The Cribs, These New Puritans, Avi Buffalo play day one of The Great Escape

Plus Pulled Apart By Horses, Wilder and Darwin Deez also perform at the Brighton bash

The Cribs played a triumphant set to a full capacity crowd at Brighton’s Corn Exchange venue to round off day one of The Great Escape last night (May 13), despite bassist Gary Jarman suggesting that the band were out of tune for the gig.

Opening with old favourite ‘Hey Scenesters!’, the Wakefield band – joined by current member Johnny Marr – tore through an hour-long set on the NME-curated stage that mostly took in tracks from recent LP ‘Ignore The Ignorant’. Highlights included a riotous run-through of first album classic ‘Direction’ and singles ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘Cheat On Me’.

Gary Jarman cemented the lighthearted mood of the night by joking, “We’re really out of tune” before launching into ‘Another Number’, while the band closed with an atmospheric singalong version of ‘City Of Bugs’.

Earlier in the day, a 20-strong Gaggle kicked off proceedings at Concorde 2, clad in neon face paint and matching custom- made outfits, while ex-Cajun Dance Party members Yuck played to an impressively packed Corn Exchange, with single ‘Georgia’ proving the highlight.

At Levis Audio, These New Puritans headlined to a capacity crowd, opening with an alternate version of ‘We Want War’. The four-piece played a short set that included single ‘Attack Music’ and ‘Infinity Ytinifni’ – prior to their show, the band’s Jack Barnett spoke to NME.COM about their impending gig, admitting that they had specially reworked segments of their back catalogue for the Brighton audience.

“We’re playing with two bass clarinettists,” he explained, adding: “It’s the first time we’ve done it in England. I’ve actually re-written the album around them.”

Earlier in the evening, NME Radar-tipped Bristolians Wilder played a seven-song set to a hushed but humbled crowd at the Prince Albert pub, showcasing their unique version of British emo to the appreciative audience, who seemed to be enthralled by their energetic and intense set. Over at the Concorde 2 venue, Pulled Apart By Horses were in jubilant mood throughout their gig. The band joked with the audience on numerous occasions and at one stage even brought their roadie out to show off his dance moves. The Leeds band played tracks from their recently released eponymous debut album including ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ and ‘Yeah Buddy’.

US four-piece Avi Buffalo also played a well-received set at NME‘s sister-title Uncut‘s curated night at the Pavilion Theatre, performing tracks including ‘Truth Sets In’ and ‘What’s It In For’.

At the nearby Corn Exchange venue, Surfer Blood drew a massive crowd for their NME-curated gig, and frontman JP Pitts was in a jokey mood throughout. At one point, the laid-back singer started talking about Westlife, by saying they would take requests to play a track by the boyband. Although that didn’t come to fruition, their own song ‘Swim (To Reach The End)’ garnered a massive singalong response.

Following Surfer Blood’s set, hotly-tipped Londoners Summer Camp took to the stage, with frontwoman Elizabeth Sankey wearing a two-piece leopard-skin outfit. While the band debuted a host of unreleased songs, the most impressive reaction came when they played recent single and standout track ‘Ghost Town’, which saw Sankey‘s bandmate Jeremy Warmsley stabbing his guitar and undertaking spoken-word backing vocals.

Over at the Horatio’s venue on Brighton Pier, NME Radar hosted its first ever stage at The Great Escape. Inaugurating were new Parisian band Jamaica, who came onstage to 10cc‘s ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ and soon had the throng jostling into an early frenzy. Fresh from the NME Radar Tour, Darwin Deez‘s mid-bill set saw him showcase his exuberant charms before Los AngelesActive Child (Pat Grossi) stepped up next, wooing the crowd by working his way around a full-size harp for the entire set. Finally, NME Radar favourites Cold Cave played the headline slot at the venue, with their poppy, electro incantations going down a storm with the amassed crowd.

NME.COM is coming live from The Great Escape throughout the festival. Keep checking back for the latest news.

Uncut blog – Avi Buffalo and Summer Camp live at the Great Escape.