A few weeks back, Hijacker Records went to the Great Escape Festival in Brighton along with 18,000 music fans and industry delegates for a weekend dubbed as the UK’s answer to SXSW in Austin. The Festival prides itself in breaking new artists, with over 400 acts across 35 venues in Brighton ranging from the Brighton Dome for headline performances, through to tiny pubs with a PA system and barely enough room for the band set aside in a corner.
Here are our pick of the acts we managed to be fortunate enough to see:
1) Jon Hopkins: Weaving an intricate web of pulsating electronica set against a huge screen showing the stunning visuals for “Open Eye Signal” and “Collider”, Jon Hopkins builds tracks from ambient slow-burners to a euphoric glow, this is intelligent dance music of the highest calibre.
2) MO: MO is Norse for Virgin, apparently. Leading the charge for Scandiavians at the Great Escape performing soulful electronica, their tracks are great, quite glitchy using elements of dubstep, and powerful vocals in the vein of Lykki Li or Santigold.
3) Claire: Something of a cross between M83 and the Naked and Famous, we had the pleasure of seeing Claire twice on the first day of TGE. Fusing synths with a live band dynamic and breathless vocals, their songs are evocative slices of electro-pop.
4) Tove Lo: Wearing her heart on her lace covered sleeve, Tove Lo uses song-writing as an exercise in catharsis, announcing “Habits (Stay High)” as another song about numbing the pain on stage. Excellent melancholic synth-pop, we had the pleasure of hanging out with the band as well.
5) Future Islands: Sam Herring, the lead singer of Future Islands, is not a front-man for staring wistfully at his shoes. Gyrating around the stage, pouring heart and soul into his performance, he is utterly captivating to watch. Their appearance on the Letterman show clearly spiked interest as the small venue they were booked for was overwhelmed with festival goers hoping for a glimpse of Herring at is enigmatic best.