The Great Escape: AE Review

AE… IOU a ticket to Ads and Els’ next gig

The Great Escape: AE Review

AE, also known as Ads and Els, are a formidable pair, delivering next level bars on day three of The Great Escape festival at Zahara, a staple Brighton venue just a stone’s throw from the coast. 

This set was another hotly anticipated performance, with South London duo AE bringing old school hip-hop head to head with R&B, and eye to eye with drill. This ever-popular meeting of genres is shaping a fresh scene, with artists like AE appearing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at this vanguard of new music. Hits like “Mistaken” and “Lower Your Tone” speak to a unique fluency between the two; having met at just age 12, the connection between Ads and Els is evident, and translates smoothly into their slick lyrical flow. 

I really enjoyed this performance – the venue leant itself well to AE as they played with rhythm and responded to the crowd with ease and energy. The lights at Zahara are a fun fitting – colourful strip lighting reaching one end of the room to the other – not quite neon, but bright enough to know you’re somewhere designed for “dancing”. Lighting aside, this performance felt friendly, as if the bar knew the audience, who knew the act, who knew me. In reality, we were all mostly strangers, nodding our heads in agreement that this particular vowel-based duo might just be the next big thing, and to the relentless drill beat dropping quite frankly here, there, and everywhere.  

When it comes to the rap scene and reputation, AE have earnt industry recognition beyond the south of the river, with nods from Grammy-nominated emcee Rapsody, and mentions in music titles across the board. Let’s face it; AE are just getting started, and I’m grateful to have shared a room with them at The Great Escape.

Follow AE at @a2emusic

AE, Zahara, 12th May 2023


Elsa Monteith

Elsa Monteith Local Reviewer

Brighton-based reviewer, writer, and editor.

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