Taking a trip out of London is daunting; do they take Oyster? What about Wi-Fi, do they have it? Luckily heading to Brighton for The Great Escape, Britain’s South By South West, is pretty much travelling to a high numbered zone.
They do call it London by the sea after all. Indeed, a train ticket was £3.30, cheaper than a single paper tube ticket, and as so many make the journey each day for work it's only right to join in. Besides, the line-up for this year’s Great Escape is unmissable: over 300 hundred acts, from buzz bands to legends playing across more than 20 venues. It's Camden Crawl in overdrive.
Among the hotly tipped acts are flavours of the moment, Grimes, Niki and the Dove and Friends, as well as indie stalwarts Mystery jets and Maximo Park. But it’s the smaller bands in back rooms which make The Great Escape so special, and many are filled with London’s finest, including many of our ones to watch. So let us guide you to the five must see London acts appearing this weekend while nursing a cider.
With woozy psychedelic guitars which transport you to the Californian coast in 1967 while still wearing a decidedly indiepop anorak. While they're certainly in the school of Teenage Fanclub, and REM before them, they still encapsulate the vibrancy of modern angular indie. There’s a David Lynch darkness hidden behind their breezy melodies which makes for an enthralling live experience.
2012 is the year electro-pop really came into its own, no longer demanding comparisons with the analogue bleeds of the 80s. I Ching produce a synth pop which is truly modern and refreshing by using keyboards and magical wires to unlock the secrets of great pop. Debut single Drive has a wall of sound feel, with every part oozing with symphonic swoons.
Rarely does a band create such a buzz after so few gigs, but Savages are such an exciting prospect it’s impossible not to explode in euphoria listening to their music. Having seen them at the 1234 Shoreditch launch, we can confirm the hype is deserved. Their nu-noir is like a Siouxsie Sioux fronted Joy Division yet they are able to sound incredibly now. These will be your new favourite band.
It’s a make or break year for the lads from Eel Pie Island. They’ve always been balancing between hipster chic and breakthrough acclaim, with singles Two Doors Down and Alas Agnes appealing to all. New album Radlands is a different affair; recorded in Austin, it’s filled with AOR trucker anthems which encapsulate a dusty south. It could just be the album to make them megastars.
Lianne La Havas
It’s been a spectacular year so far for our One to Watch. She’s mesmerised us at the Borderline and Alexandra Palace, and played at BBC 6 Music’s tenth birthday. Forget is arguably one of the singles of the year with an Amazonian chant and subtle funk drive which is danceable – both in a club and smoochy slow. La Havas is a remarkable star
The Great Escape takes place in Brighton 10-12 May.