Review: The Great Escape 2022 – A Showcase of Artistic Break-Through’s and Firm New Favourites.

An annual affair of community, debauchery, and spoon-fed-new-music-discovery, Brighton’s The Great Escape is a spiritual coming-of-age for music lovers and artist’s alike.

Returning for the first time in three years, Thursday was a hair-raising, ear-pounding, demonstration of creativity, queue-after-queue-after-queue, and endless avoidance of people we may know; as we all started as we meant to continue.

HighSchool – Photo: Cameron JL West

Their first set of many across the weekend, Aussie melancholic’s HighSchool, kicked off the festival with the rowdiest of ‘buzz’. Packing out a midday set at Komedia – a room as dark as Keith Richard’s under-eyes, siblings Rory and Lili Trobbiani meticulously showcased their rhythmically-narrative style of disjointed adolescence, and enigmatic freedom. Ubiquitously admired, drummer-less, and talented as fuck, if ever there was an opportunity to “get on this before they blow up and get huge”, HighSchool tick all the right boxes.

Whether it was the crooned escapism of Honeyglaze at The Paganini Ballroom, the Scottish power-combo of Medicine Cabinet and VLURE, or, the cowbell-ed anarchy of Fat Dog’s soon to be infamous, 2am set, Thursday was pretty damn eventful, for day one of three.

Medicine Cabinet – Photo: April Arabella
VLURE  – Photo: Cameron JL West

Friday’s highlights included local-legend’s Lime Garden, Working Mens Club’s Syd Minsky crawling, gurning, and wrecking synth-driven havoc, and NYC alt-darling’s Been Stellar.

A rare breed of cool, Been Stellar are the game-changing younger siblings of Brooklyn’s subcultural-elite. Like a cross between Kevin Shield’s inner-drone, and Portamento-era-The Drums, vocalist Sam Slocum is the protagonist spawn of pent up nonchalance, and consciously-placed-angst; the ideal ring-leader for a gang of day-dreamers, underdogs, and high-strung musicianship. Stand-out track ‘Kids 1995’, is an absolute must-watch.

Been Stellar – Photo: April Arabella
Working Mens CLub – Photo: Cameron JL West

Sydney’s The Lazy Eyes were another ‘one-to-watch’ that drew the 6Music lovers in their masses. With their signature blend of fuzzed-up, long-haired, unrestrained-joy, The Lazy Eyes were a mirage of psychedelic divinity, amongst the pebbled reality of Brighton’s beach-front.

Rounding the festival off with a literal bang, the true winner’s of Saturday’s grand-finale, was London based, narrative-noise-newcomers Butch Kassidy. A banded wall of sound so inhumanely scoped, it’s neither familiar, nor unidentifiable, but all-together something sonically-subterranean, Butch Kassidy blew the minds of anyone who dared get in line for their alt-escape’d demonstration, of instrumental-plight. A total game-changer, in the world of lyric-less lawlessness.

The Lazy Eyes – Photo: April Arabella

All in all, The Great Escape 2022 was a showcase of artistic break-through’s, and firm new favourites. If this year’s anything to go by, things are only going to keep getting interesting.

Header Photo: Lime Garden by April Arabella.

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