From Aldous to Dean: The 8 Best Performances at The UK’s Great Escape

Now the dust has finally settled on The Great Escape for another year and a flight back to Australia beckons, I’ve been loading up my flight playlist and have come to land on my top eight artists from my time out in Brighton. Of course, there were some shining artists I’d known about prior, while some were completely new to me so…winner, winner.

If you are in need of some new additions, check these ones out and try their music on for size.


To me, The Great Escape belonged both to Aldous and Sampa The Great. Hands down. There obviously were other stand out artists – as you’ll read about below – but between these two artists I hadn’t found myself so struck by live performances by anyone else during that weekend.

Stood less than five feet away from Harding as she performed cuts from her new album Party on the Friday afternoon, my whole being felt uncomfortable and enraptured at the same time. She would eyeball you as she would sing and you wouldn’t be able to look anywhere else. You could hear a pin drop in the church and once she had finished performing, Aldous left the crowd with all their oxygen seemingly filled back into their lungs and hollering for more.

For a more recent example, check out Aldous on Later…with Jools Holland.


She’s an insightful poet, a powerful rapper and when she took to the stage at the Sallis Benney Theatre, Sampa The Great had the room heaving by the end of the set. Treating the show as if it was her own headline, Sampa weaved her way through without missing a beat or seemingly taking a breath.

Obviously, Sampa’s profile and artistic credibility is pretty much unshakeable back home but to see her flourish internationally in an environment such as The Great Escape, was an experience that was special to be a part of.


Anteros played The Great Escape last year and in the months that would follow, the British group have only continued to gather steam. They’re festival favourites and have enjoyed time out on the road with the likes of White Lies, exposing the band to a large variety of stages and crowds.

Returning to Brighton this year, the group demonstrated just how much they’ve grown since their last venture out here as showcasing artists and the response to them and their Drunk EP was huge.


They have been positioned by blogs, the BBC and other online music tastemakers as one of 2017’s best emerging bands and in the lead up to The Great Escape, I knew Cabbage would be high on my list of bands to see. They play with ferocity and an unbridled passion; for a band this fresh, the potential displayed here was very, very promising.


I came across Kane at Friday’s New Zealand showcase and had known nothing about him prior to The Great Escape. There are licks of Interpol, Ariel Pink and Tame Impala strewn throughout his music, as well as some glorious 60’s rock influences that are delivered recklessly well. He was also a featured artist at SXSW this year so it’s not a real  surprise that Kane’s a name of the moment but man, is the hype worth it.


My first introduction to Dean was at The Great Escape; the Sydneysider having enjoyed much success at home with his single “Waves” and more recently, “Need You Now”. His voice captivates and though it’s still his first foray into international touring, it was made clear early on that Dean   is very much on the precipice of stardom.

You only needed to look at the intricacies of his stage presence to garner a vibe – the girls in the front row would be completely entranced with each look up from the keyboard or each moment of funny banter Dean would relate. The musician knows how to command presence and it’s going to be interesting to see how this presence only continues to grow.


Definitely a buzz band of The Great Escape and indeed, 2017, The Big Moon had been making their way further onto our radar a few months before we headed out to the UK. The group is a formidable live band with the abilities to continue to level up. Their music was catchy in a live environment and as a band, The Big Moon delivered everything that hooked us in an entertained on record so far.


Easily one of Australia’s most underrated songwriters and performers, Sarah Belkner possesses a vocal quality that has had me hooked for a long time now. She was out in Brighton performing both solo and as part of Olympia‘s band and each time we were able to see her play on her own, Belkner held the crowd in the palm of her hand.

Other artists worth keeping an eye out for include FlamingodsJoe FoxFlyte, Gurr and Be CharlotteEach from a vastly different musical background, these artists were some I’d not heard of previously but had already made an impression on many out at The Great Escape. Definitely ones to watch.



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