So that was The Great Escape.
Returning for its tenth instalment, the Brighton event welcomed down countless bands to a sprawling array of venues, with thousands upon thousands of fans shuffling from show to show in search of something new.
Did they find it? Well, here's a few things we learned at The Great Escape 2015.
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Nothing, but nothing, can stop Slaves.
It's been a rocky few weeks for Slaves. Despite having operated as a band for about two years, fans and critics alike began to point out just recently that a couple of white musicians labelling themselves as 'slaves' isn't exactly suitable for the 21st century. An online kerfuffle followed, and - for a while there - it seemed that Slaves might almost, almost be blown off course.
Returning to the Great Escape, though, it was clear that this storm is already behind them. Fresh from a Live Lounge appearance – with that Skepta cover – the duo had the wind in their sails, delivering an emphatic performance in front of a packed crowd. Dubious name aside, there's little that can stop Slaves from becoming one of 2015's true crossover success stories.
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Everyone loves grime.
Renowned as a house of indie, The Great Escape raised a few eyebrows by recruiting some vital grime artists for this year's bill. Mumdance and Novelist slew the XL party, while the Lewisham don returned as a member of The Square for a sell out show at the Dome. The headliner? The one and only Skepta, a man who seems hellbent on single-handily returning grime to the top of the charts – on its own terms.
Amid a sea of wishy washy indie, devoid of gut instinct and inspiration, grime illuminated Brighton like a batch of lighters in a cavernous rave.
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Brighton is an almost completely different city in the sunshine.
Seriously. Fans queued outside the Clash show at the Arches on Thursday (May 14th), arriving inside dripping with south coast's finest H2O. By Saturday (May 16th), though, the sun was out and Brighton was at its Victorian best – a white sea front, parks packed with people and music, music everywhere.
The best fun happens off grid.
Well, some of it. The Great Escape turned ten with aplomb, but institutions such as the Alternative Escape still have more than their fair share of illicit thrills. One step beyond this, there's the house parties: local heroes Demob Happy booked a show in their caff, while Gengahr caused a road block in suburbia with a frantic, no holds barred house party.
Girl Band have an incredible debut album in them.
Irish group Girl Band played twice in the space of a few hours at The Great Escape, but this didn't seem to dent their stunning live show. While their re-tooling of Blawan's 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage' still astounds, their new material – often lengthy, ambitious and overwhelmingly abrasive – is what caught the attention. Currently in the studio, their debut album will arrive with no small degree of anticipation.
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Indie lacks a certain flashpoint of inspiration.
Clash saw plenty of good music this year, much of it utilising the guitar. But, somehow, the overriding feeling around indie was one of flatness, of a certain degree of inertia within the genre itself. Not enough originality, perhaps? Or, in contrast, too many competing ideas? While there are certainly a clutch of fantastic new bands emerging, indie has yet to shake off the lethargy which has been sapping its energy of late.
The Great Escape still rules.
Well, obviously. Brighton, sunshine and countless new artists just waiting to be uncovered. Ten years old and bigger, better and bolder than ever, The Great Escape remains the place to discover fresh talent – and for your talent to be freshly discovered. Long may it reign.
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