\\ Brighton’s neo-soul lit up the Alternative Escape

Tina Edwards reflects on Jazz Standard’s Alternative Escape showcase and the wave of neo-soul from Brighton’s quality live music scene. 

Brighton, UK, hosts the Great Escape and Alternative Escape every May. We were stoked to hold our first showcase there this year with Brighton label QM Records. As Europe’s answer to SXSW, music fans trot venue to venue in search of their favourite new artists. More than 400 of the biggest rising acts from around the world appeared, making journeys from Canada (Charlotte Day Wilson), the Netherlands (Jameszoo) and South Korea (Biuret). But those in Brighton looking for the next big thing needn’t worry about waiting for May to come around, or even about taking a train to London.

Brighton – the English seaside town – is developing a powerful live scene with its distinctive neo-soul sound. Many of the artists at the centre of the movement – including Normanton Street, Mrisi and Lebeaux – featured in our showcase. We welcomed over 1100 people through the doors of The Mesmerist in just a few hours. We’re not going to take all the credit for that. The artists we invited to play have loyal fanbases who know that there’s special going on. It’s not purely a buzz about the incredible jazz and neo-soul releases happening at the moment, but a well deserved-hype about Brighton’s distinctive artists.

lebeaux alternative escape

Turrel Lebeaux \\ Photo Credit Joe Lindsay

Lebeaux‘s powerful and liberating performance was glued together by female harmonies and a charismatic frontman, Turrell Lebeaux. Italian-born vocalist Francesca Fulmini blessed the crowd with her husky tone, teamed with bouncy, dancing rhythms from her band. She had a number of fans in the crowd who have seen her “more than tens times” despite her not having a single track online. Another Brighton act – so fresh that there’s little about to be found on a Google search – is Fresh Like Dexie. Like some of the artists around them, you can hear influence from Melbourne act Hiatus Kaiyote – perhaps its the seaside soul.

Find out what happened when we took Lebeaux Under The Influence

francesca fulmini alternative escape

Francesca Fulmini \\ Photo credit Joe Lindsay

From other areas of the UK, we brought three artists who we predict big movements for this year. Crewdson – the multi-instrumentalist producer who’s been remixing tracks for Brownswood and Ninja Tune – performed with gadgets he made himself, including an egglophone and a programmed video game controller. Crewdson’s second album, Toys – his first in six years – drops on Slowfoot in July. Look out for an interview with him appearing on our Mixcloud this Summer.

Curtis Dennie, All The People \\ Photo credit Joe Lindsay

All The People from South London – who have just released their debut album following support from BBC 6music and Clash – played a heavy, electronic and melodic set. Blue Lab Beats – who are deservedly hyped in the lead up to their second EP which is released this June – proved that jazz-induced music can make you dance hard. There’s a changing perception about the kind of music they’re performing; Blue Lab Beats have just been playlisted for BBC Radio one.

Read our interview with Blue Lab Beats

blue lab beats alternative escape

Nemali Kwaten, Blue Lab Beats \\ Photo credit Joe Lindsay

Follow the artists from our showcase on Facebook to keep up to date on their live shows and releases: All The People \\ Blue Lab Beats \\ Crewdson \\ Francesca Fulmini \\ Fresh Like Dexie \\ Goldaka \\ Kyan \\ Lebeaux \\ Mrisi \\ Normanton Street \\ Obsessive Loop (DJ)

Follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook as we’ll be dropping video and interviews from our time at the Alternative Escape. To keep posted on our next event, join our fortnightly newsletter.

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JS | Tina Edwards
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