All Points East, London
Saturday 28th August 2021
Keith Goldhanger jumps on a bus to explore the fields of East London in search of some much needed foot tapping entertainment. This is All Points East Day 2 that featured Jamie XX, Kano, Slowthai and a few others.
For the first time in months, many of us are gathered together in a London park having taken off our dressing gowns and put on some decent festival clobber that we’ve only worn once since we purchased it.
It’s a day of big beats and big names currently employed to make us dance. JAMIE XX manages to achieve a euphoric hands in the air finale (okay, he probably played Good Times after) with GOSH, but earlier in the evening we’re spoilt for choice yet again as All Points East managed to fill the big stages distributed around Victoria park with great effect.
JOCKSTRAP (do not try to find them on Twitter) on one of the smaller stages in the park (Firestone) are a delight for those of us gearing ourselves up for the bit of conventional foot stomping dance music that will follow. Electronic ballad follows electronic ballad without any noticeable hit single in their repertoire, however if we wanted that we’d go and see Audiobooks again. This duo are challenging those wandering past and are making an impression. It’s a fabulous refreshing performance from the duo and a much enjoyed introduction to the hours ahead.
It’s busy in these fields and it seems that the flow of punters moving from stage to stage is only going in one direction. Therefore, as acts on the East stage end we all get ten minutes to go with the flow and wander over to the West or North stage to catch the start of whatever’s going on there.
ROMY DJ’ing on the North stage may not be loud enough for anyone standing near those feeling the need to have a good chat during the set, however once deep inside the vast tent it’s clear there are many here to dance, sing along to the bits they recognise and experience some early euphoria that we expect more of once her companion in The XX headlines later.
KANO is on his home turf and has, amongst many things on stage today, a collection of trombonists, violinists and a choir. This Is England sounds as vibrant as it’s ever sounded blaring out from this East London park and is played to a backdrop of Marcus Rashford’s mural, with flowers and messages of love and support covering the racist graffiti. Trouble ends with an image of a body with blood pouring from the torso on the screen. It’s moving stuff and also another frantic intense show, however time is against those who want to catch Slowthai and it’s a difficult decision to walk away from this show before the very end.
SLOWTHAI is playing his second show of the day after an earlier daylight performance at Reading Festival. We get circle pits, some moshing, a new tune, Gynecologist, and a set of tunes and messages echoing the current climate in this country. It’s a rapid but well executed run through the set that builds to a climatic ending with crowd favourites Doorman and Deal Wiv it. It’s the first time many of us have witnessed this away from daylight, therefore the pyrotechnics add to the occasion and we’re at the stage of the evening where it seems half the the audience are sitting on the shoulders of friends just to get a better view.
Headliner JAMIE XX gives us yet another playful eclectic set of tunes with snippets of soul, drum & bass, UK garage, dubstep and even Radiohead’s Weird Fishes thrown into the mix, and he seems to know how to read the crowd. At times we’re hearing almost silent glitches, as his knob-twiddling coaxes us into a relaxed state before hitting whatever that button is that allows the beats (any beats) to kick in again and get everyone back in the zone dancing, or high-fiving strangers and partying again like it’s 2019. We feel a little short-changed when it comes to Loud Places, but our heads are still at the Park Stage at Glastonbury four years ago and we’re still wanting to recreate that experience so are left slightly disappointed. This is made up for by a blistering version of GOSH, and we’re left wondering if this is the best piece of music anyone could ever want to hear towards the end of a festival such as this.
Visually we’re just watching the silhouette of Jamie against a backdrop of primary colours until a few songs in, and cameras linked to the big screens are panning in on individuals dancing in the audience showing signs of being the kind of drug crazed casualties we do our best to avoid standing close to at these events (they all had blue wristbands on but it was a very well executed idea).
Despite issues surrounding the quality of the sound a couple of years ago at this event, one of today’s highlights is the superb quality of the music we are hearing. Boy, this is loud (or maybe we’re just not used to it), and boy oh boy are we treated to some great performances.
All Points East events have proved themselves to be amazing days out over the past few years, and even though at times the park seems as busy as we’ve ever seen it we get to see a bit of everything there is available to see, and get the tube back to those four walls many of us have seen too much of recently.