Seven Bands You Need To See at The Great Escape

The Great Escape festival has carved out a reputation as the UK's answer to America's SXSW festival, serving to showcase some of the world's best new bands. Here's our picks of the bands you really, really should take time to check out.


Where: Corn Exchange

When: Friday, 11pm

No UK rock band currently has a bigger buzz than Brighton’s Royal Blood. The only rock band to feature in the BBC’s Sound Of 2014 music industry poll, the duo make an impossibly big noise for a two-piece, and combine the sexy swagger of QOTSA, the anthemic qualities of Muse and the stripped-down punch of The White Stripes. The fact that their single Little Monster has been the best selling rock/metal song in the UK for the past month suggests that they’ll be outgrowing venues this size very, very soon.


Where: Prince Albert

When: Friday, 11pm

Recently relocated to London from Australia, Melbourne trio Calling All Cars have yet to release a record in the UK, but come with a glowing CV: tours with AC/DC, Green Day, Biffy Clyro and QOTSA have made them one of the most talked-about new bands Down Under. A sleek, modern rock band pitched somewhere between Muse, Biffy Clyro and Arctic Monkeys, they will release their third album Raise The People this summer on Cooking Vinyl, home of The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson and The Pretty Reckless.


Where: The East Wing / The Warren

When: Saturday 2:15pm / 11:15pm

Once upon a time Twin Atlantic were written off as Biffy Clyro Jr: those days are long gone. One of the UK’s brightest and best alternative rock bands, the Glasgow quartet’s forthcoming Great Divide album is stuffed full of powerful, emotive, widescreen rock songs which already sound like festival headline set encores. Oh, and frontman Sam McTrusty is a born star.


Where: Dome Studio

When: Saturday 2:30pm

Last seen in the UK supporting The Wildhearts, the Finns are already stars in their native land, and give every indication of repeating that success across Europe. Spinning classic rock, metal, prog and psychedelic rock influences into stirring, soaring songs of love and loss, they’re as fine as live band as you could wish to see.


Where: Brighton Coalition

When: Saturday 6:45pm

Recently signed to major label Virgin EMI, Kent duo Slaves are a gloriously scrappy, snotty punk rock band with biting, sardonic lyrics and riffs thicker and angrier than a UKIP voter. Think Gallows-meets-Killing Joke-meets-The Stooges and then stand well back.


Where: Bermuda Triangle

When: Saturday 10pm

Having recently graduated from the Gallows-curated Venn Records to Roadrunner, big things are expected from this feisty, ferocious Yorkshire quintet in 2014. Fronted by the captivating, charismatic Becca Macintyre, whose brothers Sam and Josh are the band’s guitarist and drummer, respectively – the ‘Zets, as they’re known to no-one yet, are influenced by the Dillinger Escape Plan, The Mars Volta and the UK underground hardcore scene, and sound suspiciously like the future.


Where: Brighton Coalition

When: Saturday 9pm

As fierce and fearless as fellow Canadians Fucked Up, White Lung are a snarling, biting, shit-kicking two girl/one boy trio from Vancouver, with two albums and a host of vicious-sounding seven inch singles under their belts. Newly signed to Domino records, who’ll release their third album Deep Fantasy next month, the trio stormed the SXSW festival in March and will look to blow minds with equal force this weekend.


Where: The Hope

When: 7:45pm

A three-piece all-girl band from Denmark, Baby In Vain were one of the buzz bands of this year’s SXSW festival. Influenced by ‘90s grunge, underground rock and the rawest urban blues, the trio have yet to release their debut album, but already sound like they want to own the world.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.