The best new acts at The Great Escape 2023

...and where else to see them play this summer

  • Ben Jolley, TicketSwap Contributor
  • śr., 17 maj 2023
  • Lists

For those unfamiliar with Brighton’s annual showcase festival, The Great Escape welcomes hundreds of the most exciting names in music from all corners of the globe to the seaside town to prove why they’re the ones to watch, above all else.

With hype-heavy gigs spread across pubs, clubs, bars and on the beach, industry leaders (think A&Rs, bookers, journalists and managers) watch on in the hope of discovering the next big thing – it’s arguably the UK’s biggest weekend for music.  Plus, because of relatively short set lengths (each act is allotted around 30 minutes), it’s easy to hop between venues; in fact, TicketSwap caught 25 acts in just two days.   Don’t worry if you missed out this year, though, because we’ve rounded up the best Brighton had to offer. And, luckily, there’ll be plenty more chances to catch these exciting acts at festivals in the UK and Europe this summer. 

Best acts at The Great Escape 2023

Shelf Lives

Prefer your punk ferocious and (literally) in-your-face? London-based duo Shelf Lives - aka Toronto-born vocalist Sabrina Di Giulio and Northampton-born guitarist/producer Jonny Hillyard – should suit. Having caused a snaking queue, they packed the basement of Latest Music Bar with their angry electro-infused noise; ‘I Don’t Think I’ll Go Out Today’ was a real speaker-shattering highlight. Their tongue-in-cheek satire of mid-song-chatter - “I think we’re gonna take this time to quiet it down a bit” - was refreshing, too. After climbing off stage, Di Giulio literally screamed into faces during final track ‘Fighting That Bitch’, while flashing strobes added to the apocalyptic atmosphere offered by ‘Bite’.

Where to see Shelf Lives next:

London Calling, Paradiso, Amsterdam - May 19

Nozstock The Hidden Valley, Bromyard, United Kingdom - July 20


It’s easy to see why Elton John is already a fan of SIIGHTS, after catching their set at Zahara. They had the basement crowd waving their arms in the air to the infectious hooks of ‘Fake It’, invoking the UK’s answer to Haim. If you like your pop music packed with emotion, massive singalong choruses and relatable storytelling, check out half-Scottish half-Irish duo SIIGHTS. Impressively, they write, record and produce their own music too.

Where to see SIIGHTS next:

TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow - July 7 

The Last Dinner Party

Heading into TGE, The Last Dinner Party was arguably the buzziest name on this year’s line-up. Having clocked up 1.5 million streams on their debut single in less than a month, the queue at Chalk was, of course, massive for their only show of the festival.  Pleasingly, their performance lived up to expectations and silenced scepticism of major label nepotism – the five-piece have the raw talent to become one of the UK’s biggest bands. Track ‘Nothing Matters’ is a baroque rock epic, complete with huge Queen-like guitar riffs and a lead singer whose floaty charisma recalls Florence & the Machine. They will undoubtedly pack out every festival tent they play in this summer.

Where to see The Last Dinner Party next:

Latitude festival, Henham Park, Beccles - July 20

Reading festival, Reading - August 25-27

Leeds festival, Leeds - August 25-27

Nieve Ella

New guitar girl Nieve Ella’s ethos is ‘big slay music’, and her packed mid-afternoon set at Revenge proved why she’s one of the indie-rock scene’s brightest stars. After warming up the room by dancing with her band to Shania Twain’s ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’, she launched into her own growing collection of foot-stamping anthems ‘Fall 4 U’ and ‘Big House’, which came to life with punchy drums. Relatable stories of love and heartbreak were paired with the thrashing guitars of ‘19 in a Week’ – a surefire summer festival anthem. Even more impressive, this was only the band’s 15th show, ever. 

Where to see Nieve Ella next:

Dot To Dot, Bristol - May 27 

Dot To Dot, Nottingham - May 28

Barn On The Farm, Over Farm, Gloucester - June 29 

Reading festival, Reading - August 25-27

Leeds festival, Leeds - August 25-27 

Michael Aldag

This curly-haired TikTok star gave one of the most energetic performances of the weekend, high-kicking his way across the marquee-style AmazonMusic stage while performing tongue-in-cheek hits ‘girlfriends’ and ‘POLAROID’. Not one to take himself too seriously (much like Lewis Capaldi), his TicketSwap bio (“if you like hearing ginger boys whining over some synths then you’re going to love me”) is self-deprecatingly accurate. Aldag’s on-the-nose songs about Snapchat scores and “living your best life” – along with song titles like ‘Ghosting’ – chime perfectly with his Gen Z / millennial hybrid fanbase. 

Where to see Michael Aldag next:

Barn On The Farm, Over Farm, Gloucester - June 29 

Secret Garden Party, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdonshire - July 20


Lifelong raver venbee, who is one of the leaders of the recent TikTok-led drum ‘n’ bass-pop explosion, proved she’s far more than a viral star at TGE.

Having packed the downstairs of low-ceilinged Brighton club Patterns, she energetically performed songs which, in her words, changed her life. Her breakthrough hits ‘low down’ and ‘messy in heaven’ sounded massive with live drums and bass, while several unreleased bangers (including an anthem upcoming collaboration with Rudimental) certified that she’s got plenty more to come; and a d’n’b cover of M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ sounded incredibly fresh, too. 

With sets at Reading & Leeds festivals coming up this summer, seeing venbee live is a must for dance music fans. 

Where to see venbee next:

Beat-Herder, Clitheroe - July 13-16

Splendour, Wollaton Park, Nottingham - July 22 

Reading festival, Reading - August 25-27

Leeds festival, Leeds - August 25-27

Edited by Kate Pasola

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