The Vaccines play secret midnight set to close day two of The Great Escape

Day Two also brought performances from Alabama Shakes, Drenge, The Garden and Ratboy

The Vaccines played a secret set at The Haunt last night (May 15), closing day two of Brighton festival The Great Escape.

Headlining the NME Radar stage with a show that was announced as a surprise hours before, the band took to the stage just after 12am to a capacity crowd that saw queues stretching down the road to gain access.

After kicking off with second album single ‘Teenage Icon’ and debut single ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, singer Justin Young addressed the crowd for the first time, jokingly asking if they were feeling sleepy before introducing recently released offering ‘Dream Lover’. The crowd were active throughout, surging to the front for old favourite ‘Wetsuit’, while ‘Want You So Bad’ – taken from forthcoming third LP ‘English Graffiti’ – was preceded with Young stating that the band were “going to spoil [the crowd]” with a new song.

A selection of old tracks including ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ and EP track ‘Melody Calling’ followed before recent single ‘Handsome’ and new offering ’20/20′, while the band closed with a rousing ‘Norgaard’ which saw guitarist Freddie Cowan smashing his guitar into pieces at the climax.

The Vaccines played:

‘Teenage Icon’
‘Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’
‘Ghost Town’
‘Dream Lover’
‘Wetsuit’
‘Want You So Bad’
‘Bad Mood’
‘Post Break-Up Sex’
‘Melody Calling’
‘Handsome’
‘Wolf Pack’
’20/20′
‘Blow It Up’
‘I Always Knew’
‘If You Wanna’
‘Norgaard’

Earlier in the night the venue hosted a selection of NME Radar favourites including Rat Boy and The Big Moon.

Essex-based Rat Boy aka Jordan Cardy played a packed out set just before The Vaccines, tearing through tracks including ‘Sign On’ and ‘Sportswear’ backed by a full band. London quartet The Big Moon, meanwhile, overcame technical difficulties that stopped their set for several minutes to complete a 30-minute slot that was well received by the crowd. Playing tracks including ‘Eureka Moment’ and ‘The Road’, they then closed with current single ‘Sucker’.

California punk twins The Garden opened the stage at the start of the night, while the rest of the line up featured Icelandic punks Yung, US psych trio Wand and America indie rock group Bully.

Elsewhere at the festival Alabama Shakes played a devastating 90-minute set that zipwired from downbeat blues ballads to classic rock breakdowns and redemptive Memphis soul as they headlined the sold out Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Accompanied by three backup singers the 6-piece live band from Athens, Alabama played an illustrious set of songs from debut album ‘Boys & Girls’ and new release ‘Sound & Colour’ – the latter just three months young.

Despite the crowded stage, front-person Brittany Howard was a commanding presence, delivering a showcase of nimble guitar fretwork, impassioned facial expressions and beseeching roars that thundered right to the back of the packed balcony seats. The band closed with an extended cut of ‘Boys & Girls’ favourite ‘You Ain’t Alone’, its showy guitar stutters evoking James Brown’s ‘I Don’t Mind’.

Later on, at basement club Patterns, Drenge followed the riotous Ho99o9 with a sweat-drenched secret set. Now a three-piece, the Loveless brothers and new bassist Rob Graham have beefed-out their plainspoken grunge, and singer Eoin Loveless belted out the band’s songs with conviction. With hefty tunes evoking early Nirvana, the group got fans moshing before songs including ‘We Can Do What We Want’, ‘Fuckabout’ and drawn-out closer ‘Let’s Pretend’ gave fans a last opportunity to scream their lungs out.

The Great Escape continues today (May 16) with performances from Gengahr, Slaves, Swim Deep and Shamir. Meanwhile, The Maccabees will play the NME Stage at Corn Exchange. Entry to the show begins at 11pm and will be open to those with festival wristbands.

Stage times for NME at The Great Escape 2015 can be seen below:

NME Radar at The Haunt – Saturday (May 16)

Yak (7.15pm)
Heat (8pm)
Shamir (8.45pm)
Gengahr (9.45pm)

NME stage at Dome – Corn Exchange – Saturday (May 16)

Bad Breeding (6pm)
Girl Band (6.45pm)
Slaves (7.30pm)
Swim Deep (8.15pm)
The Maccabees (12 midnight)

NME Radar’s Matt Wilkinson has recommended which acts to catch at the festival and those that everyone will be talking about afterwards, including Tobias Jesso Jr, The Magic Gang, Novelist and Georgia. Read the full list here.

Former Jam frontman Paul Weller will play a free secret gig at the festival on Saturday (May 16), with the venue to be announced.