Eastern Electrics hosts first festival on home turf

Eastern Electrics Festival review

By Carrie Tang | Published: Tue 7th Aug 2012

around the festival site

Saturday 4th August 2012
Area 12, Greenwich Peninsula, London's Docklands, London, England MAP
£40 - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 10,000
Last updated: Wed 11th Jul 2012

With over three years under their belt showcasing top drawer genre-hopping line ups, collaborating with some of the UK's most loved promoters to deliver well reputed car park and warehouse events, Eastern Electrics had a big job to live up to expectations for their first ever all day festival. There was already a great vibe in the run up to the weekend, a lot of people who had lost out at Bloc were looking for this Saturday to make up for their recent disappointment. Plus the prospect of decent weather, a better relocation from Clapham Common to home roots, and good spirits riding off the Olympics buzz looked set to kick things off on a wellie-free positive foot.

Maceo Plex
First stop was Maceo Plex on the main stage. Grooving with his music and interacting with his crowd, the DJ exuded positive charisma and projected an uplifting energy throughout his set. A colourful fusion of spacey disco beats funked up with soulful vocals had the audience responding with mass mutual appreciation, keeping heads bobbing and musical appetities satisfied; it was clear to see he had a huge, loyal following, and even more apparent why. Just as the ominous looming clouds gathered to form a threat of rain around half way through the show, so the music turned a similarly darker corner with a cheeky cameo appearance from Maceo's monika. Maetrik's robotic tech house injected his set with tougher, harder sounds, and a dirtier rawness filled the air as tracks like 'Girlz' by Miss Kitten, and his trademark production 'To The Top' were dropped. The mechanical manoeuvre however soon melted away back into the warmer high he first started on, ready to introduce the next artist.

Damian Lazarus
Following Maceo was London-born DJ, producer and record-label owner Damian Lazarus. I'd heard a lot about his reputation for letting loose with experimental originality, freaking out clubs with crazy curveball tracks, and of course gaining those sitting ovations from entire dance floors. Maceo's ending was the perfect beginning for Damian, who continued filling the already jubilent airwaves with a playful, forward thinking electronic selection mixed with a few familiar classics like 'Rej' by Ame. He seemed even more involved with his music, jumping around from behind the decks and paying the crowd a lot of attention to gage responses and encourage involvement.

Nina Kraviz
By the time we'd arrived at the Krankbrother Stage for Nina Kraviz, the relatively small tent was already packed. Visually, the interior had a cool simplicity about it, whitewashed and speckled with vibrant hues from stage lighting. It took a lot of determined shuffling to edge our way in, and despite the tropical rainforest humidity the crowd were pretty patient coping with sardine-like conditions. Nina delivered a flawless set driven by powerful emotion and a distinct feminine darkness, laced with haunting vocals and soft whisperings over many tracks. Her mixing and tune selection was as straight-talking as her persona, and she demonstrated great technical ability with a tight and precise style of mixing in-between dancing with her audience from behind her stage. Full of seductive smiles and clear enjoyment, she engaged the tent well who were more than happy to put up with barely being able to move let alone dance. She radiated an unadulterated passion for hypnotising her captures through her music, and fans lucky enough to snap up front row spots looked like putty in her hands; totally absorbed in a set as smoking hot as the stunning Russian beauty behind it.

Other acts worthy of mention are Pan-Pot who never cease to impress with their intelligent blend of dark, bass-heavy techno intertwined with subtle hints of minimal. Unique soundscapes gathered momentum into warped crescendos of melody, and the pitch black surrounds lit by flashes of neon seemed well matched to their sound.

Azari and III
We also caught some of curious Canadian duo Azari & III, who although weren't really to my personal musical taste, generated a great ambience from the main stage with their Grace Jones-esque performance. Their show took on an almost post-apocalyptic feel with their eccentric singers donning futuristic get-up, belting out free-spirited vocals to poppy disco synths.

Other observations would have to critique the general lack of crowd control throughout the day. Even the loos usually have some sort of queuing system, however this seemed to be a complete free-for-all; trying to head out was literally as difficult as exiting the tents later on, the whole area was shoulder to shoulder. There was no security manning the outside of the tents, meaning unless you were early for the headliners (some of whom were only on for an hour), there was no chance of being able to see them at all. Many who had arrived to catch Julio Bashmore for example were just turning around having not got very far at all, put off by the prospect of being trampled on for an hour (us included). Granted we all expect the top acts to draw in big crowds, but there is usually some sort of system to ensure tents don't get overly rammed.

around the festival site
Signage wasn't too apparent around the site, there were no lanyards for sale with set times, and so we had to rely on smart phones to access this information. The VIP area was none-too impressive either, the 'luxury toilets' turned out to be three standard portaloos and the four-deep bar was manned by only two staff. Having said this we only popped in once, so the service may have improved later on. The only other notable criticism would be the lack of grass or major seating areas, a pretty standard and seemingly silly festival feature. However it meant something as simple as sitting down to chill out with a beer was a no-go, which I guess given the nature of the wasteland location, was to be expected.

That said, the fact the rain held off for the majority of the day, combined with some great performances, a stellar group of festival buddies and a decent crowd resulted in a generally positive outcome. It was a decent pop for a first large-scale outdoor event, and with a few tweaks and improvements here and there I don't see why Eastern Electrics shouldnÂ’t nail it for next year.
review by: Carrie Tang

photos by: Carrie Tang

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