Brighton is now fully under the Great Escape spell after the first full day of music began yesterday.

Things started slowly thanks to the dreary weather but as the skies cleared the festival atmosphere we had a taste of on Wednesday night was kicked up a notch.

Fresh from supporting indie star Marika Hackman on her UK tour, singer songwriter Gia Ford’s seamless blend of strong vocals and moving lyrics started the day well.

She commanded the attention of a packed out Chalk with her timeless sound.

The Argus: Gia Ford commanded the attention of the audience with her timeless soundGia Ford commanded the attention of the audience with her timeless sound (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

Leah Kate felt like something of a wild card for The Great Escape as she is already her own headline tour in Europe.

The Los Angeles native was a hit with the crowd who appeared to know most of her setlist word for word - she got them jumping up and down to the beat.

For us, though, her set downstairs at Patterns was a reminder that catchy TikTok-viral hits don’t always have the same effect when played live.

The Argus: Leah Kate had the crowd jumping - maybe we just didn't get itLeah Kate had the crowd jumping - maybe we just didn't get it (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

By stark contrast, Kenya Grace, also of TikTok fame, wowed us with her set at the recently opened Players bar on the seafront.

At the site that was Coalition, the bar has been refurbished and the stage was cleverly positioned in the centre of arches, making for an intimate feel at what was essentially a nightclub full to the rafters.

Kenya's set was paired with projected graphics behind her which were clever, if at times a little distracting.

The Argus: Kenya Grace is a master of the sample padKenya Grace is a master of the sample pad (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

The South-African born Brit mastered the sample pad and her set was a joy.

Her catchy pop vocals paired with hypnotising drum and bass kept the audience hooked for the whole 30 minutes. She didn’t stop, either singing or showing off her tricks on the pad, and her set had a studio-level sound. One to watch – or keep watching - for sure.

Bolis Pupul at the Hope and Ruin certainly got the joint jumping. Careful preparation led to excellent execution of a hypnotic European electronica set - think Kraftwerk - with some distinctly Far Eastern embellishments. There was perhaps a little trill of K Pop in there somewhere, too.

The Argus: Begonia at the Hope and RuinBegonia at the Hope and Ruin (Image: NQ Staff)

Popul channelled his mixed Belgian-Chinese heritage with aplomb, delivering cool sounds with warmth.

We rounded off the night catching Begonia, a Canadian alt Diva, also at the Hope and Ruin. Her strong voice and striking lyrics embodied the versatility of The Great Escape.

  • Our coverage of day three will be live tomorrow.