All Points East, London
Monday 30th August 2021
Keith Goldhanger visits All Points East Day on Monday 30th August, headlined by Foals and joined by many others.
Thundering drums, confetti cannons, the crowd going wild …..pretty much the same as when we saw FOALS four years ago in the same park when they headlined the Citadel Festival. Not much has changed since then except many attendees this weekend probably haven’t been out this far recently and those that have may have crammed into the final day of the bank holiday a Reading Festival after Party. It’s a raucous final performance but some of us are out of shape and suffer for a bit after nine hours.
What has changed are the bands we feel that we need to catch for the first time therefore as the park gates squeak open (they don’t squeak at all of course) for a final time this weekend, we’re here early because we wish to see the stuff we’ve discovered whilst we couldn’t decide to watch on Netflix last year.
ORA VIOLET are playing on the Firestone stage and wake us up with their short powerful scruffy rock music that we’ve not really heard much off since The Electric Six last visited our shores. They leave us saying something about another gig coming up and an hour later are pulling the same punches on the same stage for a second helping thus making them the first band many of us have seen more than once for over a year (Single reviewed here)
LIZ LAWRENCE is first up on the main stage and for those of us watching for the first time is declared our favourite pop star this month. Liz seems to have a collection of songs that are instantly loveable and this was a superb performance even without Hope (or something like it), a song that arrived to cement our love for this persons work. Any comparisons to PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry or Anna Calvi won’t do her any harm at all, every song a gem and a performer we hope to see again and again until it’s too crowded to get near the front. Brilliant stuff – check her out if you had a lie in.
WORKING MENS CLUB are on at 3PM when really we need to be seeing and hearing this roaring electronic mayhem at 3am. Entering the stage to Abba’s Fernando was a joyous introduction that gets them maximum festival brownie points however in the middle of the night after our bedtime we don’t care for the lack of choruses to wave our arms in the air to that we’d like to hear in the middle of the day. We’re too conscious of the machines we’re dancing to in the middle of the afternoon and not the songs, we’re thinking too much about it whereas late at night we wouldn’t give a hoot about wishing these Sisters of Mercy sounding songs (played on better drum machines) were New Order songs sandwiched between the hits and the misses. It’s a blistering set and the lighting is brilliant. We’re basically looking at silhouettes against a Chartreuse background (yellow….. but we got our colour charts out – something else you wouldn’t be doing at 3am we’d argue). Regardless of a complete power failure half way through one comes away to expect some further amazing times that are to be had with this band in the future. Another act that we’ll revisit of course, they’ll be with us for a while one suspects.
FLYTE, GOATGIRL and THE MAGIC GANG all fly through their respective sets on par with every other of their appearances over the past few years when we’ve stood and stared yet we’re drawn over to the Firestone stage again as we’re intrigued to have a look at NOISY from Sussex, another new name on the block who make a great first impression with their Prodigy style noises in front of a curious crowd of passers-by. It’s a good introduction, a decent frontman who seems to know what he’s doing and with a real festival favourite to be ‘I wish I was A….’ this band will surely cross paths again with us in one field or another (but not in a pub…these are songs to be played in fields not pubs).
GANG OF YOUTHS over on the West stage have pulled the punters in today with their chest pumping Springsteen style rock anthems. They’ve recently moved over to the UK after exhausting much of their home country down under and begin with the recent The Angel of 8th Avenue. It’s clear these are going full throttle today and seem quite comfortable in front of the huge crowd before them, a crowd that one can imagine may get even bigger over the next few years.
GHOSTPOET‘s tunes are rumbling around the North stage and its probably the most intense, captivating performance of the day. Back on the Firestone stage BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD tell us they’ve ‘cut the comedy today’ (and the jump suits they wore last time they were spotted) to give us a run through of the ‘hits’. The last time we crossed paths with these it was like watching Queen on acid according to your friend and my friend Graham however today it’s down to scruffy jeans and T-shirt attire to complement crowd favourites John Lennon is my Jesus Christ, New Age Millennium Magic and Double Denim Hop which are now quite old songs for them but still fresh and new for those who love some old school rock they can still smile at without taking life too seriously. Another of the days highlights.
Everyone’s favourite playful Auntie, NADINE SHAH is laughing, crying, dancing, swearing and having a sneaky vape when she thinks we’re not watching and being as wonderful as she always ever has been on The North stage. Having to compete with BOMBAY BICYLE CLUB in the west of the field and CARIBOU in the east it’s no wonder the tent isn’t as full as we’d expected (still enough to have filled Brixton Academy mind) and she’s not afraid to acknowledge this by telling us all how beautiful we all are and how we’re the coolest people in the park. It’s sad to be reminded that songs such as Holiday Destination are as valid and powerful now (for different reasons) as they were when they were originally written<
‘If you could go back to 2016 remembering how shit that was and be told about 2020 you’d shudder with fright’ she observed (correctly) at one point of the evening. We get a selection of tunes from her recent (fourth album) Kitchen Sink, more rhythmic songs that are driven by her voice that sounds even stronger than ever. We leave feeling we’ve all just had a nice chat with Nadine again, as friends leaving a dinner party, totally satisfied after a pleasant evening for us all to look back on again until Nadine invites us all into her life again for an hour or so. We get the impression that as she leaves through her door at the back of the stage that she’ll remember every one of us too and give us all a little wave whenever she sees us again amongst the hundreds at her next show.
FOALS play us out of course, the queues for chips and toilets have finally died down and the Oxford band are ripping the park into tiny pieces again just as they will continue to do so as they gather even more pace in this big headliner territory that the band now inhabit. Yannis Philippakis continues to be a great stadium frontman, climbing amongst the front rows and bellowing his huge voice across East London.
One or two of us slope away before the end, it’s been another long day but a day when many of us forgot about the past eighteen months and tried to experience something we could refer to as ‘normal’ again. Standing in a field watching loads of bands and drinking your body weight in alcohol may not have ever been deemed ‘normal’ to some but today felt not only like the last day of summer (as August bank holiday usually makes you feel) but the start of something special again. Modern life with an earsplitting eclectic soundtrack for everyone to experience again all in one place at the same time with friends and strangers we didn’t realise we’d missed and then as Nadine Shah said as she left the stage we’re told to
‘Take the love from this festival away with you. Don’t leave it here’.
We need these experiences back in our lives.