Last Saturday saw a trip down to London Town for a small music festival in the London Bridge area. The festival consisted of Grime & Hip hop in the early afternoon, followed by Indie & pop and then dance music. So best of all worlds from my point of view.
An early get up, to first drive down to Croydon to park up at a mates house to then get the train into London. The drive down was uneventful, but I did give a first proper listen to John 00 Fleming’s new compilation album ‘JOOF Editions Vol 3’ a 4 hour compilation, so it was going to take the journey down and back to get through the whole album. The usual holdups on the M25 were there, I arrived about 11:15
A quick catch up with a mate followed by an Uber and then the train into London Bridge. As a Brummie who hasn’t been into London for about 2 years, forgive me as I got very excited at the simplicity of train travel in the capital now. Just slap your contactless bank card on the ticket reader on the gate, and you’re through, repeat at the other end and for you’re journey back and TfL charge you once for your full days travel depending on where your card has been scanned. Brilliant, for anyone who knows me well, you’ll know I loathe queuing, so this was mind blowing. Haha.
Being a typical tourist type before the music took place:
Upon arrival to London Bridge we had a couple of beers whilst waiting for others to arrive. Not paying to much attention to the grime/hip hop artists (sorry) whilst having a conversation about the Greggs menu (started from forgetting what yum yum’s were called) and awaiting the arrival of others. The Greggs conversation had clearly got the stomach rumbling so it was time to head off and get some grub, not from Greggs, obviously.
Borough Market, wow. and I thought Digbeth Dining Club was ace. Borough Market is a foodie heaven, street food vendors everywhere. Upon doing a tour of the area, we finally settled on some Sausage Burgers and some cakes. Now our stomachs were lined, and we’d all successfully managed to not get food all over ourselves, it was off to meet more people before returning back to the venue.
This was the point where the ales and cocktails began to flow, again contactless being both a life saver and a demon all at the same time. I was not looking forward to seeing my bank balance come Monday morning. So let’s get on with reviewing some music!
It’s worth noting I had never heard of any of these bands before, so no expectations or research going into this. The Dunwells like everyone on the bill we’re up and comers. Apparently booked to support James Blunt on his upcoming tour, make of that what you will, the Dunwells provided a typical indie sounding soundtrack that didn’t do anything new or groundbreaking. If you’re into this sort of scene you’ll know what to expect. If they manage to stay relevant in the next 10 years, then they will have done well, otherwise and it pains me to say it, most will probably have to return to the rat race or find other gigs as touring musicians for other artists down the line, hopefully however, this sort of write up, if they ever see it, encourages them to prove people like me wrong. Not that I claim to be any kind of expert anyway!
Perhaps even less known than the previous band, Michael Baker is a standalone musician. It’s always difficult to not like guys that do this kind of stuff. Thoughtful, emotional lyrics and an acoustic guitar. People have been doing it for years, obviously if it’s not broke it don’t need fixing. Hopefully he’ll go on to become moderately successful as a solo artist or as a songwriter.
Arcaves are signed to the organisers of the festival, so it made sense to headline the Indie part, whilst bringing the crowd to their feet and getting some people dancing (a fair bit of alcohol had probably been consumed at this point, but that’s not to say they didn’t deserve it) The sound is a mix of Indie and Pop, some of the more signature tracks like Familiar Faces, to be honest, wouldn’t sound too out of place being performed by Katy Perry or Ariana Grande. A potential future, with the right team behind them.
I might have the order wrong here, by this point I was a little merry, and it was quite clear I wouldn’t be driving back to Birmingham the same night. The main reason we were here was to see Cass. Billed as an up and comer, Cass, actually is anything but. If you’ve heard of Cass & Slide, then you’ve heard of Cass. Authors of the dance scene classic ‘Perception’ ‘Glad I Ate Her’ and a 2001 Essential Mix, Cass is actually a veteran to the scene. With progressive/house/trance making a comeback in the underground dance scene, and producers actually making tracks with more thought and emotion again, it’s no surprise people like Cass are finding their feet again. He presented a deep mix that was perfect for the time of the evening, with some really out there stuff thrown in. Upon the final track, my ears perked up, as I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “My baby told me once, my baby told me twice, my baby told me three times, three times nice, please, please, PLEASSSE. Yes it was a remix of Mick Smiley – Magic. Which unless you’re a massive geek of the original Ghostbusters film, you’ll know it’s the part when all the ghosts get released from GBHQ and the coming on Gozer is signalled. Epic. It turned out afterwards that this is one of Cass’ own productions so keep an eye out for that.
Goldierocks who had been comparing the festival was up next and dropped down the house music vibes, her set I believe was cut short due to over running, I can’t remember if she was actually on before or after the video geeks, but for the sake of this review, we’ll assume before. I’m probably wrong. Video geeks provided a comedy/music based soundtrack using a number of pop/dance tracks with video edits to go along, it was well done, but to be honest, I’m not sure exactly how much was being done on the fly. Whilst these thing’s have their place at things like festivals, I don’t think they will ever really catch on, especially in an era where people are posting stuff like this to YouTube every day. I can’t actually remember if we saw Dan Grey or not, oops, but the urge for food meant we missed the headliner Justin Robertson, who we were actually keen to see, damn you alcohol.
At this point it was decided more food was required, so we walked off into the night to get more food and the train back to Crydon, where a much needed kip was had followed by another 2 hour drive back to Brum with a hangover from hell, but finishing of JOOF editions vol 3 made the journey bearable.
Oh and I burnt my poor head in the sun again, when will I learn….
Overall rating 5/5 Great day out.