Soulwax and David Guetta delight on day one of L.E.D festival

L.E.D festival 2010 review

published: Thu 2nd Sep 2010

Soulwax

Friday 27th to Saturday 28th August 2010
Victoria Park, London, E9 7BT, England MAP
both days £70, or one day £40
last updated: Wed 25th Aug 2010

Kicking off the LED festival in East London sees a collection of representatives from the Dance and Electronic genres, some more well known than others. After seeing some of the big names in the industry gather at the same event, expectations were riding high for a day of block rockin' beats.

around the festival site (1)
Starting off we pulled up to the main stage to see the Audio Bullys warm up proceedings, even though at the beginning of the set the DJ was a lonely figure behind his desks. It was only after the duo's front man finally arrived three tracks in, blaming a typical London traffic jam, that the set got going, playing up to the crowd, bouncing on top of speakers and rapping over the top of house tracks. The DJ was keen to show his prowess with mixing as much as with effects, trying to create build ups and drops with retriggered samples and make the whole set technical and glitchy. On the whole, it was a bit of a hit and miss affair – when it worked, it worked perfectly, such as with a great rendition of hit Shot You Down, however for me it felt like most of the set had them building a track up only to do the same two minutes later after a drop.

Over in the tent on the other side of the festival area, Boy 8 Bit provided a great set of carnival beats and house music that was followed by the more hard edged electro sounds of Zombie Nation. There's very little to say about either them when writing a review: both played fine DJ sets that flowed well, playing up to the style of records that they are associated with, getting a good response from the crowd that had gathered to hear them.

Soulwax
Moving on to later on in the evening, we had expected Soulwax to follow on from the other artists of the day and perform more of a DJ set, as with their 2manydjs side project, but when stage hands brought on a full drum kit, toms, keyboards and bass guitar to the mix, it was clear we were in for something special. Instead, we were treated to a royal performance of their dance-oriented tracks from their catalogue, played and mixed live. A tight bunch of players in smart blue suits, Soulwax quickly proved that they are Belgium's number one export (move over, Mr Artois) with a riotous collection of electro dance hits, replete with searing synthesisers, growling basslines, pumping drum section and dance samples, all playing up to the crowd with a great performance. Their hour long set covered several tracks from their Nite Sessions album including NY Excuse, E-Talking and Miserable Girl alongside covers of tracks ranging from contemporary beatniks Crookers to classic acid-house DJ Stakker, all of which had the crowd dancing to their beats. An excellent set that had the audience wanting more and definitely a group to see if you haven't already.

Tiga
After this stonking performance, we retreated to catch the second half of DJ Tiga's house set in the Planet Turbo Arena tent, a mix of solid house beats and electro sounds together with three sets of lazers as the night drew in, illuminating the interior of the tent with a great light show as the music played on. By now the tent was heaving with happy revellers who had come to see the tent's final act of the night, the Bloody Beetroots Death Crew77, a group of four artists in suits and Nacho Libre wrestling masks performing a mash up of techno, electronic and metal with live instruments. A band not without their comedy value (the name and dresscode to start with), their set was enjoyable as a more rough and ready version of Soulwax's live set. In truth, I'm sure that they are a great group, however after being treated to such a great set by Soulwax they paled in comparison.

David Guetta
The final act of the night saw one of the biggest names in contemporary dance music David Guetta take to the main stage in a raised DJ booth to play a collection of his own hits mixed amongst popular dance tracks that got the crowd going, not least for the impressive light show from the stage that covered the stage and booth in LEDs. As the beat pumped, the whole stage pulsed with Dance Dance Revolution-style graphics and glowing neon shapes, climaxing with fireworks and a pair of lazer wielding robot dancers as Guetta chatted to the crowd.

Quite clearly the LED festival has taken the idea of LED light shows and run with it, with the impressive display putting those of other DJ events at the same location to shame - I'm thinking specifically of Tiesto here as a recent comparison. The effect is that the festival lives up to its name of LEDs and turns a mere DJ set from a big name artist into a real show for David Guetta's nearly two hour set.

In closing, a great opening day of music, especially for the stonking perfomances of Soulwax and David Guetta and set the scene for the second day of the two-day festival.

David Guetta
review by: Chris Smout

photos by: Chris Mathews

Friday 27th to Saturday 28th August 2010
Victoria Park, London, E9 7BT, England MAP
both days £70, or one day £40
last updated: Wed 25th Aug 2010


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