The Great Escape 2023 – Day One: Five Essential Sets

Who to catch on the opening day...

So, here we are. Clash is seated in a café in Brighton, sipping some (actually very good) coffee and attempting to make sense of a jam-packed schedule. The Great Escape has swung into gear, and countless new acts are swarming around Brighton, playing venues across the city.

We’ll be on hand each day to provide round ups, interviews, and rolling coverage. Do say hello if you see us – we brought magazines, and good cheer.

Today – May 11th – is stacked with excellent shows, so we’ve decided to highlight five key performances.


Benefits open the Clash stage at One Church, so perhaps this is a display of bias. That being said, the Teesside band’s wonderful, enriching, provocative debut album hasn’t left our stereo since the day of release. Complex but engaging, superbly dynamic, it seems to tap into the latest disgust so many of us feel for this Broken Island.

Live, they’re a whirlwind of noise and energy, the intensity of the performance lingering long after the final notes dissipate. Think of it a balm for the darkness outside – the corrosive noise strips you clean.

Prima Queen

Prima Queen are kinda Bristol, kinda Chicago, and kinda London. They’re also 100% one of the best live bands you’ll catch this weekend, a seismic blur of riffs, attitude, and melody. Recent EP ‘Not The Baby’ is exceptional, but it’s all about the bond between the band and their fans – go check out tonight’s show at 8.30pm on the Amazon New Music Stage to find out more.


Blondshell’s self-titled debut album is simply one of the best records we’ve heard this year. A work of emotional engagement and no small degree of wisdom, UK fans have had scant opportunity to catch the songwriter in the live environment. Making an all-too-rare trip over the Atlantic, Blondshell brings her magical album to life at Komedia Basement (10.15pm) – given the imposing praise offered to her work, this is the last time you’ll get to witness her in such an imtimate setting.


Who are FIZZ? We know they’re a supergroup, of sorts. A kind of Avengers Assemble of bedroom pop, is what we’re told. The unveil is happening minute by minute on social media, and Brighton is plastered with posters signalling their arrival.

Intrigued? It’s undoubtedly one of the opening day’s most-hyped shows, and it takes place at SHOOSHH this evening. Clash will be there – it’s one of two stages we’re hosting – so why not join us?

The Last Dinner Party

Are The Last Dinner Party the most discussed band in the country right now? When their debut single hit streaming, it felt as though every single person on social media had an opinion – and wasted no time in airing it.

Clash went deep on the phenomenon, trying to offer a little nuance. It is, after all, only one song. Best to catch the band live, then, and their set at Chalk (8.30pm) will be a roadblock. Give them space, and catch them in their natural element – then, make up your mind.

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