The Great Escape kicks off on Thursday, with gigs across all genres taking place in a number of venues across Brighton and Hove. With so much to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. Let The Guide point you in the direction of some must-see acts.


The Old Market, Thursday, 10pm, Brighton Dome, Saturday, 7.45pm

This exciting South London rapper’s profile has risen in an extremely short space of time – to the extent that she is headlining the Dome. Her honest lyrics and soulful voice have been touching audiences. “I feel proud when my music connects with people,” she said. Listen to: My Hood ft Stormzy.

Drones Club

Green Door Store, Saturday, 11.15pm

The throbbing, epic sound of this masked collective threatened to tear the pier from its foundations at last year’s TGE, so this year’s performance is a must-see. The Suffolk group make propulsive electronic music that packs a punch. Listen to: Shining Path.

Goat Girl

Paganini Ballroom, Thursday, 7.15pm

This all-female four-piece specialise in indie rock that is by turns breezy and poignant. Their angular riffs recall surf-rock bands of the 1960s and the buzz around them was enough for esteemed record label Rough Trade to sign them up. Listen to: Country Sleaze.

Alex Cameron

Komedia, Thursday, 10.15pm

The Australian songwriter writes quirky and sometimes dark character stories to a backdrop of synth and drum machine. His bizarre, swivel-kneed dance moves are quite something to behold, too. Listen to: Take Care of Business.

Steflon Don

Wagner Hall, Saturday, 11.30pm

The Clapton rapper, real name Stephanie Allen, has captured the imagination of the music scene with her wicked wordplay. The bilingual mother of one, who describes herself simply as the “girl with the blue hair”, is an intriguing proposition. Listen to: Real Ting.

Abattoir Blues

Horatio’s Bar, Friday, 7.15pm, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Saturday, 8.45pm

Although this Brighton band are named after a Nick Cave album, they’ve more in common with American grunge bands like Mudhoney. Singer Harry Waugh often sounds – and looks – possessed, and the group are sure to transfix their Great Escape audience. Listen to: Tell Me


The Haunt, Friday, 8.30pm, The Prince Albert, Saturday, 11.30pm

If you thought modern alternative music lacked edge, you need to see HMLTD. Their multi-faceted sound encompasses twisted guitar lines, dubstep drops and Henry Spychalski’s demented vocal. A genuinely unique collective. Listen to: To The Door

Kojey Radical

Queens Hotel, Friday, 2.15pm

The rapper tackles themes of class and race with a sonorous vocal. Listen to: Gallons.

Rat Boy

Wagner Hall, Friday, 12pm

At one of Rat Boy’s gigs recently, the venue had to be shut down after the audience became too racuous. If the singer can have that effect on a group of people, he’s got to be worth seeing. He was also once fired from a Wetherspoons kitchen for being “hopeless”. Not that that has anything to do with anything.


Prince Albert, Friday, 10.30pm, Saturday, 9.30pm

Described as “one of the UK’s most exciting new bands, Inheaven fuse elements of both American and British 90s music, from Britpop to grunge. They’ve already built up a loyal fanbase. 


Horatio’s, Thursday, 8.45pm, The Haunt, Friday, 9.30pm

This five-piece are post-punk’s next big hope, with visceral, snarling music and socially aware lyrics. If you pine for a time when Cabaret Voltaire and The Fall were at their peak, give them a go.

Dream Wife

Wagner Hall, Friday, 11pm, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Saturday, 9.30pm

The three-piece take equal influence from the Spice Girls and Riot Grrrl in a sound that is both playful and aggressive. The trio formed in an art school in Brighton, but Dream Wife was initially a performance art piece. It’s since been fleshed out to be a proper band, characterised by Icelandic singer Rakel Mjoll’s energetic stage presence. 


The Old Market, Friday, 10.15pm

The London rapper plays the third of the festival’s “Spotlight” shows – the others are Slaves and Rag ’n’ Bone Man, so he’s in good company. His latest album, Mad in the Manor, is a love letter to his East End roots.

A Wall is a Screen

Palace Pier, Thursday, from 9.30pm

Part city tour, part film night, this event offers an alternative to the music as participants walk through the city and watch projections of short films on walls. Meet at the pier and the tour will commence from there.