As we slowly but surely head towards summer, the festival season opens down on the south coast with the Great Escape. An industry showcase which finds bands from all across the world playing in a series of venues across Brighton, many of which don’t normally play host to live music, it’s known as Europe’s answer to SXSW and many bands have been signed and gone on to bigger things after performances here. This year, here at Spectral Nights we have decided to stick to the free events that make up the Alternative Escape. And when you see the line-up of bands that will be playing over two days at the Pav Tav, you’ll know why.
Friday 17 May finds the annual Alcopop! Records and Big Scary Monsters takeover of the Pav Tav. Anyone who has attended one of these days in previous years will know it is a must-see event. It’s basically one huge party which builds in momentum as band after band (and the occasional special guest) from both label’s rosters perform until late into the night. By the time the headliner comes on, the place is completely filled and everyone is buzzing after 10 hours’ worth of incredible music and, for many, solid drinking throughout this time too… The Xcerts provided one of the most memorable sets we’ve ever seen two years ago that has now gone down in festival folklore, while Tall Ships also played a storming set when they closed the day last year.
For 2013, Fight Like Apes are the band most likely to capture this barnstorming, riotous atmosphere with their slot just after midnight, but there’s plenty throughout the day to keep spirits up too. Stagecoach return once again to the Pav Tav and are sure to be in joyful mood, having celebrated the release of their much-awaited debut album, while Gunning For Tamar’s early evening show will also shock the pub’s normal post-work punters. Other acts to watch out for include Mr Alcopop! himself, Jack Clothier, opening the day with his Jurassic Pop project, My First Tooth’s glorious folk-tinged pop, the singalong delights of Tellison and then Johnny Foreigner’s late, late show. It doesn’t end there, music lasts throughout the night with Oxygen Thief taking to the stage at 3.45am!
It’s likely there will be a few weary heads hanging around the same venue the next day when it is Fools Paradise and Bad Math’s turn to showcase some of the finest bands around. Luckily for those with hangovers, the day will open with some quieter sounds from the likes of The Strong Silent Type (Michael Williams from Jumping Ships’ new solo project, of which you can download a new song here) and Stephen from Tellison. As the afternoon breezes into the evening, there’s a tasty looking triple bill of Olympians, Our Lost Infantry and Hold Your Horse Is. Perfectly flowing from one band to the next, each of these have released new material in the last year that needs to be seen live. There’s then a convenient break for dinner (it’s worth noting we saw Nick Cave buy his whole family a Harry Ramsden’s last year…) before the rock continues with the likes of math-rock specialists Wot Gorilla?, the skewed new-wave pop of We Are the Physics and the zeal and fervour of Layers.
Listen to a Spotify playlist for the event here.
Both of these events are completely free, so we seriously urge anyone near Brighton to come along. Everyone involved throughout both days deserves your support.