Tag Archives: Music

The Great Escape – what’s on and where to go

Tom Read checks out this year’s Great Escape artists 

Between May 10th and 13th Brighton is transformed as hundreds of artists descend for a weekend of music, The Great Escape. There’s no shortage of big names – Arlo Parks and Sussex born and raised Maisie Peters are the faces on the posters, but big names don’t come much bigger than Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders, who  are set to headline The Independent Stage  at The Old Market on Friday 12th. 

Leading the way in the “Catch Them While You Can” category are Dublin post-punk band The Murder Capital. Very very cool. 

For those hoping to stumble across their new favourite artists, there’s plenty on offer for you to discover with over 500 artists with a wealth of familiar styles and explorations into new sounds are waiting to be uncovered. 

One example of a fresh up and coming act is Avantdale Bowling Club, who bring New Zealand based jazz fused with easy-listening rap to create soothing and thought provoking music sure to attract any passers by. Another is James Marriott, the YouTuber turned alternative musician, who will be performing his first festival set since the release of his first EP, Bitter Tongues, in 2022. Having experienced success on streaming platforms and in gigs across the county, Marriott is sure to be a crowd pleaser. While you’re here, check out Mae Stephens, SORRY, PVA, Deb Never and… oh, even if you’ve never heard of them – especially if you’ve never heard of them – go, listen, open your ears and enjoy. 

For those wanting to continue, there’s also The Late Escape, where the late night dance continues at Patterns. 

While TGE brings a great range of new music, it also provides insightful panels discussing topical debates, networking opportunities, and a range of keynote speeches to leave any music lover satisfied. 

For those interested in the more underground festival scene, not to worry. TGE provides a range of secret gigs across the city, so keep your ears to the ground. 

The best fun to be had at TGE is just to hang out, listen to the word on the wind – and follow the scent. Ask around the 35 walk-in venues and on social media, you never know what you may find. 

The Whistler has it on good authority (it’s not what you know…) that the weekend will be bathed in brilliant sunshine, so turn up, tune in and check it all out. 

Check out http://www.westhillwhistler.com for more details and information about The Brighton Whistler podcast Great Escape Special

Tickets can be purchased from

The great Eddie Thompson

Peter Batten pays tribute to one of the great British jazz pianists

One wet Friday evening in November 1961 I was about to leave my place of work, the Stevenage College of Further Education. As I came to the main entrance I met a bachelor colleague. Like me he was new to the College; we had both arrived in September.

“What are you doing this evening?” he asked. I explained that I was going to a jazz club run by one of my new neighbours. 

“May I join you?” he asked.

Later that evening he gave me a lift and we arrived at the club just as Eddie Thompson was about to play. His dog was already settled comfortably under the grand piano.

Eddie [1925-86] had long been recognised as one of our finest jazz pianists. Born blind, he attended the same school as the great George Shearing. Like some other people with his disability, he turned to piano tuning as his trade. However his talent for jazz soon began to shine through. He performed  solo and with bands in a variety of styles. That evening, although I had heard several of his recordings, I was to hear him in person for the first time. I fell in love with his playing. What I did not know was that his dog was about to retire. A few months later Eddie took a very brave decision to try his luck in the clubs of New York.

He was away for ten years. Although he won great respect in New York, he knew that the experience would enhance his ability to make a living in London. By the time he returned I was working at a new college in South London. He often appeared nearby at a pub called the Leather Bottle in Merton. One of my friends played bass with Eddie at his regular gig at the Playboy Club as well at Merton so I was introduced. At that time I was very fond of a great song by Tadd Dameron called “If You Could See Me Now.” Eddie played it superbly, so it became a regular request from me.

Then I decided to give myself a special treat. The music studio at the Sutton College was equipped with a small Bosendorfer grand piano, one of the world’s finest pianos. I arranged for Eddie to give a solo performance for an audience of about 50 people. He loved the piano. The result was an evening of outstanding jazz. I never heard him play better. And there was a bonus. Eddie had a very sharp wit and a stock of jokes, most of them unsuited for polite company. It was an “Evening with Eddie Thompson” to remember.

As we entered the 1980s he was playing better than ever. Sadly his years were limited. He was diagnosed with emphysema. Within 18 months he declined rapidly, was housebound, confined to bed and died, aged 61. He had been a very heavy smoker.     ]

If you want to know what a great player he was, call up some of his recordings on Youtube. I would particularly recommend “One Morning in May” by his trio with the great Martin Drew on drums.

At 87 years of age I have been shielding at home during Lockdown. That is my excuse for leading you back through my memories of a lovely, gifted man. One special evening comes to mind. It was August and very hot. I went to the Bull’s Head at Barnes, a famous jazz venue, to hear the great American saxophonist Johnny Griffin. To my delight Eddie was at the piano, with Martin Drew on drums. The music was fantastic, the room was packed, the sweat was pouring off us and even seemed to be running down the walls. Through it all I could see Eddie, exactly opposite me at the grand piano, a broad grin on his face, enjoying the chance to accompany such a great musician.

A final story. One of Eddie’s friends had given him a lift home from a gig. Eddie invited him to come in for a coffee. The curtains were drawn, the house was in total darkness and the friend began to collide with the furniture. “Sorry” said Eddie, “I’ll put the light on. I’d forgotten you could see”.

Music at West Hill Hall

13 October 7:30pm
Danny Schmidt + Carrie Elkin

Don’t miss these two great artists in a rare double-bill performance, sharing songs back and forth, lending their voices to each other’s tunes in perfect harmony. Tickets £9

26 October 7pm
Cold Pumas’ Album Launch
Local band launch their debut album, released on Faux Discx records, with support from Sauna Youth, Fair Ohs and Sealings. Tickets £5

3 November 6pm
Riots Not Diets Halloween Bonanza
Film screening of cult 90s teen-horror film, “The Craft”, followed by a variety of Riot Grrrl/Queer Noise bands in the shape of Faggot, Methodist Centre, Roseanne Barrr, Phat Trophies. A terrifyingly fun time guaranteed for all. Tickets £6

WAS 16 November 7.30pm – NEW DATE TBC in 2013
Legendary saxophone driven post-punk trio return to Brighton for a one-off show in a venue which could have been made for them. Led by Ted Milton, Blurt are one of the few surviving 70s post punk outfits to have become tighter, leaner, and more explosive with the passing of time. Tickets £7 OTD, £5.50 adv

Off the Cuff

When it comes to going out and seeing live music we are spoiled for choice in Brighton, and here in West Hill we are even more privileged given our proximity to two of the more lively and happening venues in our city, The Green Door Store in Trafalgar Arches and The Prince Albert in Trafalgar Street. For those of you who don’t know TGDS, it is a bar, nightclub and live music venue. It has a basic, punky feel; intimate, with low lighting and stripped back décor – a capacity of around 150 in the performance room (behind the curtain). It serves reasonably priced drinks at the bar, with a super selection of bottled ales (including many local brews); a place which accommodates both the gig/club goers and punters who just want to enjoy the bar. Fast becoming a hip stop on the national music scene, artists visiting this year have included legends The Monochrome Set and Vic Goddard’s Subway Sect, plus more recent hipsters such as The Travelling Band.
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