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The Great Escape 2019 Festival Preview

Six Artists to See at the Brighton, England Event

May 07, 2019 Injury Reserve
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The UK music industry allows itself one weekend each May to decamp to the Brighton seaside and celebrate its uncanny ability to regenerate and produce scores of new artists on an annual basis. Now 14 years into its traditions, the line-up for 2019 is more extensive than ever-some 500 artists will play across dozens of walkable venues across the city’s rolling hills and alleyways over three days. As ever, there are big names at the top of the bill: Friendly Fires, Fat White Family, Lewis Capaldi, and Anna Calvi, to name a few. That’s all well and good, but the real joy of The Great Escape is in discovery, so with that in mind, here are six of our picks to get ahead of the pack.

Working Men’s Club

If you’ve been fortunate enough to catch any of the dates on Fat White Family’s recent tour, you’ll have been taken in by the opening set delivered by Working Men’s Club, the trio (or four piece, when live) from Todmorden, West Yorkshire that have inhabited the post-punk spirit as confidently as any band in years. Rolling, jangling guitar arpeggios and a whipsmart and crisp rhythm combine to form the basis of their authoritative sound. It might not be a new form of music, but they are performing a traditional style in a battle-hardened fashion that belies their teenage years. Recent single “Bad Blood” enshrines their current state and a signing with Heavenly Recordings certainly bodes well.


Another group proving the fertility in the guitar music soils at the moment, Rotterdam quarter Lewsberg have drilled into different alternative rock histories to arrive at their makeup. The spoke-sung verbose lyricism of Lou Reed and Parquet Courts appears to have had a lasting influence on Arie van Vliet’s vocals, whilst Michiel Klein’s lead guitar channels Tom Verlaine or Rowland S. Howard in a sentimental mood. Lewsberg are just one of a number of stellar Dutch artists playing Brighton across the weekend, but with their self-titled debut album already released, few are prepped to make as confident a splash as Lewsberg.


One of the buzziest bands in Europe over the last 12 months, St. Petersburg quintet Shortparis are joyfully subversive. Their music is fully saturated, a provocative, panicky mix of death disco, ‘70s German experimentalism and a meltdown of post-punk and industrial electronica, as evidenced on their eclectic, visceral 2017 album, ПАСХА. None of which is to mention their live shows, by all accounts the ne plus ultra of the Shortparis experience, with Nikolay Komiagin’s confrontational, thunderous style, ranging effortlessly in and out of falsetto, something to behold. Shortparis are sure to be the band that leave people talking when the weekend is over.

Injury Reserve

The Great Escape is far from just a festival of guitar bands and an appearance from Arizona underground rap trio Injury Reserve is testament to that. As anyone who has heard their superlative 2016 mixtape Floss can attest to, they are the masters of the minimalist banger, the proto-industrial hip-hop blend that puts them in an elite group with the likes of clipping. and JPEGMAFIA as one of the leading lights of the anti-mainstream, and like those artists their live reputation goes before them too. UK appearances are relatively rare for the outfit, so this is a glistening opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the next generation of American rap. Their self-titled debut studio album is out later this month.


Described by their own press release as a collision between PC Music and Nouvelle Vague, London duo Jockstrap act as if they don’t release how strange their music is. Part situationist experiment, part musical playground, they fear no sounds: elaborate string arrangements, ear-stabbing electronic outbursts, bossa nova rhythms, lo-fi bedroom pop, it’s all there in their DNA, and much, much more. A little like their contemporaries Let’s Eat Grandma, they have come of age in an environment that doesn’t recognize distinctions between genres. Their future is nigh-on impossible to predict, but it should be interesting.

Rina Mushonga

Rina Mushonga grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe, before relocating to Rotterdam. It’s a combination of influences that she explores on her second album, In a Galaxy, a record that reaches sumptuous, soulful heights on tracks such as “Narcisc0.” Another of the impressive phalanx of Dutch-based artists ready to descend upon Brighton, few will prise stronger emotional responses from their audiences than Mushonga, even amidst her dabbling with a myriad of post-dubstep forms of au courant electronica.

The Great Escape takes place from May 9 to 11 in Brighton, England.

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