The Great Escape takes place in Brighton from May 8-10. NME Radar will be reporting on the best new bands daily.
You know someone's booking the right bands here when the first act on - at the decidedly un-rock'n'roll time of 7pm - pack a room so tightly that door staff are forced to start a one-in-one-out queue outside (in the rain) that features various festival owners, Radio 1 DJs and NME bredrin.
But that's what happened when Dracula Legs played The Hope last night. Luckily, I managed to sneak in for the last half of their set, and I'm glad I managed it. I've been playing Protomartyr's album loads recently, the latest alternative Yank band to kill it in a long line that also features Milk Music, Merchandise, Parquet Courts and White Lung. It bugs me that the American's are doing DIY indie so much better than us Brits in all honesty, so it's great to see a UK-based band who might - it's early days for them yet - buck that trend. Frontman Artur looks like he was born to be onstage and at one point during their set, when he jumped in the audience and nearly took half of them out, I thought he was gonna end up either being mobbed or starting a mass brawl. Either one a good sign really.
From there I caught the end of The Districts set for NME at The Haunt - I'd seen them at SXSW a few times and was sure they'd kill it in the UK, now I'm totally convinced - before hotfooting it to Blind Tiger to catch Solids and The Bohicas. The latter cancelled (illness) but Solids were great: the loudest band so far by quite some way.
Following that were the altogether more serene Woman's Hour at Coalition. Seems weird that this lot have been going so long - I think we blogged about them back in 2011, maybe earlier - but when you see them live it all slots into place: a little bit of The xx, a little bit Elizabeth Fraser, kinda similar to FKA Twigs if she was raised on Jeff Buckley. You get the picture.
The dumbly-named-but-actually-really-cool Latest Music Bar had perhaps Brighton's hottest new band The Magic Gang (pictured above) playing a late night set, and they'd filled the place with their mates. Cue much crowd surfing/audience snogging/mock fighting which saw band and crowd merge as one sweaty drunken mass. Great fun.
Today it's looking like Hate Hate Hate's showcase is the place to be (I want to catch Sun Machine, Bad Breeding and Demob Happy there, among others) as well as Radar's own night at The Haunt. We're announcing our secret guest for that later on - don't miss them! - but full set times for it are:
01:30am: Fat White Family
12:30am: SECRET SHOW TBA
11:30pm: Public Access TV
8:30pm: East India Youth
7:45pm: Hawk House
Listen to all the acts playing our stage here: