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

GUIDE & PLAYLIST: The Great Escape Festival 2022

We’re excited to be heading back to The Great Escape Festival in just 3 days time (12th-14th May) to tread Brighton’s pebbled beach and trek around the city trying to catch some of the best new female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ music talent.

GIHE favourites ARXX, Brimheim, Fräulein, Bad Waitress, Mykki Blanco and Ailbhe Reddy will all be singing by the seaside over the long weekend, but we’re excited to discover some brand new artists too. Below is a list of set times of the acts we’re keen to catch at the festival. You can get better acquainted with them by listening to our accompanying Spotify Playlist!

Get your tickets for The Great Escape here.

Don’t forget to check out the line-up for the Alternative Escape too!

 

Thursday 12th May

Fräulein
Playing at: Queens Hotel – 12:15pm-12:45pm

Bad Waitress
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 12:30-1:00pm

Grandmas House
Playing at: The MVT Stage – 12:30pm-1:00pm

HIGH SCHOOL
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 12:40-1:00pm

Tolu Makay
Playing at:
Prince Albert – 1:00-1:30pm
Brighthelm – 7:30-8:00pm

EFÉ
Playing at: Prince Albert – 2:00-2:30pm

flowerkid
Playing at: 2:00-2:25pm

Brimheim
Playing at: Waterbear 2:15pm-2:45pm

Kills Birds
Playing at:
TGE Beach Stage – 2:30pm-3:00pm
Horatios – 9:15-9:45pm

Ailbhe Reddy
Playing at: Revenge – 3:20-3:40pm

ARXX
Playing at:
The Hope & Ruin – 3:30-3:50pm
Brighton Youth Centre – 5:10pm

Mykki Blanco
Playing at: The Old Market – 5:15-5:45pm

Bleach Lab
Playing at: Latest Music Bar – 7:15-7:45pm

Spill Tab
Playing at: The Arch – 7:30-8:00pm

Kynsy
Playing at: The Hope & Ruin – 8:00-8:30pm

CASSYETTE
Playing at: Chalk – 8:15-:8:45pm

HUSSY
Playing at: Green Door Store – 8:15-8:45pm

MUNA
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 8:15-8:45pm

Softcult
Playing at: Volks – 9:00-9:30pm

Billy Nomates
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 9:15-9:45pm

Goat Girl
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 10:15-10:45pm

Let’s Eat Grandma
Playing at: The Old Market – 10:15-10:45pm

Lunar Vacation
Playing at: Green Door Store – 10:15-10:45pm

November Ultra
Playing at: One Church – 10:30-11:00pm

 

Friday 13th May

ZAND
Playing at: Revenge – 12:15-12:45pm

SPRINTS
Playing at: Prince Albert – 1:00-1:30pm

Bleach Lab
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 1:15-1:45pm

Gemini Aaliyah
Playing at: Latest Music Bar – 1:15-1:45pm

PEANESS
Playing at: Zahara – 1:15-1:45pm

ALEWYA
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 1:20-1:40pm

AMARIA BB
Playing at: Patterns downstairs – 1:30-2:00pm

CMAT
Playing at:
Prince Albert – 2:00-2:30pm
Komedia Basement – 10:15-10:45pm

Fräulein
Playing at: Zahara – 2:15-2:45pm

LIBRALIBRA
Playing at: The MVT Stage – 2:15-2:45pm

Panic Shack
Playing at: Brighthelm – 2:30-3:00pm

Kynsy
Playing at: Prince Albert – 3:00-3:30pm

tora-i
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 3:20-3:40pm

Bad Waitress
Playing at:
Green Door Store – 4:00-4:30pm
The Hope and Ruin – 11:00-11:30pm

Rachel Chinouriri
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 6:15-6:45pm

Connie Constance
Playing at: Casablanca – 6:30-7:00pm

Projector
Playing at: The Tempest Inn – 7:00-7:30pm

Witch Fever
Playing at: Volks – 7:00-7:30pm

GROVE
Playing at: Coalition – 7:15-7:45pm

HIGH SCHOOL
Playing at: Horatios – 7:15-7:45pm

Priya Ragu
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 7:15-7:45pm

Stella Donnelly
Playing at: Chalk – 7:15-7:45pm

CIEL
Playing at: Paganini Ballroom (The Old Ship) – 7:30-8:00pm

A.A. Williams
Playing at: The Old Market – 8:00-8:30pm

flowerkid
Playing at: Zahara – 8:00-8:30pm

LIDO PIMIENTA
Playing at: Jubilee Square – 8:15-8:45pm

APRIL
Playing at: Patterns Upstairs – 9:00-9:30pm

EFÉ
Playing at: Komedia Studio – 9:15-9:45pm

ENNY
Playing at: Brighton Dome Concert Hall – 9:15-9:45pm

Panic Shack
Playing at: Three Wise Cats (Casablanca) – 9:15-9:45pm

Prima Queen
Playing at: Horatios – 9:15-9:45pm

ARXX
Playing at: The Mucky Duck – 9:45pm

Let’s Eat Grandma
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 10:15-11:00pm

Lime Garden
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 10:15-11:00pm

Wallice
Playing at: Horatios – 10:15-10:45pm

Momma
Playing at: Horatios – 11:15-11:45pm

Nuha Ruby Ra
Playing at: Komedia Studio – 12:15-12:45am

Porij
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 12:30-1:00am

 

Saturday 14th May

Maria Uzor
Playing at: Revenge – 12:10-12:40pm

Dream Nails
Playing at: Three Wise Cats (Casablancas) – 12:15-12:45pm

HAWXX
Playing at: Volks – 1:00-1:30pm

C’est Karma
Playing at: Prince Albert – 1:15-1:45pm

Fräulein
Playing at: Volks – 2:00-2:30pm

Softcult
Playing at: Green Door Store – 2:30-3:00pm

WOOM
Playing at: One Church – 3:00-4:00pm

Gemini Aaliyah
Playing at: Zahara – 3:30-4:00pm

Stella Donnelly
Playing at: 3:35-4:00pm

Jessica Winter
Playing at: The Arch – 6:15-6:45pm

CASSYETTE
Playing at: Concorde 2 – 6:30-7:00pm

Kay Young
Playing at: The Arch – 7:15-7:45pm

Sinead O’Brien
Playing at: Coalition – 7:15-7:45pm

Gen and the Degenerates
Playing at: The Hope and Ruin – 9:00-9:30pm

SPRINTS
Playing at: Prince Albert – 9:00-9:30pm

Coach Party
Playing at: Coalition – 9:15-9:45pm

LIDO PIMIENTA
Playing at: One Church – 9:15-9:45pm

Rachel Chinouriri
Playing at: Patterns downstairs – 9:30-10:00pm

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: CMAT – ‘Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)’

A relatable, country-tinged tune about pushing yourself to unexpected limits to be the life and soul of the party, Irish pop sensation CMAT has shared her latest single ‘Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)’. Taken from her upcoming album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, which is set for release through AWAL Recordings on 4th March, the track brims with CMAT’s trademark witty lyrics, melancholic vocals and catchy choruses.

“This is a song about being defiantly chaotic, because being that, an agent of chaos, is something quite defiant for a girl to do,” CMAT explains about her new single. “It almost didn’t make the album. But then I managed to shoehorn in a line about the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) and I felt happy it was representative of my drinking habits.” All jesting aside, ‘Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)’ is further proof of CMAT’s talents for taking relatable situations and transforming them into chant-worthy, playful pop anthems.

Speaking about her debut album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, CMAT describes her sound as all the former versions of herself “Play-Doh-balled into one big lump.” Fuelled by her passion for writing striking and honest pop songs, the record features previous her singles ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’, ‘No More Virgos’, ‘Lonely’ and the iconic ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’ and looks set to be one of our favourite albums of 2022.

Listen to ‘Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)’ below.

Follow CMAT on bandcampInstagram, TwitterSpotify & Facebook 

CMAT UK & Ireland Tour Dates 2022

Mar 03: Rough Trade East, London
Mar 04: Rough Trade West, London
Mar 04: Banquet Records, Kingston
Mar 05: Lucky’s, Dublin
Mar 08: Connolly’s, Leap
Mar 09: Golden Discs, Cork
Mar 09: Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Mar 10: Steamboat, Limerick
Mar 10: Dolan’s, Limerick (sold out)
Mar 11: The Academy, Dublin (sold out)
Mar 12: Limelight 2, Belfast
Mar 31: King Tut’s, Glasgow
Apr 01: Cluny 2, Newcastle
Apr 02: Deaf Institute, Manchester
Apr 04: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Apr 05: Hare and Hounds 2, Birmingham
Apr 06: Louisiana, Bristol (sold out)
Apr 08: Omeara, London (sold out)
Apr 09: Colours, London (sold out)
Apr 10: Hope and Ruin, Brighton (sold out)

Photo Credit: Sarah Doyle

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: CMAT – ‘Lonely’

Flowing with her trademark camp melancholy, Irish pop sensation CMAT‘s latest single ‘Lonely’ is a relatable lament about isolation and disconnection. Taken from her upcoming album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, which is set for release through AWAL Recordings on 4th March, the track is a playful but poignant wish for company, delivered via CMAT’s witty lyrics and charming, country-tinged vocals.

“I started writing the song ‘Lonely’ in the Arndale food hall in Manchester when I was on my break from work,” CMAT explain about the track. “Anyone who has been there will know that it is as aesthetically unpleasant as it is bustling, at all hours of the day. There was something that always drew me to it though – people. I was very isolated during this period of my life and longed for a day when I could be sitting at a table of friends that I did not have. Instead, I found myself regularly sitting alone and watching strange families and friend groups, peering out from underneath a Taco Bell crunch wrap, for a false sense of comfort.

“It took me years to finish this song because I couldn’t figure out the point of it. Then the pandemic happened, and suddenly I realised that everybody was in the boat that I had been long accustomed to (my sea legs are beefy in this regard). I realised that the point of isolation is maybe to learn to cherish people more, and to not be so scared of them, or scared of how you are perceived by them. Ultimately though, I wrote this song to try and get Robbie Williams to notice me.”

Whether or not the ‘Rock DJ’ singer notices CMAT remains to be seen, but her heartfelt release is accompanied by another eye-catching video, shot and produced by Tiny Ark. The visuals show CMAT rollerskating her way through her emotions, proving once again she’s a multi-talented, musical prophet who effortlessly blends the silly and the sensitive sides of life together in her tunes.

Watch the video for ‘Lonely’ below.

 

Follow CMAT on bandcampInstagram, TwitterSpotify & Facebook 

Photo Credit: Sarah Doyle

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut