I was lucky enough to go to Great Escape festival with a press and photography pass. I sadly couldn’t make the first day due to H.A.T.S. having our first gig at Velvet Jacks in B town (and thoroughly not missing in the process).

So my first day at Great Escape was the friday which I arrived somewhat late to due to a long day (and longer night) on the Thursday. I brought Jojo the Bozo with me as a fellow appreciator of nerdy music and we decided to hit Coalition (one of the shittest clubs in B town) for our first show.

First up I saw NUKULUK. A rap group from London that I found on an Instagram advert earlier that day that piqued my interest due to them reminding me of one of my Favourite rap groups on the scene, Injury Reserve. They didn’t disappoint with an obvious influence from IJ but also carrying over the groups high energy and passionate delivery. Some great instrumentals and a healthy dosage of bars they are definitely ones to watch. I definitely appreciated their majority live instruments approach to the performance instead of backing tracks.

These were my first pictures of the day so it was all about getting the settings right for the lighting (which was very simple and didn’t add for much intrigue in the images).

On at Coalition right after NUKULUK were my most anticipated band for the fest. SCALPING. Fresh off the release of their debut album (which goes hard) the instrumental-industrial-techno-metal group killed it with the best set I saw all weekend. Awesome visuals provided by a screen behind them playing a menagerie of swirling colours and shapes with no other lighting to be seen. They were incredibly tight with the multiple instruments being used by all members during the set. Possibly my favourite pics from the weekend too if you aren’t listening to these guys then get the fuck on it and get to a show.

Next up we headed over to the beach stage for another of my most anticipated groups, Enola Gay. These guys are noisy, shoegazey, industrial-tinged, post-punk with some rappy vocals here and there from Belfast.

They brought ENERGY. Serious gnarly shit. They killed the performance. Big shout out to Fionn Reilly on the vocals who has a serious pair of lungs and a wicked moustache on him.

I chose to go and watch Wu-Lu instead of grabbing dinner at this point as his latest singles have been too killer to miss and surprise he didn’t miss. With a full band backing him up, Miles Romans-Hopcraft came in loud. I still can’t wrap my head around the genres this man manages to mash up and still make it sound so tight and natural. Very excited for his debut coming on July 8th.

I went to grab an obligatory Pom Poko after this and sat at the pavilion with my spring rolls and chilli chicken don. First time I’ve been since they upped the prices and my meal was a tenner on the dot. Still the best value food in B town but sad to see it. Fuck inflation. Rishi Sunak owes me a Pom Poko.

I scurried to Coalition after this to grab a decent spot for the rest of my evening and I managed to get inside for the last couple of songs of Bob Vylan’s set. WOW. These guys packed the place out and had the whole thing moshing up and down the stairs. Security were on stage trying to grab crowd surfers who just kept surfing away from them. I only got two pics from their set but I think they show how sick it was. Maybe I should’ve gone without dinner to catch the whole thing.

CASISDEAD rounded up my day at the main bit of the festival with a set that really split me. To start with the photography conditions were awful. No lights were facing CAS and there was screen behind the stage with a small bit of light. So not many pics that I liked came from this one. He also came on stage with really low energy and complained about the music that was being played before his show. He didn’t have very high energy for the whole set but his voice sounded as gnarly as expected so it wasn’t bad by any means. New era this year with a new album coming down the line somewhere. Singles are pretty great so far so definitely keep your eyes open.

After CAS we went to spoons for a sit down and to meet a friend before heading to the DJ set of the night. Yung Singh. I have been desperate to see this man for ages and I finally got to thanks for the fest. Yung Singh is famous for mixing Punjab music with garage, jungle and a whole array of electronic genres. His boileroom set is one of my favourites ever. Highly recommended.

He did not disappoint playing a great selection of tunes from a great selection of genres. With my photopass I was able to get on stage and behind the decks with him which I did after about an hour of being in the crowd. A dream come true and we ended up staying right till the end at 4:30am. One of the best sets I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and a great way to end the first day. Yung Singh doesn’t miss.

Currently working on editing my pics from the Saturday which should be coming in the next week or so. In the meantime all the pictures from the Friday are up now over on the photos tab.

Thanks for reading, keeo it gnarly.

Luke x

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