IT’S AN odd sensation, to find yourself in what would normally be a venue to be visited late at night after a few too many drinks, but any feelings of uncertainty on visiting Chalk in the afternoon soon disappeared when Sarpa Salpa settled us in for the first day of The Great Escape.

Perhaps just as unexpected was that the place was absolutely packed, and it would seem with just cause, as the shows don’t come much tighter than this.

Swirling pop guitar hooks and bassline grooves to make any funk band quake put Sarpa Salpa firmly in the upper echelons of live performances, though frontman Marcus Marooth’s relentless reminders that their music is “available on Spotify” wore thin early on. Thank goodness bass player Meg Amirghiasvand was on hand with a few witty remarks to bring it all back down to earth.

Filing out on to the street post-gig, there was a buzz about the city I’ve not experienced in four years of living here – a sea of yellow Great Escape lanyards splitting off in various directions, eager to get to the next venue.

The Argus: Sarpa Salpa at ChalkSarpa Salpa at Chalk

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the beauty of a festival held in a city soon became clear. Pubs are readily on hand, meaning a quick pint doesn’t come with a half hour queue, a £7 price tag and a plastic cup, as is usually the way with the traditional festival set-up.

By the evening, Brighton was electric, the sort of atmosphere only comparable to when England was in the final of the Euros last year. Everyone was having it.

The next choice of band was clear – Let’s Eat Grandma at The Old Market.

Rather awkwardly, I’d never been to The Old Market before and found what is easily one of the most beautiful spaces in Brighton. Totally perfect for artists like Let’s eat Grandma, a mad pop duo -chilled yet funky, with psychedelic riffs aplenty.

Fronted by Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton, the pair break away from their positions frequently for an animated performance, which adds further still to the feeling that they really aren’t bothered who’s watching or to how many people they’re playing – they’re just there for the sheer love of it.

The Argus: The Great EscapeThe Great Escape

This was happy, hippie pop music at its best. An evening of honest, good, danceable pop music.

It was time for post-punk’s newest arrivals: Yard Act.

The Leeds quartet have dominated proceedings recently, and with good reason, too. Quite simply they’re the best band on the planet today. They’ve got the whole package – witty, satirist lyrics poking fun at British culture, guitar unlike anything I’ve heard in recent years, and a clear love for one another that translates beautifully on stage.

Tearing through their catalogue of hits, Yard Act are a class act. And they’re genuinely very humble people. I bumped into guitarist Sam Shipman earlier in the day, who was only too happy to chat.

Gig wise however, they were on fire. Teens getting stuck in down the front while old school punks remained dotted round the edge of the room bobbing their heads.

Great news for those who missed them playing last night too, as they’re on again this evening for what will, I’m sure, be another half hour of chaos.