Shoreditch Park, N1
added: 4 Sep 2012
// gig date: 1 Sep 2012
reviewer: Victoria McKinney
For the past two months, I’ve seen flyers and posters all over the place for the 1-2-3-4 Shoreditch Festival. I think I’ve even seen one in a toilet somewhere. Despite there being a hot girl on the front every-time, the line-up was enough to be excited.
Now, the idea of a rock festival being held in Shoreditch Park was less convincing. How they planned to cram thousands of people was a reason to be curious. How many stages would there be? Would there be a cloakroom? Would there be food? God, forget about cigarettes, would there be beer?! I felt my brain spin at all these questions, wondering if signing up for this was a bad, bad idea.
As it happens, the park was perfectly adequate in size. And since we are on the trend of concluding remarks, the festival itself was also pretty bloody good. In fact, it far outstripped my expectations. Far from being a dingy little shindig that gives sometimes brilliant, sometimes arrogant folk of a certain part of East London a chance to ‘chillax, man’, this was a full-on explosion of musical talent.
Despite being told I was put on the guest list, I strutted up to the ticket booth and gave them my name. When the guy shuffled through his papers and gave me a shake of the head, I bowed my head in shame. A meme popped up into my head. I was allowed through, like some over-eager child inviting themself to a party.
There were six stages in total. The main stage was devoted to the ‘big guns’ – bands such as Deap Valley, Buzzcocks and Iceage, while the rest had an interspersion of acts. The curators of the 1-2-3-4 would have you believe there was some degree of variety between the five rock stages, in fact they were united by one single goal – cracking music.
I arrived at about 3:30pm, intending to see Atomic Suplex on the Artrocker New Blood Stage. I’d seen them about a week earlier at the Old Blue Last and just had to witness their awesomeness again. The only problem was, I didn’t get to see them. I couldn't find the tent. So perhaps better signposting next time?
Anyway, walking around a bit (and discovering on-site cash machines that charge two-bloody-eighty for withdrawals) I found the dance tent. I arrived in time to an almost empty space to watch Young Montana? give a DJ/VJ performance, I felt the entire set was pure hotness. For a whole hour, I forgot I was carrying a 30kg backpack and my skateboard. Unbelievable bass in the music; a little bit of techno, little bit of garage.
Conscious that getting a press pass doesn’t mean I can live it up in techno-land, I watched the Eagulls on the Loud & Quiet Stage. This time, the tent was totally packed; and deservedly so. The Leeds boys gave an unbelievably sexy performance. Following this and some rad katsu curry from the food stalls, a guy I met with dreadlock hair dragged me onto some fairground rides. Not sure that was such a good idea. Actually, pretty certain it wasn’t.
My internal organs mashed, but thankfully my food still in place, I watched The Neat on the Artrocker New Blood Stage. This punk mash-up from Hull were very cool, slashing out tunes such as In Youth is Pleasure , Carmex, Hips and GOODINBED. They didn’t blow me away like the Eagulls, but this is purely down to musical preference; sitting here and comparing bands is beyond the point. They were equally sound; in fact the music across the whole festival was painfully good.
As evening drew in and I chilled with the coolest company a girl could have, I began to feel elated at the calibre of music I was seeing. It reinvigorated my love for London and for the UK music scene in general. The crowd, despite my earlier reservations about the East London music set, were a jolly bunch. Plus, there were real toilets on the site; I’m not talking shitty Portaloos, but trailers with mirrors and running water, the works!
I waited until sundown for the impromptu screening of ‘The Bone Echo’, a short-film by Jem Goulding. Starring the curious darling of British fashion and fabulousness – Alice Dellal – I was super-excited to see Steve Shelley (aka drummer from one of my favourite bands of all time, Sonic Youth) had co-produced the score for the film. It was unbelievable.
As the sunset, there were rockers, trendies, kids, loads of people just ‘chillaxing’ and having fun. A final peek in the dance tent and Claro Intellecto mesmerised with a one-hour set. An unbelievable festival; too many good acts for one person to see in a day's work. Forget Glastonbury next year; if you want quality and unpretentious music for about £20 look no further than the shabby but shameless Shoreditch Park.
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