Courtney Barnett, Childhood and Honeyblood kick off day one of The Great Escape

Circa Waves, Example and Lizzo also played the first day of the event

Brighton’s annual new music festival The Great Escape kicked off yesterday (April 8), with artists including Childhood, Honeyblood and Courtney Barnett all playing the opening day of the event.

Courtney Barnett (pictured below right) played an afternoon gig at Komedia. The Melbourne based singer-songwriter played a 30-minute solo set with electric guitar accompaniment on songs ‘Out Of The Woodwork’, ‘Avant Gardner’, ‘History Eraser’ and ‘For Preston’, which she introduced as being a song about “mortgages and mortality”. The latter track drew laughs from the packed out crowd for its deadpan lyrics. Barnett also played NME’s showcase at The Haunt later on in the day.

Recent NME Awards tour band Circa Waves also played a packed set at seafront venue Concorde 2, filling the space for their half-hour set with tracks including ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ and ‘Get Away’. They also played the B-side to their next single, ‘100 Strangers’ before a finale of ‘Good For Me’.

Glaswegian duo Honeyblood (pictured above) – made up of Stina Tweeddale and ShonaMcVicar – played to a busy Bermuda Triangle, airing tracks from their forthcoming, self-titled debut album, which is out July 14. The pair played a raucous version of single ‘Killer Bangs’ as well as ‘Chocker’ and the downbeat ‘(I’d Rather Be) Anywhere But Here’.

Lizzo played a high octane, late night set at the Brighthelm venue with accompaniment from her DJ, Sophia Eris. Opening her set with ‘Lizzie Borden’ from her ‘Lizzobangers’ LP, she yelled: “Y’all ready for some escapism?”, making she made the dancing crowd participate in call and response chants throughout, later playing her track ‘Paris’, which featured on the soundtrack to the last series of Girls.

Childhood, meanwhile, headlined the NME Radar stage at The Haunt – which also saw packed sets from Courtney Barnett, US newcomers The Districts and psych outfit Neon Waltz. The band played a short set comprising their recent singles alongside a couple of new offerings from their forthcoming debut album, which is being prepared for release at the end of the summer. Opening with debut ‘Blue Velvet’, they launched into new track ‘You Could Be Different’ and ‘Pinballs’. They finished the set with ‘Solemn Skies’, complete with an extended instrumental jam, before exiting.

East India Youth also played a packed, midnight set at The Green Door Store, while newcomers including Chloe Howl, TRAAMS and Wet also played during the course of the evening.

The Great Escape continues today (April 9), with headline sets from Wild Beasts, Fat White Family and Royal Blood. The festival will also play host to the likes of Telegram, Superfood, Darlia and These New Puritans while NME Radar at The Haunt will present a secret set at 12:30am.