- Published on Friday, 10 August 2012 15:49
As one of thousands of dissapointed revellers who attended the now defunct Bloc Festival at London's Pleasure Gardens just over a month ago, it is fair to say I looked ahead to last Saturday's Eastern Electrics festival with something more than simply mild trepidation. In fact, I was nervous. After all, Eastern Electrics, like Bloc, were taking a significant step up the promotional ladder, moving from the relative comfort of their inner city Bank Holiday and New Years Eve clubnights to the unforgiving, almost impractical world of the British festival. Every year the same not-so-rave reviews reverberate around London's streets: Lovebox was too wet, the sound at Field Day and SW4 was, once again, well below-par. Festivals and the capital, it would seem, don't really go.
That said, a forced venue change in April from the leafy, residential confines of Clapham Common (home to the aforementioned SW4) to the barren wastelands of North Greenwich meant things were looking up. And indeed, first impressions were encouraging. The sounds emanating from the tent closest to the entrance appeared full-bodied and loud, and the crowd, by now streaming onto the site in their hundreds, were cheerful and clearly up for it. With personal favourite Kerri Chandler on at the surprisingly early time of 4pm, there was only time for a quick pint before heading into the Black Atlantic tent. Greeted with the classic chords of MK's 'Burning' (was it MK's last track or Kerri's first?), this was already a party well into its groove. The tent itself was spacious, well set apart from potential areas of congestion and full, without feeling uncomfortable. Above all else however, the sound was impeccable. As Kerri brought in Julio Bashmore's 'Au Seve' to resounding clamours of appreciation, I found myself beaming at the systems' emphatic and crystal clear response. Despite having to adhere to the relative constraints of a 2 hour set, Kerri never once seemed phased, moving effortlessly from high-octane, yet still tasteful, moments of electro to his more familiar territory of rhythmic, groovy US house. Just as it looked like he was going to take things really deep, in came the timeless chimes of Rhythm Is Rhythm's 'Strings of Life to close proceedings in style.
MEOKO photo by Ben Douch
Following Kerri was Joy Orbison, a DJ and producer whose stock seems to grow exponentially by the week, and for all the right reasons. Keen to keep the transition as smooth as possible, Joy opted to open with his own slice of quintessential house, this time in the form of Celeda's 'Music is the Answer'. Once satisfied the crowd had had their honeyed fix, Joy set about implementing his own unique, eclectic take on contemporary dance music. Starting off housey, Joy's quickfire, yet seamlessly fluent mixing kept the crowd enthralled and bouncing from the off. As I slipped out to catch some of Andrew Weatherall, I made a mental note to return so as not to miss what would inevitably prove to be a rowdy climax. As one of the very few techno-leaning names on the lineup, I was curious to see how Weatherall would approach his set. Playing to a sparse crowd, Weatherall had fully embraced his role as warm-up DJ, laying down record after record of beautifully slow, funk-fuelled electronic disco, keeping his dedicated crowd swaying effortlessly. Back at Black Atlantic, Joy had moved into more urban, UK territory, flitting with consummate ease between full-frontal UK garage and a selection of his own and Boddika's most recent productions. As the militant, instantly recognisable vocals of 'Swims' crept into conscioussness, the thunder of approval nearly set the tent alight. After such extertion, it was time for a break.
MEOKO photos by Ben Douch
Enjoying a beer in the glorious evening sun, one could just about make out the figure of Jamie Jones replacing Azari & III on the main stage. Regardless of his increasingly commercial stature, Jones has always sparked a certain curiosity in me. Unable to resist, I ambled over and had a listen. Enjoyable if a little innocuous, I thought it wiser to use Jones' powers of polarisation and rejoin the 2020 Vision tent, where Anglo-Argentinian four-piece 2020 Soundsystem were well into the swing of their celebrated live performance. Extended periods of improvisation gave it a refreshing jam-session feel, with the band moving away from their disco-house roots and onto slightly darker, more acid tainted ground as the night wore on. As their energy on stage radiated onto the dance-floor, contemporary UK house poster boy Huxley was left with it all to do. And boy did he come through. Cut after cut of upfront, modern house had the public totally spellbound, vassals to his every electronic whim. Playing way beyond the scheduled 10pm cut off point, Huxley closed the festival with a barrage of hits, old and new. Another helping of Bashmore's 'Au Seve' ensured its tuneful melody remained ingrained in the mind for days after, while Armand Van Helden's 'You Don't Even Know Me' got a rare and very well-received airing.
MEOKO photos by Ben Douch
On all counts, Eastern Electrics fully delivered. Primarily of course the music was superb, and yet while I wouldn't dare retract from its cruciality, choosing, booking and having the artists perform to the best of their well-documented ability has got to be the easy part. From a logistical point of view, the layout of the site was devised intelligently, each of the three huge bars were well-staffed at all times, there was no overbearing security presence and a big screen on which to watch arguably Britain's most succesful night in Olympic history proved a more than thoughtful touch. The sound across the event was near faultless and never once did the festival feel overcrowded, merely busy and vibrant. Of course the sunshine played its part, but regardless this was an event that had clearly been honestly and professionally curated, with no eye for greed. Managing to catch a few passing words with Ralph Lawson and Damian Lazarus, both commented on how smoothly the day had gone – everything behind the scenes had been conducted in such an expertly fluid and relaxed manner. Essentially however, Eastern Electrics had merely stuck to their mandate; in exchange for payment they put on a day out to really, really remember. Unfortunately in London this is just so often not the case. I'm just glad, and still a little surprised, that Eastern Electrics managed to so brilliantly buck the trend with such modest and telling ease.
Words by Carlos Hawthorn
- Published on Friday, 27 July 2012 13:21
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 19:35
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…
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.
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”
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!
Words by Nick Maleedy
- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 00:25
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.
- Published on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 15:45
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…