Six Bands we Discovered at The Great Escape 2015 – and now you need to listen to them here…

With The Great Escape at an end, we’re looking back at the weekend of incredible performances by sharing with you our favourite discoveries of the event! Now, some of these names we’d heard before, but all of them were bands we witnessed live for the first time. And boy were we impressed… here now, counting down in order, are our top six discoveries of The Great Escape 2015 in Brighton, England:

6. Pins

Hailing from Manchester, this all girl five piece gave birth to their latest record Wild Nights (released through Bella Union on June 9th) in the Californian desert – and their music certainly feels right at home there. Bringing together elements from bands like The Black Angels, Queens of the Stone Age and so much of the best music of that type from the last decade or so, it’s great to see yet another band out there proving that the girls can rock it with the rest of them. But I hope you already knew that.

5. Arborist

Irish band Arborist were playing in the Spiegeltent when I stumbled across them; a six piece with an incredible sound, led by the beautiful vocals of Mark McCambridge. “The Broken Light” was a set highlight. They were the sort of band that stop you in your tracks – and once you’ve experienced them, you know you want more. I listened to some five tracks, and all of them blew me away.

4. Jack Garratt

Another artist to live up to the hype around town was Jack Garratt, a one man guitarist / electronic artist / drum machine. With an emotive voice, heavy bass and a world of live loops – this is not just a technically impressive performer, but he sounds great too. Fans of Chet Faker should definitely look him up if they haven’t already – though I would say he offers substantial more energy musically and in the live respect, the two are incomparable. There are few performers busier on stage than Garrett. Robert Delong being the only other that comes to mind…

3. Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves are a band worthy of the hype – which hasn’t seemed to have reached Australia yet, but certainly has landed here in the UK. It was like watching Jeff Buckley leading a rock band, with incredible vocals from Conor Mason and huge energy from the first note. The Essex four piece are tight they know when to get cocky with their guitars (in a Muse sort of way) and when to hold back, they know when to let Conor shine and when to bring it all together and they know how to write a song. I was floored by this band. Make sure you check them out.

2. Slaves

I ended my festival witnessing one of the most talked about bands of the event, Slaves (not to be confused with the Jonny Craig project of the same name). This two piece deliver classic UK punk with HUGE energy, hilarious banter and were easily the most entertaining band I’d see all weekend. A spectacular note to end it on, with tracks like “Cheer Up London” and “Where’s Your Car Debbie?” proving particularly fun on the VEVO stage, and “Feed The Mantaray” seeing a Manatray crowd surf (see picture above) – before the band joined in themselves. It was so much fun that I want to experience it all over again.

1. Girl Band

Easily the most original band at the festival – and my favourite discovery of the weekend – were Girl Band, hailing from Dublin. The group had substantial buzz about them on the festival and packed the NME party at the massive Corn Exchange to capacity. It seems they already have a pretty solid following, too, with plenty in the room singing along. From the minute they took the stage, you were hearing interesting arrangements with a unique vocal approach. At once their music is layered, at another minimalist – at times it even borders on noise rock, as the guitar pushes loud and proud, while their drummer impressed behind it. “Lawman” was a highlight of the set. Possibly the most interesting band to burst into the rock scene since Future Islands or even going back as far as Sleigh Bells. Definitely keep your eyes on them.

Stay tuned to the AU for more exclusive coverage from The Great Escape 2015!

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.