I was lucky enough to experience the Sunday of SW4 , and while some would have been sat taking it easy in a nice easy Sunday sort of way I decided I was more than happy to break the norm and do something fairly out of the ordinary for a Sunday, which I found to be very refreshing!
Myself and a friend made our way to Clapham Common along with thousands of other eager party festival goers , I say 'party' as SW4 is not your average festival and one has to take note of the line up in order to appreciate that. I wouldn't like to just label SW4 as a 'dance music' festival but more of an mix of alternative electronic, funk, rhythm and soul, yes some of this was presented in the form of a vast array and variety of house, progressive house, techno, commercial dance and some drum and bass. There was a really lovely and prominent undertone of soul with soulful vocals and fantastic stage presence from all of the acts. It has to be said that the stage shows of light and visual effects were the most cutting edge I have seen also.
With this impressive variety of acts (too many to name here and apologies to those that I haven't mentioned) and the thousands of people attending it really was a plus that a journey to the core of our biggest City was a breeze and didn't take much time at all, plus we found a spot to park for free close by! I think we missed part of the fun though by not travelling with the others on the buses and by foot as some sort of 'cool parade of some of the best festival outfits I have seen'! That seemed to be part of the fun! To walk in proudly! With a "look what I'm doing London!!! You don't see this everyday!" feel about it all!!
Having recently been to Ibiza where I am continually progressing my knowledge of the best DJ's out there I was so pleased to see that SW4 have hit it right with many of the best but underground DJ's. These guys are very sought after and are growing in strength each year. Particularly great to see Marco Carola with some dark house on a Sunday afternoon to blow away the cobwebs. I noted that Solomun, Ame, Maceo Plex, Sven Vath, and Luciano played Sat, with the headliners being Eric Prydz, Fatboy Slim, and no other thanFaithless which speak for themselves! While the legends that are Roni Size Reprazent, John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, and Armin Van Buuren played on the Sunday which feels like you are in your little happy place and lucky moment to experience these guys! Paul Oakenfold being one of the originators of the dance music scene!
Its clear to see that SW4 don't mess around when it comes to big and fantastic names!! I don't think it would even be possible to see this many great names in one night in Ibiza and if you did you would be sleeping for days! This felt great sacrificing a Sunday roast and a lazy day in exchange for dancing and fun to some of the best and most lively music around!
Who needs a gym to make you feel less guilty when you can dance all day long and not feel the hangover from an all nighter! There is something liberating to being able to let your hair down and party with the many other dancing revellers in a daytime event like this!! It feels a bit naughty and unconventional which makes it even more fun! Yet as dusk came upon us and with nightfall the atmosphere changed again into an intimate and vibrant place of paradise in every hedonists search for the ultimate in sensory experience!
One of the highlight's on Sunday for me was a most surreal moment during lunch; while grabbing some rather tasty fresh Thai food to warm things up even more with fresh chilli I see those cheeky faces appear on the main stage! faces of the leads belonging to no other than Basement Jaxx! It was that moment the Chilli kicked in to those infamous shouting but melodic vocals of "Where's your head at?!” accompanied by the purposefully inept shrieks of the monkeys and the faces of these stars cleverly fused to the heads of monkeys in the video flashed through my mind bring myself and many others around me hysterical laughter and joyous 'throwing some shapes!'!
You know what? The British weather might have even started trying to interfere with our mood but it wasn't to stand a chance up against this most colourful stage performance of soulful singers dressed as rainbows and 'summery blue skies and fluffy white clouds'! They certainly were sure to bring some sunshine with them!! I don't think I have ever experienced a band with as much energy as Basement Jaxx! And in this moment I could really understand why they had been asked to play and how it is that they are liked by such a vast audience.
I must admit some of the music was an experience for me and although I had heard some of the names it really was about having an open mind as it wasn't until I heard some of the songs I have grown to love through listening out to what is current that I could 'put a face to a name'! This was the case for likes of Sigma who have some of the best voices I have heard live in a while! And yes I did sing my little heart out!! I could see that Andy C, Martin Garrix, and Skrillex were all received more than well also!
While Carl Cox showed everyone how it was done with what seemed to be one of the longest sets B2B with Loco Dice - the stamina of such a DJ was impressive!, Maya Jane Coles even had her own Marquee / tent which is a great thing to see.
This was clearly becoming something of an experience for just about everyone and all tastes of music in fact. Just as I thought I had seen it all…. if people trooping through the streets of Clapham in the trendiest of wellington boots and the best clobber out there wasn't enough I then notice what can only be described as one of the original and most mature 'an old school raver's' from what appeared to be the 70's dancing on the spot in his high vis jacket !! I then had to wonder if he had in fact been raving all that time in the most unlikely of places both underground and true ! It was nice that he and his cheerful dancing came out to grace us with his presence on this Sunday afternoon!
When turning to my festival buddie to ask of his take on it all it was clear by looking at his face that he had had quite an unusual experience in contrast to the usual more 'conventional' festival of varied genres; this lad is in his mid 40's and a loyal 'Glasto' fan, even he enjoyed himself!! One could have even forgotten where they were and when it was time to leave it was a slight shock to remember blimey we are in London!! "Toto I don't think we are in Kansas anymore”!! Blimey what a great day!!! Now where's that roast?! With a bit of colourful dancing condiments on the side!
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