly around ‘imposter syndrome’ and the condescending controlling people who encourage this and internal struggles often felt… Instrumentally we wanted this song to build into itself, adding layers as we journey through the track. Starting off fairly minimal and finishing with layers of effects, fuzzy bass and drums, and the repetitive guitar riff which symbolises the loud and often unwanted voices heard all around.

Leonie Bellini
@teenpeachmovie