Update 10/05/2018: A big fat reminder to both myself and all of you that I hate writing, kill me.
As ever there are a bunch of new venues this year and I have absolutely no idea what the capacity or bar stock is like for any of them. There are three TGE stages on the actual beach which sounds like a logistical pebbly nightmare to me, Bau Wow looks like an attempt at a less sleazy Shoosh, and The Walrus refers to itself as labyrinthine, something that none of us need. There are my hot takes.
Weather Report: Highs of 14 degrees Celsius, sunny intervals and breezy... no rain...!
Where this guide starts for you is obviously very dependent on your ETA into Brighton but I'd encourage you to make it sooner rather than later. I think Sonny was the first act we saw at TGE last year so how fitting that hopefully he'll be our first in 2018 too. Sonny will be taking to the stage in the Marine Room (at Harbour Hotel) at 12:30 to ease you into the weekend. Next up are wildcard pick Glaswegian duo LOVE SICK. Their debut single 'Bullet' shows a fair amount of electro-pop potential and if any of the pair's unreleased material is close in quality they'll be worth checking out at 14:00 at The Walrus. I rarely bother with "rock" bands at TGE (for absolutely no reason whatsoever) but The Faim will be an exception to this unwritten rule. The Australian four piece channel the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, and genuinely have a shout at being the scene's next big thing. Catch them at Komedia at 14:50.
Continuing our journey north through Brighton, aptly named Canadian quartet The Beaches play Green Door Store at 15:45. With punk-esque garage pop being such a popular genre at the moment and so much to choose from, The Beaches could easily be one of the weekend's overlooked band's but I'd encourage you not to miss out. It'll need to be a brisk walk as soon as The Beaches are through down to... well... The Beach Club, one of TGE's new festival stages for opener Moss Kena at 16:30. Moss Kena delivers weird (I guess they call it "alternative") R&B at it's finest and although he's unlikely to be the last artist of this ilk you'll see over the weekend he is likely to be one of the best. Depending on how much you need a break from it all I have one final afternoon recommendation in the form of G Flip, "multi-instrumentalist" Australian Georgia Flipo, at 17:30 also on the Beach Club stage.
If you stayed down on The Beach for G Flip, hang around a little longer for Tyne over in the Beach House at 18:00. Quite similar in style to G Flip but with a string of singles under her belt and recently supported PVRIS across their latest European tour. Otherwise head down to The Arch for 18:15 to catch Veronica Fusaro. I have been infatuated with Fusaro since first hearing her new Ice Cold EP a few weeks ago. A must see. At this point I should mention that I will be ignoring the existence of Pale Waves; they're too big for this guide and to be honest, if you're UK based and haven't seen them yet you just don't really care that much, do you? And so up to the Prince Albert we go where at 19:30 you'll find Swimming Girls. Only one of the four piece is actually a girl but that's okay although I've no knowledge on their capabilites in water. The band were forced together (not unlike Little Mix) at uni (quite unlike Little Mix) but you'd never tell because as far as indie pop goes the likes of Pale Waves should feel rivalled.
I'm fairly sure I at least tried to squeeze Raheem Bakare into my guide for last year but I definitely did not get around to seeing him - the same mistake will not be made in 2018. It's back down to Komedia's Studio Bar for 20:15 is essential for Bakare is the UK's answer to Gallant - yes, I went there. The first recommendation I have this weekend where there is the genuine possibility of not getting in is Rina Sawayama. Although she does play again on the Friday night, that's at Wagner Hall and capacity will be even more stupid than Coalition, so this is the one to go for. The Asian pop sensation isn't on until 21:15 so that's a whole half hour post-Raheem to secure a place at the front before we are slain by pop-royalty-to-be.
Entering Thursday night's home stretch, if you want to catch Alma at 23:00 you'll need to get to Wagner Hall long before then to get the chance to make it inside. I'm dedicating myself to the beers (read: gluten free beer, or any other non-carbonated alcoholic drink... maybe I'm dedicating myself to shots?) this TGE and I wholeheartedly believe that at this time of night Alma will be perfect. Chasing highs, good vibes, etc etc. However if you're looking for something a little more mellow I'd like to suggest Auður, who plays The Walrus at 23:15. Sure, it's more alt-R&B, but this time from Iceland, which is quite exciting because I just assumed everything from Iceland sounded like Bjork or Sigur Ros - it's not the case. Hop over to Bau Wow in time for Eves Karydas at 00:15. She's originally from Cairns in Australia which has me gassed. I can't work out who else her brand of pop reminds me of but it's not the kind of thing I'll recommend anywhere else in this guide. Our final stop on Thursday night, if you're up for it, is Ecca Vandal up at Green Door Store at 01:15. I predict it being a loud and audacious affair but I would also like to put in a request for a circle pit and maybe some stage-diving.
A quick round-up of what we've planned so far:
12:30 - Sonny - Marine Room
14:00 - LOVE SICK - The Walrus
14:50 - The Faim - Komedia
15:45 - The Beaches - Green Door Store
16:30 - Moss Kena - Beach Club
17:30 - G Flip - Beach Club
18:00 - Tyne - Beach House / 18:15 - Veronica Fusaro - The Arch
19:30 - Swimming Girls - Prince Albert
20:15 - Raheem Bakare - Komedia
21:15 - Rina Sawayama - Coalition
23:00 - Alma - Wagner Hall / 23:15 - Auður - The Walrus
00:15 - Eves Karydas - Bau Wow
01:15 - Ecca Vandal - Green Door Store
Please, I beg, join me again same time (probably, hopefully) this time tomorrow for a run down of Friday's TGE must sees.