Reviews/Previews

Lose Your Mind & Body To The Best Time You’ve Ever Had - MEOKO Review Hideout Festival

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Imagine… you’re lying on a warm beach next to your friends, all sipping cocktails (or very cheap Croatian vodka depending on your budget)…the sun glistens down on your skin whilst you reminisce about the previous night … the perfect song that dropped on a boat party as the sun set, the sight and sound of thousands of you cheering as the sun came up again over the club where you’d lost your mind and body to the best time you’ve ever had.

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You’re mentally preparing yourself for the next 19 hours of festival time.  This is a rare chance that allows you to take in the spectacular scenery; your eyes scan the view taking in a volcanic landscape, ashen hills that roll out of azure waters.  Watching last night’s revellers who still haven’t been to sleep yet languish in the shallow waters drifting in and out of consciousness, the gorgeous beats pound on about 20 metres behind you in the beach front clubs, all around there’s people laughing, chatting, dancing … the festival goer’s are in true holiday mode and now all that’s real is the vague happy memories of the previous nights and the promise of the events to come.

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This is the week that moved so fast yet stayed in the moment, that tore us apart and built us up again, it’s very own time and reality in the perfect hedonistic bubble – This is Hideout Festival 2012.

Not for the fainthearted, Hideout Festival on Zrce beach, Island of Pag is the place to come if you want to forget cold and wet Britain, your bank account, your name, and just dance until you collapse to some of the best artists in electronic music today.

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Croatia is hotly tipped as “the new Ibiza” (without the 16-euro-for-water price tag) with festivals all over the place every weekend of summer, Hideout is only its second year and is the most main-stream of these with a plethora of artists and genres ranging from dubstep and drum and bass to the deepest of house and pounding techno – basically, there’s something for everything and each artist is either a rising star or at the top of their game.  Headliners included Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Annie Mac, Skream and Benga, Skrillex, Sub Focus, Claude Von Stroke, Ben Klock, Maya Jane Coles, Damian Lazarus, Heidi, Kerri Chandler, Erol Alkan, Shy Fx, Simian Mobile Disco – the list just goes on and on: https://www.hideoutfestival.com/2012-line-up

We spent a week here as we didn’t want to miss pre-parties, post-parties, boat parties, pool parties as well as beach time and watersports….not forgetting the main event itself.  I’ll cover my highlights as frankly there were far, far too many good things I saw, heard, experienced and probably forgot, to mention all of them…

Thursday we enjoyed the most beautiful of sunsets at the Mono_Cult boat party, who played delicious grooves to an intoxicatingly happy crowd; including one of the best moments of a festival I have EVER experienced and will be unlikely to forget, as they played Joe Goddard’s remix of Nneka shining star as the last of the sun’s rays shone on the boat and the sky turned pink.

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On Friday the 29th we caught Kerri Chandler, always a crowd pleaser, play an extra long set at Kalypso which is a new venue of Hideout, at the far end of Zrce beach (ie only a five minute walk from the other two clubs).  Starting at midnight (early on for Hideout times) the club was already heaving with dancing semi-naked people making the most of the various stages and platforms, and Kerri lasted until four making sure he kicked the festival off with his fantastic soulful house.

 

What I hadn’t prepared myself for, was the fact I would actually venture over to and even ENJOY was the drum and bass that took over at Papaya, the largest club with huge stage which almost backs out onto the sea,  with an almost collesium like layout.   Sub Focus ensured every single person in the vicinity went wild with their dubstep influenced hits whilst Steppa played festival favourites including quite a few prodigy samples as the sun came up and it was pretty nice to see energetic dancing for a change instead of the generic fist pump.

 

Saturday was the most popular of the pool parties as Hot Creations took over the Papaya with Cera Alba, Richy Ahmed, Jamie Jones, Robert James and Seth Troxler.  The party was full of bassey summertime sounds and of course their classic deep house, but we had to leave early to ensure we boarded the Dirtybird Boat party.  Which, I can only describe as, was completely insane.  It was my favourite four hours of the festival by far with two of the loveliest DJ’s around, with Claude Von Stroke showing us exactly why he’s a master of dirty house, and man of the moment Eats Everything playing his already instant classics entrance song and the size, as well as his brilliant remix of Circles by Adam F.  These guys know how to have sweaty, dance-inducing fun, and after this event, Saturday become pretty blurry.

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Sunday was the long awaited Crosstown Rebels boat party, but with two headliners Maceo Plex and Damian Lazarus sadly not appearing (due to no fault of their own) we were unsure what the mood was going to be like…. but Richy Ahmed, the hero he is, more than compensated with his unique blend of genre-combining house that the crowd lapped up. Subb-Ann then stepped in playing some of the fantastic remixes he’s become famous for including the Noir and Haze classic Around, as well as smashing sun-down tracks like Jagged’s Hello Kool Nice (Quarion remix).  As we pulled into the town’s harbour, the boats lighting and the streetlights shimmering off the water, the music eventually had to fade but as the crowd yelled for more, Robert James led a beat-boxing finale.

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Later we watched Seth Troxler play my favourite set of the festival, intelligent to the needs of the crowd his house pounded through papaya ensuring nobody was going home before dawn with tracks from the like of Lee Curtis and Freks, indeed the crowd appeared trance-like in the maestro’s hand.

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Ricardo Villalobos played the last sunrise of the festival to a crowd that were still dancing and cheering like they would never leave, veering away from his infamous minimal to play more summery beats including remixes of the late Donna Summer’s I feel love and the kraftwerk remix of Whitney Houston’s I wanna Dance with somebody.  A fitting finale.

If you’re going to make the most of Hideout you will need buckets of stamina and an appetite for serious fun, and this festival won’t suit you if you’re not happy surrounded by sweating , good looking, happy and generally very nice brits; but in return for your endurance and cash you’re rewarded with so, SO much … perfect sunsets on the water; amazing open air clubs; euphoric pool parties; memorable sets from favourite artists and once in a life time, hands in the air sunrises; and ultimately what many say has been the best week of their lives … so there you have it.. Hideout 2013 awaits you.

Words by Rosa Devlin

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Street Feast in Dalston

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It was a typical Friday afternoon, counting the clock until the weekend finally begins, when we got the call for MEOKO to come and work at Street Feast, a weekly showcase of the finest street food London has to offer. Having already hosted separate sites in Shoreditch and Camden, we were keen to check out the latest location which they’ve secured every week over the summer months ahead.

Instantly upon arrival it was safe to say that Friday’s typical after-work drinks routine had just had a transformation, especially for the locals of Dalston. It was busy and bustling by 6.30, but with almost 20 different food stalls and a huge bar there was never too much of a queue. Aided by the super skilled staff, they’re efficient service meant our stomachs weren’t left rumbling for very long…

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Greeted with an array of sensational smells, the most difficult part of the evening was choosing which foods to taste from The Ribman, to Mama’s Jerk Station, to the Korean spectacle of Kimchi Cult. Eventually we started with Homeslice, which turned out to be some of the best Pizza we’ve tasted in London. Simple but gourmet ingredients on freshly hand rolled dough, cooked to perfection in their custom made wood fired oven. Next up was the turn of the brand new Roost Chicken Truck. We tried the buttermilk fried chicken and chorizo burger with watercress, aioli and chipotle ketchup served with crispy fried potatoes. The flavours were a delight and balanced perfectly with each other…the chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside whilst the aioli and chipotle ketchup added to the flavour from the chorizo. 

Our thirst was quenched by the huge Cocktail Bar with fresh beer on tap courtesy of Camden Breweries. Although pretty stuffed by this stage, after another delicious Cherry Rum Cocktail we couldn’t resist trying something from the Vinn-Goute Seychelles inspired street food stall. Speaking to the charismatic frontman of the stall Khristopher Adelaide, our mouths were left watering for a taste of their famed Octopus Curry. Blowing all expectations out the water, this truly authentic Seychellian dish was spicy, clourful and full of flavour. Besides the Octopus Curry, this family run stall also offer traditional but unique takes on Seychellian food that includes Parrot Fish Cakes, Tuna Fish Samosa’s, corn fed tropical marinated Chicken from the grill and an array of fish sourced from the Indian Ocean. Deserts were provided by Sorbitium’s home made and naturally churned seasonal ice creams and Molly Bakes’ delicate and delectable cup cakes.

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Street Feast founder and organiser, Dominic Cools Lartigue, filled us in on both the history and the future plans for the night: “Street Feast's mission is to inspire night market culture in London. We launched in Spring 2012 just off Brick Lane with a collection of the best indpendent street food traders in London. The reaction was overwhelmingy positive from the first week, and now three months later Street Feast is the biggest weekly night food market in London. Moving forward we are about to start a monthly residency in Portobello and Camden on Saturdays, while we will settle down in East London every Friday night. We have just secured an indoor venue to do Street Feast in the autumn/winter, so we can provide London with a weekly Friday night market all year round”

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As the sun set, the day slowly turned to night and an electrical atmosphere was left for all in attendance to enjoy. Besides the food there was live street art, table tennis and plenty of seating for friends and family to enjoy each others company, Looking around the friendly crowd we were met with smiling faces from both the satisfied customers and the welcoming staff. See you next week!

STREET FEAST ON FACEBOOK 

Words by Nick Maleedy

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BICEP VS 'YOU/DON'T" EP REVIEW

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Belfast-born, London-based tag team Bicep continue their ascendancy in today's house music circles with their most high-profile release to date, on UK tastemaker Will Saul's esteemed Aus imprint. You, made alongside fellow Northern Irish producer Ejeca, is reminiscent of Darwin, released on Throne of Blood this time last year, albeit a more controlled, mature affair. Dramatic, swirling synths coax the listener in, joined soon after by a rhythmic assortment of hi-hats and a thick, pulsating bassline. Interestingly, not a 4/4 kick drum in sight. As tension subtly builds, in comes the impassioned, ever unintelligible, female vocal, quick to establish itself as the record's lead and dominant component. Now forming a potent, cohesive whole, the track sets about further increasing the intensity, until finally it all gives way. The swirling synths vanish leaving nothing but a new, catchy percussive line and the unravelled vocal, which now at least appears to form an entire, still unquestionably emotive, sentence. The climactic power and intensity of this moment is striking. As the track draws to a close it retreats back into its original, ethereal shell; the only thing left to do is to start it again.

If You was Bicep's sentimental side poking through, then Don't (made in conjunction with Omar Odyssey, of Waze & Odyssey and Serge Santiago fame) conveys their 90s house inspired party-boy antics. The Stripper to their Darwin, so to speak. An extremely weighty, low-slung kick-bass combination drives the record, framed by a selection of various, tampered vocal excerpts and a long, drawn out synth line. A 30 second breakdown further displays Bicep's expert ability at building suspense, without ever feeling the need to overload the eventual drop. In this instance, rising synths and frantic chirps are stripped away, leaving the track's pervasive, solid groove to do its thing. This record isn't complicated and although much less ornate than You it works just as well within its own, more thumping, dance-floor context.

Closing the release, and on official remix duty, Panorama Bar's Steffi makes You her own, transporting it from its standalone, unique context and placing it within a more recognisable and considerably deeper setting. Essentially, she keeps elements of the vocal, adds a 4/4 and gives it the trademark Steffi bounce, all set against a backdrop of undulating, aurally gratifying synths. After the intensity and pounding purveyed by the previous two tracks, this closes the EP in a serene, pleasant manner. While props must be given to Ejeca, Omar Odyssey and Steffi for the parts they played, the plaudits must go to Bicep for expertly and coherently demonstrating just how versatile and interesting a pair of producers they are. Bicep have come of age; the future looks promising.

 

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Oval Space presents Bugge 'n' Friends Preview

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Oval Space open their doors this Thursday to the first in a series of exciting and unique events and installations following on from the success of their recent Wolf & Lamb, Claude Von Stroke, Body & Soul and Bonobo shows. A relatively new project, Oval Space is an evolving multi-use arts space set in the heart of Bethnal Green and boasts one of the finest views of London.

This Thursday sees them host infamous Jazz musician Bugge Wesseltoft presenting his new Bugge ‘n’ Friends outfit. Bugge established ‘The New Conception of Jazz’ in 1996 fusing his expansive background in Jazz with an experimental use of electronic club orientated music. His admiration for electronic music has seen him start this fascinating project blurring the lines between Jazz and House music.

Supporting him and his seven man band are Jazzanova’s Alex Barck, an affiliate of Sonar Kollektiv, and two very special DJ sets from Ashley Beedle, one warming up the night, and the other closing. Bugge’s band includes US House producer Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell, Blue Note trumpeter Erik Truffaz, Saxophonist Ilhan Ershain and a three piece rhythm section.

Doors open at 6pm for drinks on the spectacular terrace with performances beginning at 7.30pm. Expect the boundaries of both Jazz and House to be broken…

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This is no teddy bears picnic - Gottwood Festival Review

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If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise...bounding down into a small valley surrounded by a tall and beautiful forest, you notice the welsh puddles vibrating, the bass reverberating between the trees and a kaleidoscope of colours glowing in the depth of the woods. Twangs of every genre of electronic music begin to reach your ear drums, teasing you into the darkness of the forest, becoming clearer and clearer and evolving into luscious beats as strange figures emerge from the twilight, stumbling, laughing, and dancing into the night. 

This is no teddy bears picnic.  This is Gottwood 2012, and it’s seriously good.

As we trudged to set up our tent in the absolutely tiny campsite in the rain and mud on Friday afternoon (the festival began Thursday evening), I wondered how many spirits had been dampened by the rumours of flying tents and floods the night before, wondering if it had been such a good idea to drive for hours to get here...but my fears were unfounded.  After wondering about 20 steps from tent to forest it was quickly apparent that everyone was on a complete Friday high despite the inches of mud, all wooping and prancing beneath the tall trees. In the marquee named Summer Of the Wood, we caught rising stars The Other Tribe a six-piece group from Bristol (sound producing city of the year?) who combine British indie sounds and infectious electronic beats to produce dance-inducing vocal tracks including their summer anthem ‘Skirts’. 

Delving deeper into the forest we found the Boxford Caravan stage at the heart of the festival, in a grassy courtyard surrounded by stables and some random sofas, swings and haybales, was a caravan converted into a DJ booth, where we experienced one of the best sets of the festival; Max Cooper.  Really starting the night off (and for some climaxing it), Max is a man infamous for his intelligent techno .  Yet with heavy influences from all areas he produced a genre-smashing live set, killer remixes interweaved with beautifully melancholic originals, and he completely entranced the large crowd gathered beneath the caravan, in fact throughout the festival I heard punters continue to sing the praises of the set. Playing tracks from his new EP 'Mechanical Concussion' which were pounding and heavy; perfect for the growing crowd, his astutely altered and steadily building festival sets are guaranteed to get the crowd sweating, and this was no exception.

We staggered off having danced perhaps a little too excitedly for the first big set of the weekend to find Tiger and Woods hiding somewhere in the woods, and where we found them proved to be the most magical stage of the festival. Under a stone archway we walked through a small passage into a walled garden, which led to awe-inspiring RFID visual dome.  Not too big, very hot, and very magical, as soon as we entered we found people lying on the ground staring up at the starry night projected.  This was constantly changing to stunning visuals and colours that proved a completely surreal environment, perfect for Gottwood.  The set, like their brilliant 'Through The Green' album, was full of their classic disco vibes , combined with bass line tracks like ‘Just An Illusion' and the encore of fun and dreamily sampled ‘Gin Nation’, perfect for the intimate space that the duo devoured.

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Back to the marquee in the woods and It was soon time for what became my absolute favourite set of the festival...Huxley.  This man is at the forefront of the British electronic scene, combining his perfected house with home-grown garage, which has evolved into some kind of beautiful hybrid genre that is huge in the charts and clubs right now, and from his performance at Gottwood its clear to see why.  His music and remixes are infectious and incredibly danceable with a great track selection for the festival.  Highlights included his popular bass driven house tracks 'Box Clever' and the deeper and smoother 'Let it Go' which has been a favourite of 2012 so far.  He also dropped Bashmore’s 'Au Seve', perhaps the festival anthem of this year, which causes a raucous in the crowd, but not as much as his frequent samples of old school garage and early rave.  Mixing Liberty City’s 'If you Really Love Somebody' with 'Rhythm of the Night', the atmosphere soared sky high and culminated in a hyper young girl performing the splits on the DJ booth....make of this what you will, but it’s safe to claim that every single person in that tent was having the time of their life – Huxley included. This is the effect of a fantastic DJ, and in fact something that Gottwood seems to bring in general– it brings out the best in both artist and crowd to create an amazing electrified feeling.

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Huxley

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Late Saturday morning I woke to the shouts of the man with a megaphone pleading for rizzlers and other sodden necessities, which was quickly answered with friendly help.  So far, Gottwood’s crowds must be the friendliest I have known, perhaps it’s a combination of it being such a small festival with quite a hippy vibe, or perhaps it’s the freshness of the line up and diverse entertainment and setting - what ever it was, it worked.  New friends were continuously made, people stopped for chats with one another, everyone seemed happy to help those is need whether it be a spare rizzler, sharing warm cider or carrying an extremely messy person back to their tent.  I should also mention the fact that (for once!) security were absolutely lovely as were bar and festival staff.

We decided to explore our surroundings Saturday afternoon, and semi drunk frolicking in the forest ensued. Everywhere you looked there were random little tipis and huts, artwork, a tree house, make-shift tyre wings, a shisha bar, bunting and ribbons hanging from branches, bails of hail to fall into, and even a forest style sitting room complete with hammocks, 70’s style armchairs, and glowing lampshades strapped to the trees overhead.  Music started at 12.30 and we were more than happy to explore whilst listening to the sounds of rising stars and those already cemented in british electronic music, the crowds had already began to gather and dance already creating a buzzing atmosphere even within the rain, mud and hangovers of the night before.  People had gone to serious effort to create a unique and fun environment that fitted with the Summer of Love theme, but it was night time where the forest really shone.  The ambient lighting sent huge clusters of tree’s alive with colour, while thousands of fairylights lit up pathways and beckoned people to stages. 

Night time was truly magical at Gottwood and as you delved into different parts of the woods beats would ebb and fade until you found a stage filled with happy revellers, and on Saturday, the happiest of revellers could be found at Matanza’s live set in Summer of Wood tent, who epitomised the spirit of the festival, so popular in fact they played three times over the festival.  Their joyous and bouncy home-made South American beats made everyone dance and smile, influenced highly by their homeland, the band from Chile include influences from across the board of musical genres including rock and folk, which lends to the bands unique sound,  building to a euphoric crescendo that sent the Gottwood crowd wild.

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Louche 

Later Dinky received great reviews from her set in the Dome, the DJ has released on some pretty fabulous labels including Crosstown Rebels and Ostgut Ton, and her eight year residency at Panorama Bar has earnt her some serious credit – but her success is all of her own making due to her music which combines deep grooves and gorgeous melodies with quite heavy beats and funk, perfect for the personality of the dome and crowd within.

I’ve yet to mention The Stables, where we continuously stumbled in an out of.  An outhouse building that included some very talented and bass driven artists, we crammed ourselves into the tiny space, which because of this had some amazing acoustics, and some amazing artists to fill it.  The duo Disclosure are huge right now with their new kind of garage and bass music, and although the set wasn’t a stand out for me, they did play some anthemic old garage which the crowd loved, and their own tracks including the great Jessie Ware remix which has really proved the incredible talent of the guys.

The Stables

Stables

Heading back to Summer of Wood for Ed Solo, the man really stole the show in that place playing an intense mix of everything banged together, from hip hop and reggae with his own unique take on bass driven music including the dubby anthem ‘Age of Dub’.  Holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, people went completely mental. 

We also caught a bit of Groj in The Stables who had to fly back to Montreal a few hours after his set, which would have been hard after seemingly having a whale of a time ensuring punters entered a dance induced trance with his beautiful live set full of minimal and hypnotising melodies that built to a sublime climax, finishing the night perfectly, although many in The Stables seemed reluctant to leave.

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Groj

Sundays can be tricky at festivals, many people are hanging on by a thread, pennyless and extremely muddy – and Gottwood was no exception to this – but the festival embraced it, brought everyone together, and happily celebrated the last day of the unique event, even managing a sunshine filled afternoon.  We spent it dancing to Krankbrother artist’s WildKats who with their blend of grooving house and hints of 80’s disco, splashed with some luscious baseline, ensured the crowd fought through the impending thoughts of Monday and real life.  Sunlight on faces, raising their hands and hearts with woops of delight, and the sounds of squelching dancing through the mud; it was simply perfect.

Small means beautiful really fits the bill for this boutique electronic festival, combining the setting of a fantastical acid trip fairytale and the best of underground electronica, talented pioneering producers, and heavyweight masters of the current dance music landscape.   But as we know many festivals can have beautiful settings and a fantastic line up, but what sets Gottwood apart is the people and the incredible atmosphere they create; the vibes from this independent and unique event are unparalleled to any festival I have yet to attend.  In the festival guide the curators invited us to “be ready to embrace a weekend of the weird, wonderful and most importantly, colourful...Festivals will change for the better when we all elect to take part, to take responsibility – if we all come together”; and this is exactly what Gottwood was all about, highlighting the type of other-worldly home we would all be part of for the weekend to come, and what a weekend was in store for each of us, coming together to lose track of every day life and reality; becoming part of something truly special.

 

 Words and Pictures by Rosa Devlin Holmes.

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