Every year, seemingly the entire music industry and thousands of punters head down to the South Coast for an extended weekend in May to enjoy the bands on offer at the Great Escape. Tickets for the Brighton event proper have long since sold out, but we’ve always found the events at the Alternative Escape to be just as exciting – and free to boot! Over the years, gigs by the Xcerts, Stagecoach and Gnarwolves have become the stuff of legend – and they’ve all taken place in the same pub, the Pav Tav.
Yet again, Big Scary Monsters and Alcopop! have joined forces to create an event that is not to be missed on Friday 9 May in this conveniently central pub – and they’re starting with a bang! Self-proclaimed ‘Yelpcore puzzlepop’ specialists Oui Legionnaires will be opening the day, while Emperor Yes will bring synths and quirkiness to the Friday lunchtime crowd. Brawlers’ brand of power-pop was made for festivals and they’re likely to grab the audience by the balls from the very first minute/ Woahnows’ emo-tinged indie-punk also hints at a great live show that has to be seen before they are filling much larger venues.
Fight Like Apes have taken the special guest slot at 7pm and their traditionally chaotic performance is certain to start the evening’s proceedings with a vibrancy that will be hard to shake. Axes established themselves as festival favourites last year and their face-melting riffs seem just perfect to set up the final run of bands. TGE regulars Johnny Foreigner will once again be playing in the pub, while hotly tipped Jaws soaring shoegazey sound will close the day with a flourish… All that and we didn’t even mention the ENTIRE line-up!
On Saturday 10 May, our good friends at Fools Paradise and Bad Math will take over the Pav Tav with a mixture of riffs, indie anthems and acoustic-based singer songwriters all featuring. Sure to appeal to fans of JetPlane Landing and Manchester Orchestra, Midfield Workhorse will blow any hangovers away with their lunchtime performance. Following this up will be the sheer power of The New Tusk, while Wot Gorilla? will also be bringing math-rock riffs and nuances into the fold over teatime. There will be a rare solo performance by Ric from Tall Ships too – a real coup and a set that promises to be one of the best of the weekend.
When Spectral Nights started, our first ever post was about Menace Beach. Since then, the band has gone from strength to strength and it is a delight to finally get the chance to see them live – mixing darkly gothic, almost twisted fairy tale, atmospherics with a Mansun-esque sound, they promise to be loud and vivacious. Olympians are playing again and are always a must-see band, while the double bill of Sky Larkin and Tellison is also hard to beat.
The Great Escape is sure to be a great weekend, whoever you see, but our advice would be to stick to the Pav Tav as much as possible (other bands playing free Alternative Escape shows include The Xcerts and Spring Offensive, so there is always something worth seeing) – but just look at these bands and remember, as it’s worth repeating again, it’s FREE ENTRY both days!