Coma celebrated its first birthday at The Nest in Dalston with Rolando, James Ruskin and a Surface Records showcase that thundered through the basement club. It was a first visit to The Nest, opened in 2010, with its intimate atmosphere and a focus on progressive electronic music.
Soltek relocated from their residencies at London’s CAMP and the Gramaphone to a three-room night at Vauxhall’s Hidden for an end of summer party featuring heavyweight spinners Addison Groove and Dusky. The line-up also including J.Phlip, Ossie and Dexter Kane had clearly caught the interest of the house heads as there was still a queue to get in past 1am, while inside the pumping bass was throbbing through the trio of arches and stirring up the dancefloors.
The South West Four Weekender party vibe continued right through to the early hours of Monday morning with Pete Tong, Sasha, Scuba, Eats Everything, Dyed Soundorom and Eli & Fur behind the decks at The Electric Brixton. The afterparty kicked off before the dust had even settled on the day festival down the road in Clapham, and the atmosphere was just as lively with many revellers doing both along with an injection of fresh-faced ravers.
In Groundhog Day, a weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again. Similar to SW4 reviews which find themselves regurgitating the same standard form year after year – fantastic hard hitting line-up, let down by a limp sound system (thanks to local licensing restrictions). Yet each year young clubbers are lured back by promises of PA companies and noise consultants. Like returning to an ex, we all know it will end in rank disappointment – somehow the promise to change makes us convince ourselves may all be different this time.
Eastern Electrics made the leap from night time warehouse parties to a daytime festival with a hugely successful debut at Area 12 in Greenwich. Picking the mid-Olympics weekend proved to be a bonus too: London was abuzz with events all over the capital as well as Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah set to compete in what would be dubbed Team GB’s Super Saturday. With so much goodwill, all the Eastern Electrics crowd needed was a soundtrack to their day, and they were well served with Jamie Jones, Julio Bashmore, Nina Kraviz, Damian Lazarus, MK, Crazy P and Azari & III on stage throughout the day.
Boutique festival Farr basked in a rare weekend of sunshine as the niche two-day event had a third year to be proud of at the end of July. Deliberately kept small and on the down-low, there was no lacking in atmosphere as the party in Bygrave Wood, Hertfordshire raged from Friday through to the early hours of Sunday morning with house, disco, drum and bass and live acts taking to the five stages.
Every year what seems to be a large faction of the global music industry descends on Barcelona in June to enjoy the three-day Sonar festival. Whether at Sonar itself or many of the Off-Sonar parties, the city becomes a 24 hour party playground. Sonar itself has reached its 19th year by booking forward-thinking electronica bands and DJs alongside some of the superstars past and present to build a loyal following. We take a look back over the festival with a report on each of the Sonar events, kicking off with Sonar By Day on the Thursday.
Lovebox was meant to be a total washout – 70mph winds and torrential rain – festival goers were in for a weekend of trench foot and dysentery. Hundreds, possibly thousands would perish, or so the met office would have liked to have said. Anticipating a flood of truly biblical proportions I even went and purchased some wellies (Primark, naturally), but thankfully they weren’t needed in the end. The weatherman and his scheming cronies were wrong and this rather brilliant little festival had the sunny backdrop it so deserved for its 10-year anniversary.
No amount of rain could dampen the atmosphere for new Bristol festival Love Saves the Day as 8,000 revellers filled Castle Park for the day. There had been mixed forecasts, and the night before had been torrential rain, but the sun was shining from the morning so there were high spirits felt. Tickets sold out months ago and demand had been high to get hold of any spares with Jamie Jones, Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff, Joker, Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound, Zoom T and Maya Jane Coles set to perform. As a zap! bang! Magazine crew of three wandered towards the main gate, we made a pact to focus on the music and good times to see where the day would take us.
mulletover brushed the January blues away with their first party of 2012 in East London. The packed-out warehouse space in Netil House was like an oven by midnight as revelers vied for space on the dancefloor in the dark, cavernous room. So often the home to London’s top underground offerings, mulletover continued the buzz of its New Year’s Eve party with Bloc to keep an energetic crowd dancing until the early hours.
Eager clubbers keen to start working off their Christmas bellies got an early opportunity to hit the dancefloor on Boxing Day as Electric Brixton hosted a showcase for Luciano’s Cadenza Records. Arkitekt & LWE took over the newest club in London for the night – still looking fresh it was packed with minimal house and techno fans as the bass boomed through the speakers and sets from Reboot, Robert Dietz and Mirko Loko b2b Cesar Merveille kept the crowds moving until the early hours.
Eric Prydz took the lead for the second day of the inaugeral Together Winter Music Festival at Alexandra Palace. He was the main attraction with his final EPIC (Eric Prydz Live in Convert) show of the year as more than 30 live acts and DJs performed at the historic London venue on Saturday, November 26th. With thousands flocking to see their favourites, there was a lively atmosphere as the all-nighter kept music fans dancing across four arenas.
The Bloc team linked up with Bristol’s In:Motion series of clubnights for a night of dubstep, techno, acid and house across three rooms at the city’s skate park. With lauded artists across such a varied spectrum of music it was a reminder of the impressive array of acts Bloc has become famous for booking but we will have to wait until July next year to see the festival back in action after moving from its March date of five years.
Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label celebrated 15 years with a Halloween birthday party at London’s Great Suffolk Street Warehouse on Saturday, October 29th. Sets from the label’s roster including Joesph Capriati, Paul Ritch, Alan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Siech and Beyer himself were given a visual boost with the final appearance of Beyer’s Maze show before it goes on a global tour next year.
50,000 revellers descended on the Isle of Wight’s lush Robin Hill Country Park for the biggest-ever Bestival with an impressive line-up of acts old and new ranging from Bjork, The Cure and Brian Wilson right through to the emerging talents of Ghost Poet, Nero and Lone. A few adjustments to the site layout, a big investment in sound quality and a variety of spaces to lose yourself in ensured a wealth of fun while the dire weather predicted held off for a surprisingly dry event that brought a smile to all.
Now a firm fixture on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the two-day dance festival is has become a final summer party for the London-based Ibiza lovers as well as the more casual raver. Attracting many of the biggest names and promotions from the clubbing world, there was no doubting the intentions of the organisers to wow the crowds, it was just a little disappointing that the issues of restrictive sound levels prevent all the stars of the show shining as brightly as they should.
The Big Chill has had a transformation of sorts since being bought by Festival Republic in 2009. Last year the site was re-arranged and the atmosphere changed dramatically as a younger crowd appeared at the Eastnor Castle site eager to enjoy an increased dance music presence. While families were still out in force, the kids area seemed tacked on and there was a sense the artist element of Spencer Tunick’s painted naked festival bodies was added for media interest rather than serious aficionados. This year Creative Director and co-founder Katrina Larkin had no hand in the creation of the event as she resigned last November, leaving the Big Chill in the hands of Melvin Benn’s Festival Republic. The result was a Big Chill in transition and, while beautiful to look at, lacked the atmosphere and unique artistic qualities that had made it so unique.
Pendulum, Chase & Status, Tinie Tempah, Underworld and Eric Prydz headlined this year’s new-look GlobalGathering as ravers bonded over two days at Long Marston Airfield in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The annual festival entered its second decade following a triumphant 10th birthday in 2010 and zap! bang! Magazine’s GlobalGathering veteran Laura Smith was there to experience the dance-fan delight.
Balkan-themed music festivals are quite the rarity, as are ambitious small events that seek to expand. Underhill was both of those – and despite an approach that may not have glistened with glossy production it more than made up with a warm and welcoming vibe absent from many modern festivals. While the Balkan stage hosted acts from the UK scene, Bristol and Bournemouth promotions provided the DJs over two further tents in a Wiltshire field with Erol Alkan, Martyn, Alex Metric and Round Table Knights among the leading names performing. It didn’t quite go to plan at times, though the amateur mistakes could easily be avoided if Underhill Festival returns next year.
The sun shone for the first day of the Lovebox music festival in East London as revellers kicked off their weekend early on Friday, July 15th. The Wombats, Example and Metronomy took top billing on the main stage but while there was plenty more to see dotted around the site in Victoria Park, many of the crowd left disappointed after crowd issues meant the stage featuring Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke had to be closed early.
Food came top of the festival menu on Clapham Common when Jamie Oliver’s first Big Feastival took over the London greenspace. For three days 15 pop-up restaurants from across the capital served up tasters of their finest dishes while avid cooks learnt from the pros in live demos in The Big Kitchen or picked up ingredients and tips from expert across the site. Two stages of music ensured this family friendly event had a soundtrack to help the food go down and all proceeds went to The Princes Trust and The Jamie Oliver Foundation to help disadvantaged young people. zap! bang! Magazine built up an appetite to visit The Big Feastival and see how Jamie Oliver’s first foray into festival territory was served up.
Manchester’s Parklife festival expanded to two days this year and couldn’t have had two more contrasting days of weather as glorious sunshine greeted revellers on Saturday then the heavens opened on Sunday for a mud bath. It didn’t put anyone off getting along to the sold out event though and partygoers were just as happy splashing around in the mud as they were basking in a sunbeam. zap! bang! Magazine’s Mike Barnard was there to see Parklife in action.
Another year, another attempt to catch as many bands as possible across 30+ venues in three days, when most gigs happen at the same time in the evening. That is The Great Escape, part of what makes it what it is, even if it’s a bit annoying at times. However, this year’s lineup had less absolute must sees for zb! and unlike last year we avoided the big events at The Dome run in conjunction with the main Brighton festival (DJ Shadow, Friendly Fires, Sufjan Stevens), meaning that the few of them could mostly be achieved, as well as investigating others- some tipped but some unknown. Let’s not get carried away that the format allows for the same amount of bands as would an all day festival- but it’s not even £50 a ticket so you can’t complain on that front. Anyway, here’s what we got up to and what we thought of it…
Eastern Electrics returned to the arches of Great Suffolk Street Car Park with mulletover, Bloc and Deviation providing the talent for the May bank holiday revellers. DJ Koze, James Holden and Virgo Four were among the acts providing the techno, house and heavy bass sounds, thought there was some dubious choices of attire on the night.
Closing Club Uncut on opening night at the Pavilion Theatre were Brooklyn art-jam troupe Gang Gang Dance, who delivered an engaging hour-long set fuelled by pounding tribal rhythms, uplifting instrumentation and electronic atmosphere. Led by the varied vocals and charismatic presence of frontwoman Lizzi Bougatsos, the group offered some material from new record Eye Contact but whether newer or older the music focused on a rhythmic base and captivated brcause of it.