All Points East Friday – Review – Victoria Park (24th May 2019)

This Friday saw the return of the hugely popular All Points East festival to London’s Victoria Park.  As expected, the festival started big with a distinctly dance-centred line-up.  Friday boasted arguably the best line-up of the festival, which was important if it was going to persuade people to use their precious holiday allowance and extend their bank holiday weekends.

Early on in the day, the sun still high in the sky, the wonderfully bouncy Ibibio Sound Machine graced the North stage with their eclectic and joyous afro-funk sound.  Lead vocalist Eno Williams’ wore a joyous expression on her face throughout the performance, radiating her passion for the craft.  The rest of the band brought amazing gospel tones, some delightfully gravelly funk bass, and of course, buckets of soul.  With plenty of festival dates coming up this summer, there are plenty more chances to catch this wonderful band this year.

Meanwhile, in the West Stage (the Big Top visible from the entrance), House producer Daniel Goldstein, AKA Lane 8 delivered a set of hypnotic, rhythm heavy tunes, laced with ethereal vocal samples, all set in front of an abstract visual backdrop.  Goldstein didn’t manage to fill out the tent, but did well for such an early slot in the day.

Appearing on the Firestone Stage were the Brighton-based Kudu Blue, channelling an exciting genre-bending mix of trip-hop beats, space-age synths and impassioned RnB vocals.  This was a really enjoyable set from the fresh-faced four piece – represented by Nettwerk, the group have just released their second EP ‘Auras’ and will be making an appearance at Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing stage this summer – definitely a group to watch out for in the future. 

Back on the North stage, the incredible Kate Tempest laid bare her heart and soul in an incredibly moving, gentle yet powerful performance of her trademark spoken word poetry.  Set against a simple black backdrop, and minimalistic electronic instrumentals, her lyrics take centre stage.  Her messages of love and acceptance in the modern age are felt in full force by the attentive crowd.

If, however, sunset poetry wasn’t your vibe, just 400m away was the phenomenal Peggy Gou, a house and techno DJ and producer currently riding the wave of a meteoric rise to fame.  The vibe was great all day at the Ray-Ban stage, with a whole host of artists curated by the Berlin based Korean DJ, but the crowd swelled considerably when Peggy herself appeared.  She went on to deliver a set of non-stop bangers, full of crunchy bass and plenty of disco flavours.  The staging here was impressive too, with a pair of criss-crossed monolithic arches towering over the crowd, and a group of wild dancers perfectly embodying the Korean and Berlin club-style influences of Gou’s work.

After such a great offering of electronic music, Primal Scream did feel a bit out of place in Victoria Park, but their huge cult fan-base (plenty of screamadelica tees in the crowd) and minor electronic influences in their music helped tie them in.  And in fairness, the genre diversity between the two main headliners negated the likelihood of festival-goers having to pick between the two stages.  Nevertheless, Primal Scream’s set certainly kept the crowds entertained.  Their confectionery-bright backdrop matched the vibrancy of their music and they made sure to perform enough fan favourites, opening with the classic ‘Moving on Up’.

Over on the main stage, the Chemical Brothers closed the festival with an extensive performance of songs old and new, all accompanied by their signature mind-bending lighting show, just as the heavens opened.  What’s a British festival without a surprise rainstorm though, eh! Though the festival has now wrapped up its first weekend, a second is just around the corner, with some more incredible music on the roster, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday bringing the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Mumford and Sons and Bon Iver respectively.

All photos by Rob Waters.