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  • Writer's pictureFolklore: In Session

Folklore Sessions Alt Alt Escape Highlights: Part two

Following on from part one of our Alt Alt Escape recap, Folklore Sessions' blogger Etienne talks us through the highlights from the evening portion of our showcase.

Though I’d never actually attended The Great Escape Festival before (it always takes place slap-bang in the middle of exam season) I’d heard from countless friends either attending or performing that it was one of the best weekends in the Brighton calendar. As the city transformed into one huge festival ground, with music everywhere (literally), I arrived at the brilliant Folklore Rooms for the evening portion of their all-day takeover, and it’s safe to say they showcased some of the best in new, and upcoming music that evening alone. I left the venue on cloud nine, after dancing with friends, chatting with strangers (and some of the acts who didn’t have to rush off) and losing myself in the impressive roster of talent that graced the stage that evening, which made for a genuinely amazing night.

Steven Bamidele

Entering The Folklore Rooms to the relaxed RnB/soul sounds of Steven Bamidele retired any stress I had from the day. Accompanied by synths, a bass and sometimes guitar, he mused on topics of family, identity, and self-reflection in what felt like a cloud of sound: synth textures decorated with bass notes and impressive, smooth vocals that showcased a beautiful falsetto and great vocal control. Proving his status, and confidence as an artist, he performed a stripped back, soulful rendition of the classic ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. There was a quiet passion in his voice as he sang meandering melodies that made the set truly captivating. This calls attention to the lyrical world of personal stories he so easily brings you into, and even invites you to singalong too, as he did on song 'Other Side.'

His charm ensured the crowd, some gathered on the floor, some on chairs and some standing at the back, accepted his request and sang the parts of his backing vocals. It was a great start to the evening and a wonderful showcase of Bamidele’s talent.

Emily Roberts

I couldn’t help but wear a smile as I watched Emily Roberts' set of fun, honest pop songs filled with sharp, witty lyricism and a LOT of energy! Roberts’ storytelling talents translated in her wonderful stage presence, telling stories of each song’s creation, which included her eloquent confessional truths about struggling to get out of bed some days, as she introduced the more downtempo ‘The Devils Doing Cartwheels’. It makes you even more appreciative of those moments of relief found in listening and dancing to music, and Roberts certainly provided a sense of empowerment and catharsis with her catchy, pop tunes that were great to boogie too.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where the music takes Roberts, and the stories she will put in a song to express the feelings that can’t be said out loud, like her genuine happiness for an ex’s happiness, as told in tune 'Genuinely, Truly, Honestly.'

Katie Tupper

A last minute addition to the evening, Katie Tupper's talent on the stage just shone through, her voice carrying a beautifully sultry tone with ease. The rest of the band, Alfie, Ben and Justin, radiated energy during moments of solo improvisation where they bounced off one another and the music just came alive, embellished with twinkling keys, exciting beats and groovy guitars.

I feel bad for anyone who missed this incredible set, because to say they missed out would be an understatement. The jazzy, soulful backing and Tupper's incredible voice left a clear mark on the crowd, as they filed out of the room with a sense of euphoria. This can only be expected after coming so close to magic.

Nierra Creek

I was in a trance as I watched Nierra Creek’s soundscape of lo-fi beats, atmospheric synths and impassioned vocals. They performed seamless renditions of ‘Born a Child’, new song ‘I Try’ and unreleased track ‘Daisy’, that stood out as set highlights. These best demonstrate the songwriting talents of Ryan Deag and dynamic work of Sebastian Müller, experimenting with dynamic and textures, that married together to create something enchanting.

I felt a sense of nostalgia watching their set: stage awash with blue light, blissfully unaware of the time by this point of the evening, intently lost in the reverb and intricate details of the music.

King Isis

It’s a nerve-wracking idea playing solo when you’re used to playing with a band, but King Isis seemed unphased as they took to the stage, guitar in hand. You could hear a pin drop as their voice, contralto, smooth and delicate, almost like a whisper, soothed the room, telling stories of love, longing and finding oneself in a modern world. Isis pleads for their subject to stay on “im fine, thx 4 asking”, a set highlight, with a sweet sincerity and a sense of self-reflection that all this ‘wishing on a fucking star’ is perhaps futile.

Quietly cool, a sense of sadness and nostalgia lingers on the lyrics when accompanied acoustically over seamless acoustic guitar, and make for a beautiful, chilled-out set that you could sway to all evening. Thanking the room for listening after every song, you can’t help but feel it should be you thanking them for blessing your ears and simply being the lovely human, they seem to be.


True indie-rockers, THALA and her band demanded attention as they played a bold set of tender lyrics to cathartic, lush, sometimes dreamlike instrumentals. Such a visceral set played to a full crowd shows the bands' well-deserved following, and their chemistry was evident, with THALA and her guitarist Joel Marten often facing each other, vibing as they played. A live show is always more fun when you know those on stage are enjoying themselves, and THALA's ability to put on a brilliant show is telling of the great music she makes, and the enjoyment in telling these stories to an audience.

My personal favourite, ‘In Theory Depression’ sees a vulnerability admitted almost on a whisper, to confident drums by Max Blunos and hazy guitar that merge to make this feeling of a long-overdue exhale. Her storytelling, exploring the vulnerable side of your 20s, is sincere without being melodramatic, and a sound that draws on the hazy pop influence from the likes of Mazzy Star makes THALA an exciting one to watch, and, if you can, watch live - you won’t be disappointed.


Lyricist and frontwoman for RVG Romy Vager gave their all to the packed crowd of the Folklore Rooms and boy was it impressive. Performing an exciting, confidently post-punk/rock set, the Melbourne band brought a sense of urgency to their single ‘Nothing Really Changes’, from upcoming release Brainworms. Already an anthemic track filled with melancholia and riotous riffs, there was something electric about Vagers impassioned vocals and the bands chemistry that blew me away.

As well as the talents of drummer Marc Nolte and bassist Isabele Wallace, I was doubly impressed by guitarist Reuben Bloxham’s one hand on the fretboard of his guitar and the other on his keys, bringing intoxicating texture as the band tore through their impressive catalogue of tracks old and new.

The Leaning

While I had no idea what to expect from The Leaning, I’d been told by my housemate to expect good things, and as I found a corner near the back to witness the ensuing shenanigans, I could understand why. Watching folks in the crowd relay the energy of the band, and vice versa, is always a joy to witness, and chants of tops off were duly followed by each member losing their t-shirts one by one throughout, with singer Sam Jordan even throwing his into the crowd.

Standing and dancing on a stool in the back just to be able to see the band is telling of the enthusiasm and well-deserved following of these guys, with an exciting “psych-noise and surf pop” sound that had rock inflections during a set that saw Sam take to the shoulders of one lucky audience member whilst continuing to sing, flawlessly.


What a finale. The mosh-pitting, the energy, the music. From the offset, YABBA carried a welcome mayhem that electrified The Folklore Rooms and kept this up throughout the show for what has to be one of the highest octanes sets of the weekend. There was not much in the way of chit-chat between songs, instead, they dove headfirst into each track, packed with thumping drums, rage singing, and riotous riffs on their latest single 'Jawbone.'

They were truly reactive, bringing the audience to life like a classic heavy-metal band would, and could barely be contained in the cosy four walls of Folklore, but there was plenty of space to rock. Safe to say, Yabba tore through their set of visceral noise, even breaking a bass string just a few songs in. After asking on the off chance if anyone had a bass (alas, no one did) they played anyway, seemingly unbothered. I’d expect nothing less from these guys, their talent clear from the offset. That’s Rock n Roll baby.

Words by Etienne Ferenc


Folklore Sessions returns on the 20th June at The Folklore Rooms for the June edition of the showcase. With music from Duskhouse, Holly Henderson and Ella Clayton.

Doors: 19h30

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