As if The Great Escape’s reputation for being Britain’s leading new music festival wasn’t well enough established, this year sees the second edition of their First Fifty series. What’s that? Well, put simply, it’s a sweet first taste of what to expect from the 2018 festival and the line-up is as tantalisingly exciting as you’d expect. First off we want to point you in the direction of our First Fifty show at the Old Blue Last which boasts Bad Gyal, Denzel Himself and more on the 22nd, but to be honest every single stage is brimming with acts we want to see. To help guide us around, here TGE give us the low-down on five acts that are sure to steal the show.

Ebenezer gives us everything we expect to hear from an R&B song of today – passionate lyrics, a smooth and seductive auto-tuned melody driven by a bass-heavy trap beat. Though seeming cliché (no pun intended), the North London singer quickly establishes himself as far from the usual. The lyrics are honest and with careful listening his debut single opens you to an alternative take on R&B… plus all the good bits we love to hear.

Reminiscent of Travis Scott, Bad Gyal’s newest single ‘Nicest Cocky’ is a perfect mix of sinister chords, dancehall rhythms and catchy melodies. Her unique deliverance is what makes her special – heavy use of auto-tune and blending Spanish, English and Patois. She gives us a whole lot of sass too! Truly living up to her name.

In his debut single ‘Complicated’ Fred Well shows just how brilliant simplicity can be. The backing track is minimal – finger-click percussion and warm synths, and the absence of reverb combined with his soft whispering vocals layered over each other creates a feeling of summery joy. Think Mura Masa beats and Pharrell-like vocals.

In his latest single ‘Millennial’, Sam Fender shows off his vocal range over a tuneful melody with drive and attitude. Distorted guitars, hard kicks and witty lyrics. Sam challenges stereotypes against millennials and sends a clear message of what we should expect from our younger generation.

Upbeat guitar riffs and fast-paced rhythms drive the song forward and give you a feeling of bliss and brilliance. But listen to the lyrics and there lays bare a broken heart. The chorus sees a beautifully-sung melody and an exchange of emotional fragility, “Is this all there is for me?”, “you left me with a paper heart”. And with a change of pace in the rhythms throughout the song, H&TB take you on a roller coaster of emotions.

First Fifty takes place over 5 East London venues November 21st-23rd.
All tickets are just £5 at
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