We’ll keep this simple: we love Great Escape – those few days down in Brighton are always one of the year’s highlights. We hang with all our friends, find new acts to treasure and just have the best time. Next May is a helluva long way off though, but thankfully the festival once again brought us First Fifty. What’s that? Well – it’s pretty straightforward: the first fifty acts that have been announced for the 2019 edition came to east London to play a series of exclusive shows. We had our own stage at The Curtain on November 27th – but there’s so much more going on we wanted to talk about the five acts we’re most excited to see… LiS

KWENGFACE – BEHIND BARZ
Kwengface has an undeniably attention grabbing style, his rhymes and flawless flow confidently placed over heavily compressed 808 samples have him rising to the top of ones to watch lists for 2019. Launching his career with a guest on Lookmarr it’s been non-stop since, with his Link Up TV session being a massive highlight (search it, watch it, you won’t regret it). File alongside some of our faves from this year’s Great Escape Festival including Suspect and Flohio.

KARA MARNI – MOVE
We’ve been watching Kara Marni’s progression from intriguing talent to Rita- Ora-world-tour-support level of pop star over the last year and it’s been quite something to behold. From the upbeat glamour of debut single ‘Golden’ to the playful energy of latest release ‘Move’, her powerful vocal and dramatic flair have us completely hooked. We’re more than a little excited to have her playing our very own stage ahead of what is bound to be a huge 2019 for her.

SELF ESTEEM – ROLLOUT
Long term London in Stereo readers will know what huge fans we are of Slow Club, so it’s no surprise that we’re thrilled for one half of that brilliant duo to step out on her own. With this musical reincarnation Rebecca Taylor brings the confidence and strength she brought to Slow Club and makes it brighter, bigger and even more exciting.

SQUID – THE DIAL
Squid are great on record, the sharp drumming and mathy guitars filling up every inch of space, with Ollie Judge’s wild vocals propelling you through the intricate dynamics of each track. But that’s nothing, just wait until you see Squid live, they’re a burst of pure energy that’ll cleanse you of your worries.

MILLIE TURNER – SHE WAS A DANCER
The multi-talented Millie Turner has such an incredible knack for minimal-pop songs that put her simple-but-brilliantly-effective hooks front and centre. The messages of empowerment and warmth bring you into her multi-coloured, emotionally-charged, endlessly-creative world, and to be honest we don’t want to leave.