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A preview piece written ahead of The Great Escape festival for Beach Tomato that not only takes a look at the bands to watch, but the best seafront venues to watch them in.  

Ah, Brighton. Land of pebble beaches, iconic piers, the pink pound and kitsch boutique hotels. We love it. And what better excuse to mosey on down than this weekend’s The Great Escape Festival? Beginning as this country’s answer to the dustbowl new-music showcase of SXSW, in Austin, Texas, TGE has taken on a life of its own and grown to epic proportions. Hordes of bands and fans descend from across the globe to get a slice of the musical pie in this multi-venue, three-day fest. There are gig sites dotted all over town, but, call us biased, Beach is clearly Best. During the daytime, we’ll drift with the crowds down Marine Parade and the atmospheric Kings Road Arches, between the seafront haunts of Life, Digital and Coalition. While we’re happy to sink cider on the pebbles, for true Miami-in-England vibes, you’ll find us popping over to Above Audio, checking out the sea view and their afternoon music programme over a fine array of cocktails. Make ours a very dirty Martini.

So who to watch?
As a showcase festival, the endless list of names on this line-up can seem impenetrable. Highlight the following to strike audio gold…

Cloud Control
Magical things have been happening in Australia’s music scene for quite some time now, and the first antipodean act on our list is Cloud Control. Fresh from winning the Aussie equivalent of the Mercury Awards, they blend beautiful vocal harmonies and widescreen folk-psychedelic to spellbinding effect.

The Jezabels
Meanwhile, The Jezabels are an Ozzie boy-girl quartet who marry driving drumbeats with twangy indie guitars, hammering pianos and a lead singer who sounds like Kate Bush. Fantastic.

The nostalgic, sun-drenched shoegaze sound of Yuck with their distorted guitars takes us back to the early 90s and the bands that populated that time, like Sonic Youth. Ones not to miss.

Beat Connection
If there’s one act that conjures up images of a more exotic atmosphere, it’s Seattle-based duo Beat Connection with their distinctive synth/beat blends. They called their recent EP ‘Surf Noir’ – how very apt.

For light relief Beardyman’s live beatboxing extravaganza is always sure to deliver.

Anna Calvi
Closer to home, our mistress of the night, Anna Calvi, will be impressing with her goth-style guitar virtuosity.

Factory Floor
And for those who don’t mind experiencing a musical slap in the face, then cooler-than-thou Factory Floor, a stylish post-punk trio with booming sinister synth sounds and a kraut-rock influence, are just the ticket. They offer a live experience like no other, and just so happen to be closing the weekend.

For ticket info see The Great Escape. See you at the (beach) front.

To see the full article on Beach Tomato, click here