The Great Escape 2019: Top 8 New Music Picks
“This next song is about blowjobs” is how the Queen-of-Quirk Lauran Hibberd introduced ‘Hunny, Is This What Adults Do?’ at her third show at The Great Escape. Her impressive run of daily shows throughout the festival came hours after being chosen by PRS Foundation for their next wave of funding, and she celebrated with performances of ‘What Do Girls Want?’ and her summer 2018 hit ‘Shotgun’ to an ever-growing crowd (with an especially considerable Australian fan base accumulating!).
Alfie proved himself to be a musician well worth the time. Portions of his set at Three Wise Cats were just moments of huge instrumental sections and were just as exciting as his vocal falsettos. His song ‘Like An Animal’ was the most encapsulating moment, with stark lyrics ‘Hit me like a wrecking ball / crying like a little girl’ being so catchy and memorable that by the final chorus the audience were singing along. Word spread around the festival rapidly, as can be seen by the mammoth queue to catch his sets by the final day!
When you say you are on your way to see Pip Blom at Coalition, the unanimous response is ‘They’re always a good time!’ And indeed they are, although Pip Blom is actually the name of the lead singer with a self-titled band behind her. They are more than just another indie band with guitars, with the players extending the limits of each instrument. They perform raw sounding music unadulterated with synths, bringing guitar music back to where it began with Pip’s vocals being vital to carry the song forward.
Donna introduced her song ‘Girl’ by explaining that the worst thing that can happen is when women turn against each other. And this set the tone for the rest of her entire performance. The song, though soothing and romantic, was laden with stark lyrics ‘Girl, you got me all fucked up.’ Whether it was the more intense moments or the looser moments where the audience were thrashing and head banging in her heavier tunes, It was a blessing to be let on this 30 minute emotional rollercoaster with her.
Being able to find a visual identity that goes with the music is always a challenge for emerging artists, but Cassyette has conquered the challenge from day 1. The rising star has created an all encompassing 80s glam rock show, heavy in guitar riffs, deep vocals that carry a mile, studded high heels boots and volumous blonde hair. Her appearance at The Great Escape came just days after her first ever release or radio play, ‘Jean,’ and yet she filled the entire room at the midday slot. ‘Jean’ implicates perfectly the music that Cassyette is soon to release.
Working Men’s Club
Cowbells and topless frontmen that throw audiences back to old-school rock are back in fashion clearly. The quirky group that is Working Men’s Club made heads turn in intrigue as they opened the BBC Introducing night at the festival. With an undoubtable contrasting sound to the rest of the bands on the festival line up, the use of retro synths to manipulate the guitars and vocals explain how they have made such an impact off the back of their only release to this day ‘Bad Blood.’
Mathilda Homer’s 2019 took off with the release of her new EP ‘Sunny Like You,’ and from there her name is one that has appeared on nearly every line up since. ‘Probably Sorry,’ her lead single, was a crowd favourite and the song that seemed to have attracted most of the audience to the head turning jazz-soul singer’s set, with just a touch of pop peaking through.
James Bay is not usually a name to be found on an ‘emerging artist’ festival line up, but the Grammy-nominated artist took the opportunity to return to where his career began in the heart of Brighton, to deliver a surprise set on the Dork Stage on the day of release for his new EP ‘Oh My Messy Mind.’ Performing tracks to his most loyal audience who weathered the hour long queue in the scorching Brighton sun, he also ended with his major hits ‘Hold Back The River.’ The rare opportunity fans found to see the singer in such a small space was one the crowd will clearly carry with them for a long time.