Reviewed: South West Four
The bank holiday weekend, a sign to say the end of summer was in sight but you have enough time to squeeze in one more weekend of partying. Without a doubt if you are in London on that weekend the only place to do that partying is South West Four. Having just had its 12th year, Lock N Load events have created a festival can easily go on for another twenty.
The scene was set in the middle of Clapham Common and had a stage designed for every type of festival goer. The DJ EZ lovers, the tech heads, the TRANCEformers and the house babies.
If you had missed out on the sold out event which saw over 25000 people attend then quite frankly you are foolish. Firstly the Saturday goers were treated to have sun all weekend long! The site itself was easy to walk around, there were decent food areas, rides, services and you could find people in the sea of people which always proves difficult at festivals. Some of the acts of the day on Saturday included Andy C, A-Trak, Bondax, Sub-Focus, Wilkinson, female newcomer Tchami, Nero and headliner Netsky on the RAM Records stage.
The first highlight of the whole weekend came early on Saturday afternoon came in the form of MistaJam’s set. Playing early on the Main Stage around 3pm – he turned a sitting down having a beer on grass main stage audience to a full on rave in less than 35 seconds, simply walking from the back of the stage to the front using the mic. Pure Genius. A massive hat tip to the Lock N Load guys for programming him in this set time, it really worked and for us this was one of the Best ever SW4 sets, great choices of music for the right time of day, for the setting in front of him, we simply cannot find enough superlatives for him. As the set carried on the crowds grew and grew in front of him, gliding through the genre and mashing them up with pure ease, it was a wonder to watch.
As you walk in you hear the thumping sound of the main stage, for me that was Dizzee Rascal. A popular choice amongst those who have grown up with grime. Dizzee Rascal has ultimately been leading the way for Grime stars on the festival scene and this set proved why he never fails to impress. Playing some old bangers from his original ‘boy in the corner’ album – which he will be doing a special performance later this year – Dizzee showcased some new material including ‘Hype’ which has already proved to be a song of the summer.
Later on in the evening saw Armand Van Helden unveil a set that showed his talents as not just a DJ, but a producer. The Duck Sauce labelled DJ has proved time and time again that he was fundamental in shaping house music and you would be a fool not to go an see him play a residency in Ibiza. Van Helden’s set proved interesting and different to his usual style. Dropping some of classics like ‘My My My’ and ‘You Don’t Know Me’ the showed the crowds excitement.
A group who has seen incredible success over the past few years are Rudimental. A few years ago they played at SW4 as the starting act and on Saturday evening lauded the stage as the headline act for their first time. They wowed the crowd with their stunning pace of rapport which closed the show. Fireworks on display, people bopping their heads from side to side, the crowd really were ‘waiting all night’ for them to steal the show.
As I moved onto Sunday the day left me in awe seeing some of my favourite acts. Staring the day with a stand out performance from the technically gifted Black Coffee on the main stage bringing his delightful style of house music, fused with tribal rhythms and South African vibes, it really warmed the day up nicely and another great bit of programming from the SW4 team.
This October marks the closing parties in Ibiza. Unfortunately Space, a club which has been going since 1986 is due to close whilst the Ushuaia team take over and turn it into a superclub on the Playa D’Bossa . One of the originals of the club, Carl Cox who made the club what it is today took a break from his weekday residency on the White Island and graced Clapham Common with a set that held beyond expectation. Cox’s mixes ranged from ‘Give Me Your Love’ to ‘Dr. Funk’ with the crowd going crazy when he played ‘That’s The Bass’. It was truly ibiza coming to London. Carl Cox rarely plays sets in the UK so the crowd were fortunate enough to have seen the DJ King go as his days in Ibiza and coming to a sad end.
Prior to Carl, a personal favourite of mine is undoubtedly Jamie Jones who never fails to surprise me with his ability to take me into a new dimension of music and stamina. At 6pm on a Sunday his ever trippy and out of this world sounds found me in a state of mind I had never imagined. It’s not hard to understand why everyone is obsessed with him as he exudes charisma as he plays his music and you can see he is deeply passionate about every song as he mixes it into another. My head was on complete fixation on the incredible dancers who moved along to the beat in perfect unison as Jamie bopped along to the space like sounds. There wasn’t a sad face in sight.
Chemical Brothers. No matter how many times people say this cliché the statement remains the same. Save the best till last. This was really personified in this set by the Chemical brothers. Their eclectic range of electronic, house and pop completely brought the crowd to a standstill. The visuals which brought a tear to my eye, showed the intensity and beauty of how the embodiment of sound and colour can emerge into one. The Chemical Brothers delivered exactly what you would expect out of a headline act and more. I’ve never seen a crowd stare at visuals and dance more than I saw on the Sunday evening. The music was incredible. When the bro’s started to tease ‘Don’t Hold Back’ with the lyrics ‘Push The Button’ the crowd went mental.
Watch the Chemical Brothers is always a joy and it was so good to see the original pair of Ed Simons & Tom Roland back together. They glided through the hits including ‘Hey Girl, Hey Boy’, ‘Star Guitar’, ‘Saturate’. Glorious acid wiggles transcended over the audience at every given moment and the new increased sound levels were truly felt, so massive congratulations to the team for that. The crowning moment of the show for us was the two giant robots that appeared on stage, shooting lasers from their eyes, remarkable. We were truly ‘Under the Influence’ of a great performance and show.
Roll on 2017 and what SW4 brings next!
Written by: Zina Alfa & Grahame Farmer