This weekend, in North London’s Trent Park was the scene of what was supposed to be a day of winding back the clock and enjoying some of the world’s finest RnB and HipHop musicians. The lineup read like a who’s who from back in the day; Fat Joe, Blackstreet, Mya, Horace Brown, Bobby V, Eve, Jon B, Tony Touch & Fatman Scoop were all set to perform at Metrofest.
With lockdown rules lifting across the country and various restrictions for international travel still in place, there was always a risk that an international artist may not make it into the country or fall ill and test positive for COVID. This is the risk one takes with organising a festival during these times. Did this have an impact on Metrofest? Read on and find out.
A few days out from the event, Eve cancelled citing ‘unforeseen circumstances’. Cancellations happen, it’s just a part of the industry. Other artists that travelled to London from USA had arrived days earlier and were quarantining in various hotels in London (as far as we know).
Fast forward to Sunday, the weather was holding out, the ground was soft and not too much of a mud fest and the crowd was building after the event opened 90 minutes later than it was supposed to, with very little warning to those already arriving on site at the original 11am opening time.
As I arrived mid afternoon, there was still a fairly sized line of people waiting to get in via the General Admission entrance. As I entered the festival grounds, Horace Brown hit the stage and belted out his big tracks like ‘One for the Money’ & ‘Things we do for Love’. Horace is pretty chill and was great live, his soulful voice played out over the sound system and pulled in a huge crowd. Next up was Mya, whom a good number in the crowd came to see.
We waited patiently for the transition but the minutes turned to hours and there was no sight of Mya, a DJ was playing music on the main stage trying to keep a nervous and anxious crowd entertained. During this time, there was no official message or comms from the organisers that anything was changing.
Jon B was supposed to be on at around 5pm, but that time came and went. Bobby V and Blackstreet were up next but again, there was no sight of these artists on the main stage. Fatman Scoop was supposed to be hosting the main stage for most of the afternoon, but he also was not seen until late into the evening.
You could sense the frustration of the crowd, some who had travelled from various parts of the country, drove hundreds of miles, spent money on trains and accommodation to see their favourite old school artists. With just a DJ on the main stage for a large part of the afternoon, the noise from the restless crowd grew louder.
Eventually Fatman Scoop turned up and hit the stage to bring the crowd back to life as he got the crowd to join in on tracks like ‘Be Faithful’, before Jon B then arrived, almost 3 hours after he was scheduled to perform. Performing a short set full of classics including ‘Are U Still Down’, ‘Someone to Love’ & ‘Dont Talk’, he quickly left the stage before the nights headliner Fat Joe took over.
Walking out to his classic collaboration hit ‘New York’, the crowd piled into the main stage area to see the Brooklyn rapper in his first UK live event. Taking us through his hits from his vast back catalog, he played ‘Whats Luv’, ‘All the Way Up’, ‘Lean Back’ and this years big hit, ‘Sunshine’.
Cut short from what was supposed to be an hour’s performance, Fat Joe left the stage, only then for Bobby V to come out and perform. With a tight cut off time at 9pm, the Atlanta singer performed for less than 10 minutes before the sound cut his performance off and the crowds were informed to leave.
Meanwhile, as Fat Joe was performing, Blackstreet released a video on their Facebook page apologising to fans for not performing at Metrofest due to a number of organisational issues. You can see their video here:
After the event, social media was brimming with unhappy festival goers who felt cheated and wanted their refunds back due to a number of high profile artist no shows and their inability to cash out the remaining money from their wristbands. The cash out system started working after a day of technical glitches & three days after the event finished, Metrofest posted on their Instagram the following statement:
As a reviewer, I must be transparent and fair and my honest view of Metrofest is summarised here:
It’s important to remember, logistically running a festival in these unprecedented times is extremely difficult and risky and it has reflected as such at Metrofest.
There was a great crowd in attendance!
The main stage lineup promised so much yet failed to deliver with a number of no shows.
The transparency and comms from the organisers needed to be much better, especially as the afternoon went on and immediately after the event.
As a member of the press, the press area wasn’t fit for purpose, one portaloo for some 50+ people which by 3pm was not a pretty sight.
Exiting the festival was problematic if you were in the VIP area. You needed to exit through the general admission exit, but it meant heading out into the main stage crowd which was pushed up against the VIP entrance. It was dangerous with people being pushed up and squashed against the temporary fencing. I feared someone would get seriously hurt and eventually security opened another exit.
As a member of the press, I was issued a press pass, only to have it confiscated off me mid-festival due to too many people backstage. This was extremely embarrassing for me and uncalled for.
The above issue stems from either a lack of security and people without the correct passes being allowed backstage. Two security guards mentioned to me they were understaffed at the event.
Do I hope that Metrofest will return again next year, absolutely. The idea of an old school RnB music festival has a wide appeal, but there are some fundamental things that need to be sorted before the organisers gain the trust back in those that attended!
Creamfields one of the world’s biggest electronic promoters have revealed plans for an all-new 50,000 capacity two-day camping festival in 2022 which will see them bring their award-winning festival South, taking over the stunning Grade II listed Hylands Park for Creamfields Chelmsford.
With the iconic Hylands villa as its backdrop, the multi-stage festival will also give fans the chance to experience the colossal 15,000 capacity Steel Yard superstructure is scheduled to take place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, which has been moved to a four-day weekend next year to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The launch of Creamfields Chelmsford is a game changer for the UK festival landscape and coincides with the 25 year celebrations of its award winning sister festival in Daresbury, which is staged annually in the heart of the Cheshire countryside and attracts sell out audiences of 70,000.
Since its inception the UK edition has become one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world, attracting big name artists including Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Eric Prydz, Tiësto, deadmau5, Carl Cox, Bicep LIVE, Chase & Status, Pendulum and The Chemical Brothers. Internationally, Creamfields is one of the few festivals to have successfully established itself on the global market with shows staged in Chile, Abu Dhabi, Ibiza, Malta, Argentina, Peru, Hong Kong and multiple cities across China to name a few.
Creamfields Chelmsford is an exciting new addition to the UK Festival calendar and for fans in particular who can expect an all-star line-up of dance music heavyweights to be announced.
Creamfields flagship festival in Daresbury, will take place 25th – 28th August Bank holiday weekend 2022.
A few years ago, one evening I started browsing through music videos on YouTube and came across Mongolian rock band The Hu. I remember thinking how different these guys were and that I doubt they would ever tour the UK, but i was proven quite wrong. In 2019 they played in the UK and then announced a Spring European and UK tour for 2020. All the shows had sold out. I was lucky enough to attend their show at the legendary Electric Ballroom in Camden, London on Tuesday 11th February. It was a cold evening in which I was warmed up when entering the venue to a packed out room with eager fans awaiting for the music to start.
Up first was support act , the American heavy metal band, Fire From The Gods who put on a great performance full of energy and built up the crowds anticipation for The Hu. Fire From The Gods will be performing Download festival this year on The Dogtooth Stage so make sure you check them out.
During the interval the crowd were mingling, drinking and loudly chanting ‘HU! HU! HU!’ When the time had come for The Hu to enter the stage the four main band members stood along the front of the stage with a backing band behind. The band had initially formed back in 2016 and have since gained a huge following online with 624k subscibers on Youtube alone! The members are Jaya, Gala, Temka and Enkush. The band were dressed in Mongolian attire with leather and top knots.
The traditional Mongolian instruments were amazing to see with the horsehead fiddle, Mongolian guitar, Jaw Harp and the Monglian flute. The craftsmanship on the instruments were quite incredible. The band bring together traditional Mongolian music with their throat singing and combine it with heavy metal.
The opening song is Shoog Shoog followed by other songs off their debut album The Gereg. The band also performed Black Thunder which has become widely recognisable after being featured on the hugely successful 2019 Star Wars game Jedi: Fallen Order.
The members didn’t appear to have a good grasp of the English language knowledge apart from “Thank You”, but honestly it really didn’t matter as the audience could still relate to the band during their set.
They are one of the most intriguing bands I had ever seen as they have created such an unusual yet enjoyable style of music based on throat singing. They put on a great show and I can highly recommend checking them out if you have not already.
At one of Camdens most well known venues, on Friday 13th December, the doors of The Electric Ballroom opened to welcome Australian rock/alternative band The Faim. The band have had anabsolutely fantastic year which has included touring the world on their own tour as well as appearing at some of the biggest festivals, they also released their highly anticipated debut album ‘State Of Mind’.
Kickstarting the evening at the venue were Californian band Cemtery Sun. These guys really knew how to put on a show! The audience appared to really enjoy their very energetic set. The guys have announced that they will be returning to the UK in 2020.
After a short interval which gave us enough time to grab a quick drink and a nosey at the merch stand, the second act of the night to take to the stage were Hot Milk, a male and female dual fronted emo power-pop band from Manchester. 2019 has been a very busy year for them, having played 69 shows in 20 different countries! Without a dount, this band will be ones to look out for as they areexpecting to be making it big on the music scene next year. The audience got to see them playing numerous hits inluding ‘Wide Awake’, ‘Awful Ever After’ and their latest single ‘Candy Coated Lie$’.
Later in the evening came the act that we had all been waiting for, The Faim. The lights dimmed on walked Steve rocking a heavy bassline ready for the rest of the band to join. The band played a variety of songs from their album and their earlier EP release. As expected after seeing previous live shows from the band, their entire set proved to show so much passion, energy and a huge appreciation for their ever growing fanbase.
After seeing the band first perform back in early 2018 supporting Lower Than Atlantis its great to see how much they have grown as artists and also how they have diversified their music. They really have come such a long way in such a short space of time. At the end of the night it was clear to see that they were incredibly thankful for their fans, family and friends as the band members eyes were filled with emotion.
The Faim have announced that they will be back in 2020, I can assure you, I don’t intend on missing out on seeing them perform live again, so neither should any of you reading this article. Defintely a band that we here at Summer Festival Guide can reccomend time and time again as they never ever fail to put on an amazing show!
The much anticipated London Music Conference 2020 today unveils its final panels and tech topics for discussion ahead of the event at fabric, London from January 30th to February 1st. Artist additions include Jamie Lidell, Raw Silk, and Enzo Siragusa, who will participate alongside further representatives from FUSE, fabric, Young Turks, Brownswood Recordings, WomeninCTRL, Arturia, Touching Bass, Armada Music, Identification of Music, Harpies, Pxssy Palace, Capital FM, and more.
These names will join the previously announced likes of Nemone, Broadwick Live, The Cause, Key Changes, Scuba, Third Son,Printworks, DJ Mag, Boiler Room, BBC Radio 1, Free From Sleep, FMLY Agency, DAZED, Mixmag, He.She.They., Beatport, The Festival Travel Shop, Korg, PRS and more.
This premier music conference and showcase festival is a unique platform for the creation, development and expansion of electronic music culture. It brings together artists, industry experts, label managers, A&R executives and so much more, and is a way for all facets of the industry to connect and get creative, as well as consider the future of the scene. There is a wide range of topics, panels, workshops, forums, masterclasses, demos and parties all set for the capital this coming January.
Panels and talks include:
fabric: The Third Decade
London Collectives Pushing the Scene Forward
London: Is Clubbing Still Affordable?
Does Electronic Music Have a Mental Health Problem?
Safe Spaces & Inclusivity in Nightlife
PRS pres. Making Money From Your Music
Little Pink Book pres. The Importance of Female Role Models in Electronic Music
The Changing Dynamic of UK Festivals
The Team Behind: FUSE
Plus workshops and masterclasses:
Jamie Lidell pres. Hanging Out With Audiophiles Live
DJ Boost Sessions
Making Music Without a Computer w/ Third Son
Little Pink Book: DJ Workshop w/ Raw Silk, Bossy LDN & Sarah Story
Point Blank Music School Deconstruction
Track Masterclass w/ Hannah Holland
Less is More: Simplifying Your Music for Maximum Results w/ Red Rack’em
Check out the LMC20 website for the complete schedule of events:
New for 2020 is the UK’s first electronic music Accelerator Program (register here) for artists and labels, providing music makers and breakers from across the globe a range of tools and resources to develop music, culture and the business ecosystem that exists around it. There will also be the LMC Awards to provide a forum for the recognition and acknowledgement of the industry’s best and brightest, profiling the artists, labels and technology developers at the leading edge of music culture, business and performance.
Capacity at London Music Conference is strictly limited and tickets will sell out. Discounted Early Bird tickets are on sale now, head to https://www.londonmusicconference.org/ for more information or to register as a member of the LMC community and get involved.
Sunday 3rd November was a day that I had waited to experience for a long time. I was going to see a music act that I had been excited to see perform live since I was around 10 years old! That act is nineties and noughties boy band A1.
The band originally formed as a quartet in the late nineties. Consisting of band members Mark, Ben, Christian and Paul, they had seen huge success around the world after releasing well known singles Everytime, Summertime, Like A Rose, Same Old Brand New You, Caught In The Middle and the huge hit Take On Me – a cover single of the well known classic by Aha! A1‘s version of the track actually went straight to number one in the UK music charts while Aha only reached a number two position! In that time the band had also released three albums. Sadly, around five years into their expanding career and shortly after the release of their third album ‘Make It Good’, band member Paul Marazzi had announced his departure from A1 due to personal reasons. The fan base were left feeling concerned for the future of the band since the news broke.
Thankfully, remaining band members Ben, Christian and Mark had come to a decision to keep the act going under their original band name as trio. Since then they have seen a huge increase in fans over in Norway and Asia. They have also since released a few more albums and worked on their own solo material too.
Just a short time ago, in mid 2018, former singer Paul decided to reach out to band member Christian during A1’s brief period of appearances in the UK at the time and had asked arrange to meet the guys to catch up, in which they all did. Thankfully for both original and new fans, the band decided to reunite as the original line up and hit the road once again. So A1 The Reunion Tour was announced including shows in three UK locations. The guys had purposely chosen to play at smaller venues with just a few select dates as they weren’t sure just how well the Reunion shows would be recieved in the UK as they hadn’t fully persued their careers there for a number of years. Oddly enough, due to popular demand a fourth show was added to their UK dates, which to the band’s surprise, later meant that all of their UK shows had completely sold out in just four minutes!
It’s very clear that the guys of A1 and their management team were keen to really make the reunion work, they seem happy and enthusiastic about the future of the band. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to meet and interview them before they went on stage at their second London show, the Islington 02 Academy. Honestly, all four band members seemed very comfortable with each other and quite at ease and excited about all of the reunion shows in general. It appeared like Paul had never even departed at all. Upon first meeting the band, our photographer and I were greeted by management and taken to the VIP lounge where the meet and greets were taking place before the show. And there they were, all four original members of a band that I had admired for years just standing by the bar smiling for photos.
It wasn’t long until the two of us were introduced to the band and then taken downstairs to their two small dressing rooms to conduct a full interview. Now, I have only done a handful of interviews before as I’m usually too nervous to bring myself to actually do them, let alone perform in a professional manner. And in all honesty this is the one I was most anxious about doing. However, I’ve never been made to feel so welcome, calm and relaxed at a show that I have attended and reviewed. Ever! I have never met a nicer group of people! Christian provided us with traditional Norwegian spiced Christmas biscuits and bottles of water, I had discussed parenting and the wonder of baby wipes with Paul, Mark made sure we were comfortable by moving things around to make room for us to sit down on the leather sofa within the dressing room and Ben was talking to us as casually as you would speak to your best friend while doing his hair for the upcoming show. Fortunately, I was able to record the chat I had with the band as I asked them a variety of questions about their reunion, performing again as four members on stage and the potential of new music and future tours. I have used our photographer’s photos to create a video showcasing the live show and the interview that took place. Very kindly, both management and all members of A1 were happy to allow me to publish the audio recording for all of you to hear. The audio clip video and images will be linked in with this review, but here are a segments that I have picked out to share with you!
I expressed how excited that fans (including myself) were to see the original line up back together and once again performing live too. So of course I had to ask them how they felt about the big reunion.
Q: So how are you feeling about it being back as four? Ben: “It feels great! It’s a bit like riding a bike, it was a bit strange at first, Christian, myself and Mark had continued on for ages and ages and it had been about fifteen years since you joined (looking at Paul), initially it was a bit like oh, ok it feels a bit familiar and a bit weird, but like no time had passed really.”
Q: How are you feeling about all of your reunion shows? Mark: “Really good!”
Ben: “Really Great! The fans have been frickin brilliant because we’ve been tryingto work out what to do with the set, it’s funny, we’ve had big songs that were different in different countries so one song has been number 1 in the Phillappenes and over here (UK), they’ve never heard of it. So we just thought lets do everything! Everybody knows the words to pretty much every single song and that’s the beauty of Spotify and things like that now.”
Paul: “We knew it was going to be big as it sold out so quick.”
So now over twenty years on since the beginning of A1, of course I was curious to know how being in the band differs now compared to back in the day. Christian: “One of the biggest differences is that before, we would literally wake up to a sheet coming in under the door of our hotel rooms saying what we are going to do that day, starting at like 6am! Then we’d have dinner while doing other interviews getting ready for another gig and then fly to the next country. Now we are much more in control of our day. Generally we now have more control over our lives and what we say. We also have a better attitude this time around as there was a lot of pressure and money invested in us, so there was a lot expected from us.”
Ben: “Now, no one expects anything”
Christian: “Everything is just a bonus now and we are having a lot more fun. We are better songwriters now and better musicians than we were twenty years ago.” Just like any other A1 fan, I of course have my favourite tracks. I expressed to the band that I remember spending a lot of time in my bedroom during my early teen years playing ‘Caught In The Middle’ on my acoustic guitar, but there is one song of theirs in particular that will always have a special place in my heart, their ballad ‘Like A Rose’. So I was intruigued to see if the band members themselves had any preferences of their own.
Christian: “To me, it’s always ‘Everytime’. It was one of the first songs that broke us internationally, I remember so clearly when we wrote it and the thoughts that we had. I remember this dream I had in my head thinking wouldn’t it be so awesome if one day this melody and these lyrics that started in our little heads, if someone on the other side of the planet knew them, and that’s what happened! We had the biggest dream come true moment!”
Q: What else have we got to expect from A1? Ben: “The Boys Are Back tour next year, a new album, then booking in more and more concerts and we love doing the full hour and a half concerts with all the songs that fans want to hear. They don’t just wanna hear the hits, they wanna hear all the album tracks, all the B sides and everything like that.”
Christian: “It’s quite mind blowing that people still want to hear us all over the world. Over the years A1 has become a bit of a side project for us, but now it’s taken over as the main project for all of us.”
So there you have it, it’s official. There’s still plenty more of A1 to come!
The Reunion Show As the gig was completely sold out, this meant the venue at the London o2 Islington Academy was completely jam packed with excited fans! Both newcomers (including partners that had clearly been dragged along to the event, admit it you know you had a great time!) and original fans from all twenty years ago. Originally, a support act was planned to get the crowds ready for the main event! However due to unforseen circumstances there was a cancellation of their appearance. However many didn’t mind as this meant that A1 were due to come on stage earlier in the evening.
Around 9pm, the lights dimmed, a screen at the back of the stage displayed a variety of graphics and a gentle accapella tone could be heard, Yep! This was it! Time for Ben, Paul, Mark and Christian to open their long awaited reunion show! The band opened their show by performing before even appearing on stage with their beautiful ballad ‘Forever In Love’. As the track faded out they appeared on stage with lots of enthusiasm as they continued on to perform one of their biggest hits ‘Same Old, Brand New You’ with original chorepgraphy while under bright flashing lights, which was quite something to see!
The band went on to perform ‘Be The First To Believe’ and ‘Summertime’ before taking a moment out to talk to the audience and welcome back Paul to the line up. He proved to be very popular with the audience and all were glad to see him return. He was applauded and met with screams and a lot of appreciation. Marazzi then introduced a song of his choice that he was really looking forward to perform back with the rest of the band. And he made a good choice (yes, slight pun there), he chose the title track from their third studio album ‘Make It Good’. All four members interacted with the fans with such ease, continuously checking in with everyone there, asking where fans had travelled from, encouraging interaction through choreography, the works!
Of course we got to hear all of the hits as expected which included ‘No More’, ‘Everytime’ (which was met with a room of swaying lights from torches on mobile phones), ‘Ready Or Not’ and many more, but when the band had told me in their interview before the show that they had tried to fit in everything, they weren’t joking around. I’ve never been to a live show for a band where they have managed to perform as many tracks as A1 did there that evening. One clever way to fit in so many of their songs was to perform a medley, but no ordinary medley. They titled this selection of tracks ‘The Songs We Never Did’ a play on words referring to their track ‘The Things We Never Did’. This medley included ‘Here Comes The Rain’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Make It Through The Night’ (which was brought to an abrupt, yet amusing end as singer Ben decided he “didn’t like that one much”), ‘Learn To Fly’, ‘Living The Dream’, When I’m Missing You’ as well as a the more upbeat songs ‘Hey You’ and a snippet of a personal favourite album track of mine ‘Scared’. You see? They really did put in a lot of effort to get everything in, which of course went down very well with the audience there that evening.
For the majority of the medley,the four members were sat on stools, and one band member decided to share what we were all thinking during this segment of their set. Yes, Ben Adams made that very obvious musical link to Irish based band Westlife. In his own words he announced “I can see why Westlife like to do this!”. This simple and amusing statement was met with a huge roar of laughter from the crowds stood before him.
What was great to see was that the band performed the songs that the UK fans know very well and love too, however to show how they have progressed as musicians they also showcased some of their material that was released in other parts of the world which included their singles ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You Again’, ‘In Love And I Hate It’, their latest release – the beautifully written ‘Armour’ and also a brand new track which was exclusive to their UK reunion shows. The new song ‘Can We Go Back’ is very personal to all of the band members as it is a song about looking back on past fond memories. This composition was so exclusive that we were politely asked not to film or record them while performing it.
In an attempt to round off the night’s performance A1 performed one of their biggest hits to date, ‘Caught In The Middle’ before then exiting to the right side of the stage. I say an attempt to bring the evening to a close, as everyone there that evening had realised that there were a couple more very well known A1 hits that hadn’t yet been mentioned. The entire audience were very much in demand of hearing more music as the room was taken over by fans chanting “We want more!” and “three more songs!” As we had anticipated Paul, Mark, Christian and Ben returned to the stage once more to perform an encore segment of their set. This segment included the stunning ‘Like A Rose’ and most likely their biggest hit to date ‘Take On Me’ which brought the show to an actual close.
This show had everything that I had expected it would, great music at a huge variety, fantastic lighting and graphics on stage, amazing audience interaction, nostalgia for many and most importantly four happy, energetic and very talented band members that fans clearly still adore twenty years on! All A1 band members, management and their families should feel incredibly proud of these reunion shows, not just in the UK but all around the world. And I for one am so excited to hear new material from them in the future! Thank you A1 for being “The Same Old, Brand New You”.
London based band Bears Den stopped off on their ‘So That You Might Hear Me’ tour at the legendary venue Sheperd’s Bush Empire, in which is a very important place for them as noted during the show as one member was formerly an employee at a local pub just along the same road as the venue. Both London shows were sold out and it was their last UK show before jetting off to play all over Europe.
Arriving at the venue with a capacity of 2000, the room is filled with excitement from the crowd. Whilst patiently waiting for the first act Tusks to arrive on stage, people were sipping at their beverages , chatting amongst themselves with many also observing the merch stall.
The stage was lit with blue lighting with a gentle haze of smoke while two vintage styled rugs were seen covering the floor. Around 8:00pm, the lights began to dim and support act Tusks took to the stage. Tusks is actually the stage name for performer Emily Underhill. Her style of music is most suited to an electronic indie pop genre. Her sound can be likened to that of London Grammar. The artist expressed that she was very grateful to be supporting Bears Den and especially for two consecutive nights as it is a venue she has always dreamed of performing in. Her set showcased a total of six songs including the single ‘Be Mine’, which is featured on her new album that is due for release in June. She was well received with the crowd who were now really looking forward to the headliners.
The stage was cleared quite quickly and was all set up for Bears Den. With guitars all ready and also a little wooden piano. As the lights dimmed they had the most nostalgic sci-fi style intro as the Terminator theme tune played them in. The duo walked on with four supporting musicians. It was still pretty dark with just a few white lights that focused on the band from below as they played their first song ‘Fuel On The Fire’. Shortly after, their second song of the evening saw singer Andrew Davie said how great it was to play the venue again and that we do have more songs to play. The crowd swayed and danced during the performance. When playing ‘Sophie’ the band turned off all equipment and came to the front of the stage and asked for complete silence and kept it simple with an acoustic rendition of the song. They also performed an unplugged song in the crowd later on in the show which was ‘Blankets Of Sorrow’.
When performing, ticket holders enjoyed singing the lyrics along with the band. Bears Den played a wide range of new and classic songs which included music from their latest album which was only released this month (April 2019). The album is due for release just a few short days after this gig at Sheperd’s Bush. Band member Andrew toasted the show with a shot and expressed a huge thank you to everyone who has supported them over the years.
At the end of the evening the band brought their show to a close with probably one of their biggest hits to date. ‘Agape’. It was the perfect way to end the evening. You can catch the band on their European tour and also at Citadel Festival in London on 14th July 2019.
There is one thing that is guaranteed every August bank holiday weekend in London, if you want to hear good electronic music, you go to South West Four which takes place in Clapham Common. Now in its 11th year, the SW4 brand has skyrocketed and sells out year after year bringing to London the best electronic music acts the world has to offer.
This year was no exception with Faithless, Eric Prydz, Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, Gorgon City and more taking over Saturday. On Sunday the likes of Skrillex, Armin Van Buuren's Gaia, Carl Cox, Loco Dice, Martin Garrix, Sigma and more had the crowds stomping like never before.
The other thing you can pretty much guarantee on in a August Bank Holiday is the rain! Foutunately for us on Sunday, it stayed overcast most of the day and the rain held off.
This year SW4 had grown with a new arena and immediately you could feel that the grounds were a bit busier with the extra capacity than previous years. Sunday headliner Skrillex took to the main stage just after 9pm with a massive LED screen setup that was displaying images from camera's pointed at his equipment and of the crowd in front of him. A ever popular drawcard, Skrillex kicked off with his remix of Red Lips whilst managing to scale the setup to stand upon a platform and address the crowd to go crazy! Tracks like the commercially popular 'Where r u now' have the crowd singing and bouncing to the drum and bass sound that Skrillex has mastered over the years. With the day turning into night, pyrotechnics going off above the stage, and a massive crowd adorning the main stage Skrillex brought to a close another successful weekend in SW4's history.
Earlier on in the day the crowd was treated to some high energy performances on the main stage by Basement Jaxx, Martin Garrix, Sigma & Gaia. Basement Jaxx's full band and ensemble was a pleasure to watch as they belted out hits like 'Romeo', 'Do your thing' and crowd pleaser 'Where's your head at'. Martin Garrix treated the crowd with a typical arms in the air performance playing out hits like 'Latch', 'Cant Feel My Face', 'How Deep is Your Love', 'Animals' and more. Sigma brought their full setup to the SW4 main stage and did not disappoint. Their performance was a highlight of the day and with a raft of hits well known to the audience, Sigma was the perfect mid afternoon act to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Tunes like 'Higher', 'Show Me Love', 'Glitterball' & 'Nobody to Love' kept the crowd bouncing through the performance.
Armin Van Burren brought the debut of his Gaia show to SW4 and it was quite different to Armin's previous performances. Resembling what can only be described as as a Star Wars Jedi in a hooded robe, both Armin and Benno De Goeji step up to the raised stage creating quite the mysterious atmosphere. This is not an extravagant performance but musically its trance at its finest and the crowd reciprocates by dancing and applauding tunes like 'Tuvan', '4 elements' and more. Its quite refreshing to see a performance that is purely about the music with some decent visuals to match. There is no hands in the air or jumping on decks to get the crowd going, its two guys playing great tunes!
Elsewhere at SW4 Carl Cox and Loco Dice went back to back in the DJ Mag arena which was full from start to end. It's always a given that if Carl Cox is playing you know what to expect from the big man. His bouncing behind the decks and his driving bass heavy tune selection always whip the crowds into a frenzy.
Example took to a smaller stage in the Together arena and with the crowd up against all walls of the tent, it was easy to see that he has a massive following at SW4 having performed multiple times over the previous years. You could feel the heat pouring out the gaps in the tent as Example treated the crowd to 'Watch the sun come up', 'Kickstarts' & 'Changed the way you kiss me'.
So another bank holiday weekend over and yet again another brilliant time at SW4. If you need an electronic music fix next year in the August Bank holiday weekend then I suggest you get your tickets as soon as they are released for this ever popular festival.
Last night Fierce Panda hosted their Summer Showcase in The Oak Room at Covent Gardens 'The Hospital Club; comprising of two of their signings, 'LONGFELLOW' and new signing, ''MASAKICHI'.
Having heard their new single, 'Spring' on Soundcloud I was eager to see 'Masakichi' live, to see if they were able to recreate the dynamic range from their released tracks, and put simply- I was not disappointed. The five piece from London played a flawless set from start to finish, combining soft droning verses with shatteringly heavy choruses, laced with tonnes of groove and subtle uses of compound time signatures, the harmonies between Hannah Cartwright and Hattie Williams really polishing off what was a tight, and solid performance.
If you are like me, and you can't really listen to vast amounts of Post-Rock instrumental bands without yearning for vocal melodies and harmonies, I would recommend checking out Masakichi. Their instrumental arrangements have all the epicness and dynamism of atmospheric Post-Rock, while filling the void often left by other bands through their use of melodic vocal lines, and harmonies.
Their Album is out September 18th, and can be pre-ordered from Fierce Panda Here.
LONGFELLOW, an established Fierce Panda act took to the stage shortly after, and cracked straight into a set full of incredibly well written, upbeat pop songs from their latest release. Having been blown away by Masakichi's set, I had high expectations for Longfellow. Although I wasn't disappointed by their performance, I felt that there was a lack of emotion and passion during the first half of their set, their cover of 'Elastic Heart' by Sia not managing to capture the raw emotion of the original and falling into the back of the room, Owen Lloyd's vocals unfortunately getting lost in the arrangement.
New single 'Choose' introduced a welcomed melancholy and emotional track into their set which really stood out and addressed my prior issues, the downbeat song really conveying the pain of emotional stalemate and cyclical relationship routines in a raw pop song. Ending their encore with 'Medic', Longfellow managed to prove themselves as a versatile act, thoroughly dismissing my prior reservations, and providing me with songs stuck in my head while on the train home.
Longfellow's New EP is available to pre-order from Fierce Panda Here.
Field Day Sunday catered to a more rock and alternative following with a mix of new up-and-coming bands to legends including Patti Smith and Ride. Although the day did not sell out, it provided much more overall engagement from the artists which led to some stellar standout performances.
Brooklyn shoe-gaze group DIIV (named after a Nirvana song) formed in 2011 and have since released a debut LP. Looking like they just rolled out of bed, DIIV debuted some new unheard material on the Eat Your Own Ears Stage that sounded promising but slightly missed the mark. Fortunately, they redeemed themselves with playing older, more well known tracks including ‘How Long Have you Known’ and ‘Doused’, both of which received a warm reception from the crowd.
A quick sprint to the Verity stage left some time to catch up-and-coming London alt-rock trio Happyness who lit up the stage with their humble persona and chilled guitar sequences.
Mac DeMarco is known to always put on a good show and he definitely did not disappoint on the last date of their tour. The constant banter between the band-mates and the crowd led to lots of laughter and eventually to Mac crowd surfing over most of the Eat Your Own Ears stage to rapturous applause. The set did get awkward at times, especially when the band’s guitarist, Andy, got hit square in the face with an orange but this did not deter the band from delivering standout tracks including ‘Brother’, ‘Salad Days’ and a spur of the moment rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ by bassist Pierce (whilst Andy’s guitar was fixed). Love song ‘Together’ and a guitar solo from Andy finished off the set and left the crowd disappointed that it was over.
The former frontman of 90s Britpop favourites Supergrass, Gaz Coombes delivered a stellar solo set at the Shacklewell Arms tent. Having released 2 critically acclaimed LPs since going solo, it was of no surprise that Supergrass seemed like a distant memory. Tracks ‘20/20’ and ‘Break The Silence’ were met with strong appreciation and the meaningful and moving track ‘The Girl Who Fell To Earth’ cemented Gaz Coombes as a musician who is capable of anything.
Photos by Carolina Faruolo
Punk-rock legend Patti Smith was a well-received addition to the Field Day line-up. Performing her 1975 album ‘Horses’, the crowd felt every emotion possible – there were smiles, hugs and even tears by the end of the set. The most tear-jerking moment was towards the end of ‘Horses’ when Patti Smith paid tribute to lost musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed and Brian Jones amongst others including John Nash. To the crowd’s surprise, more tracks were played including a splendid cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ to finish and ultimate crowd pleaser ‘Because the Night’.
Another up-and-coming indie group, five-piece Londoners Gengahr filled the Verity tent with a smooth, easy listening sound perfect for the summer weather. Echoing vocals and clever time sequences showed the crowd that they are full of surprises and do not hesitate to push the boundaries, however small or large they might be. Gengahr are definitely a band to watch.
London’s Savages caused quite a buzz around Field Day as they had not played a UK show for quite some time but they truly stood out. Tearing up the Shacklewell Arms stage to a packed out crowd, front woman Jehnny Beth oozed confidence and cool, crowd surfing through the audience and fuelling the already rowdy crowd to get even rowdier. ‘City’s Full’ kicked off the set with new material quickly following. Jehnny informed the crowd of a new record in the works and vented her frustration of the current political climate with a short, snappy track – ‘Fucker’ and ended the set with gritty track ‘Husbands’. From what we saw of today’s set, Savages will only keep getting better and better.
Dutch 24-year-old Jacco Gardner sounds (and looks) like something straight from the 60s with his echoing high vocals and psych-pop guitar melodies. Playing the Verity tent to a packed out crowd, Jacco Gardner’s vocals sadly got lost at times and therefore did not have the same effect as on record.
Ride’s headline set was a big deal – it was a reunion. Their debut album ‘Nowhere’ still holds the status as one of the best shoe-gaze albums (and one you should listen to before you die!). This was their first gig together as a full band in twenty years, which led to a lot of emotional people in the crowd at the Eat Your Own Ears stage. Ride played so tightly together that you never would have guessed they ever broke up. Career-spanning tracks played included ‘Birdman’ and ‘Leave Them All Behind’, which closed this year’s Field Day.