MUSIC: Our Night at the Dalston Music Festival
Written by: Tavia Davies
Dalston Music Festival greeted us with a street party on Bradbury St, funk music booming from record store Eldica and smoke billowing from jerk chicken and beef brisket hot dog stalls. For the sake of hard hitting journalism, we decided it was imperative to sample both delicacies. They were delicious, would recommend. Round the corner was the free stage in Gillett Square, where the entire population of Dalston seemed to congregate, stepping to Britain’s Got Reggae and jazz from Roger Robinson, reminding us that the Dalston Music Festival isn’t just for the #coolkidsclub (although they were out in abundance), it’s curated for the local community too.
Past the hula-hooping kids, some very slick looking Red Bull and Becks vans serving ice cold beverages, and a huge queue for homemade Mojitos, Sangria, and Ethiopian coffee at the local stalls, we found ourselves in the courtyard of POND, Stamford Works and BIB Natural Wine Bar.
One smashed phone later (don’t ask), yet more food devoured in the shape of a chunk of sautéed cauliflower on toast (actually really good), and now very giddy on a £3 box of wine (also really good and better for the environment, right?!) we made our way to the first gigs of our night. La Leif played minimal electro on a roaring keyboard at Stamford Works to our right, blaring what felt like a more exciting version of the Drive soundtrack. Tomaga played some experimental, erm, experiments at POND to our left. Tomaga are odd cookies, a genre all of their own, their set started with scraping symbols, turning dials, screeching noises, building tension, then suddenly a bloke whipped out a guitar, put the screeching on loop and once the xylophone duo got going, it all kind of made sense. Just go see them, you’ll understand.
Heading off to Arcola, where psychedelic indie rockers Fumaça Preta were playing, we noticed the free stage was petering off and the venue audiences were growing – the festival was transforming from a free party for Dalston locals of all generations into a mash-up of live gigs in local clubs and bars for the #coolkidsclub. It was undeniably trendy, but still approachable and fun. Heck, we just wish we were able to rock triple denim and a man bun with such aplomb.
Running back to the courtyard for the next gig at Dalston POND, Zombie Zombie pleasantly surprised us with some art electro that really had a spark to it. To be quite honest, all I could think of was ‘wow this sounds just like the keyboard music that Ross from Friends plays, but actually fucking good’. KOVES were playing next door at Stamford Works, and saw the trendy kids partying to indie electronica with dancing neon lights and static visuals in the background, but we didn’t fancy it and headed back to Dalston POND to see Zombie Zombie finish their set.
Our last gig of the night and the one I was waiting for most keenly was Super Best Friends Club at Arcola Bar. Think The Maccabees vs Glass Animals vs Bombay Bicycle Club vs Caribou, and then maybe you’re halfway there. They were just beautiful, I don’t know what else to say. They literally rendered me speechless, which is a miracle within itself.
Dalston Music Festival Vol. 2 was absolutely wicked. Despite straddling both North and East London postcodes, it was definitely more East-centric in vibe and atmosphere. Nevertheless, us lot from the North side of the tracks had a great time and were welcomed with open arms.
Words: Tavia Davies
Check out our photo journal of our Dalston Music Festival experience to the left, shot by Michael Barry.
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