After providing an excellent selection of acts to enjoy despite the weather, day two of South West Four proved that there was plenty more to come from this festival. In stark contrast to the first day, the weather had completely changed. Gone were the grey clouds of the previous 24 hours, replaced instead with sunshine and blue skies to greet the festival goers, which were in visibly greater numbers than on the opening day of the festival.
In a similar fashion to the first day, tents were organised into groups of artists focusing on a certain genre, so it was easy to find the music you wanted to hear and be able to stay in the same tent all day. The Together tent played host to the electronic side of things, with acts including Erol Alkan, and Simian Mobile Disco warming up the stage nicely ahead of Eric Prydz and headliners 2manydjs, whose blend of popular tracks and cult classics remains as popular as ever. Nice to see in particular was the stage security enjoying the day as much as the crowd, keeping things ordered whilst encouraging everyone to dance.
Meanwhile, the Pete Tong arena across the park held up their end of things with dance sets from heavyweights Sasha, Seth Troxler , and Pete Tong himself, amongst others. These certainly pulled in the crowds looking to see some well-established DJ talent and many weren't disappointed, although obvious comparisons were made between these and the sets that had been heard on the first day as being a little too similar.
In the tent nearest to the main stage, the Ram Records tent were keenly flying the flag for more modern genres, with a variety of new dubstep talent in the form of Delta Heavy, Jack Beats, Doctor P, and Flux Pavilion, to name but a few. With so many festivalgoers singing along to catchy dubstep, this ensured that the tent stayed full throughout the day. Headliner Andy C's Alive stage set combined projected visuals over an elaborate stage booth and aimed to include more improvisation and track effects to complete the package. Arguably he could have got away with just a mix set, given the reaction form the crowd, but shows that he can still deliver.
However, it was the line up on the main stage that stole a lot of the attention over the day, playing host to a number of UK festival exclusives, not least of which being Public Enemy as part of their 25th anniversary tour. With live MCing, impressive turntable mixing and scratching and even an impromptu bit of live drumming from Flava Flav, they definitely got the crowd going early on in the day and ended their set by imploring the crowd to salute with their fists against racism.
Moving on from such politically-charged music to something more straightforward were the following DJ sets from DJ Fresh, Crookers, and Steve Angello, whose blend of dance and electro house certainly set the scene for the rest of the day and whose styles and selections complimented each other nicely in a continuous mix of music. Perhaps this called for a little variation, hence the arrival of Diplo and his live singers and stage dancers came at just the right time to shake things up a bit.
Returning to South West Four and as Skream & Benga (the two more prominent members of Magnetic Man) were keen to show that they hadn't lost their touch and their acute selection of dubstep basslines stretched the stage sound levels to their limit, For all the fans who were arriving to see the headline act, these two were a great choice to warm up the crowd who were expecting loud and catchy electronic dubstep and certainly didn't disappoint.
As the anticipation in the crowd grew and the night descended, the stage transformed into some kind of spawn of the Batmobile rather than a DJ booth, with a clock ticking away in the background as if to tease the crowd. With smoke machines, fireworks, lasers and more strobes than you can shake a stick at, Skrillex burst onto the stage and delighted the crowd with his personal brand of electronic dubstep; turbo charged and ready to shake the ground. A feast for the eyes as well as the ears, the music was at points set to monster movies alongside a wild light show; a real assault on every sense as the bass forced your internal organs to move in time. All at once loud and brash as it was simple and childish, the very enjoyable 1.5 hour Skrillex set was most definitely the high point of the festival and an excellent way to end SW4 after the two days.
Better weather, more variety between the different tents, more people to enjoy it with, some excellent acts across the board and the sense that, like Chase and Status on the first day, I had seen something really special in the form of Skrillex's live set. Kudos to the event organisers for getting the most out of the sound systems despite the usual complaints from residents and if you haven't been, make sure that 2013 is the year that you get yourself to Clapham Common in August.
review by: Chris Smout
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