Reviewed: Eastern Electrics Festival 2019 (Saturday)
Eastern Electrics Festival has been running for seven years and the organisers have firmly established themselves as one of the most popular festivals inside the M25 radius, although so far they haven’t seemed to establish themselves at one festival site for very long, so it was interesting to see Eastern Electrics Festival return to Morden Park at the very end of the Victoria Line for another year.
We got in to Morden Park around 3.30pm and after a super sensible food load up on some curry goat, we slipped over to the main stage to catch the end of Steve Lawlor and Darius Syrossian who finished off with Armand Van Helden’s seminal ‘Spin Spin Sugar’ remix that was abruptly cut short by a sound technician who was obviously super keen to set up EZ, oops I mean Elvin Zedo’s DJ set up.
Now before I go into my thoughts on Elvin Zedo, I would say that there’s no other DJ I’ve seen live more than EZ and no other DJ that’s made me lose my shit with his track transitions, even if I’d heard some of them a dozen times. As a UKG DJ he is one of the best technical DJs out there, but this was an Elvin Zedo set, EZ’s alter ego who plays house and techno and who wears a black bucket hat rather than the customary cap.
EZ is well known for his mood-setting intro dubplates, so it was no surprise that he had a sultry, whispered Elvin Zedo intro for anyone that couldn’t read the giant LED screen that had his name on it. He then proceeded to play some nondescript tribalish house, only garnering any crowd reaction by dropping Ultra Nate’s ‘Free’ Accapella whilst the CO2 cannons went off. By the third time I heard the Elvin Zedo jingle being played over a really quite bland set, that was in no way mixed in the ‘usual’ EZ style, it was time to go check out someone else.
I understand that EZ has been into house forever and a day and that he wouldn’t play that genre in his usual technical UKG way, but taking away that magic just made Elvin Zedo feel like a filler DJ who was keeping the crowd warm waiting for Hannah Wants. Not that he’ll care what I think, as not only did he headline the Eastern Electrics Festival afterparty at fabric, but he also nipped to another festival that same day as a secret surprise guest whilst doing his usual UKG set.
I really wanted to try and catch Melé next in the Switchyard arena hosted by Defected but the Box Park x Mad Max inspired shipping container arena was packed to the rafters, so we hung around at the periphery whilst he dropped Mike Dunn’s ‘God Made Me Funky’ and Black Legends’s ‘The Trouble With Me’ to rapturous appreciation.
Continuing our quest to find yet more quirky arenas, we hit the jackpot finding the swimming pool stage, that had, you guessed it, a swimming pool that in effect acted as a raised VIP type area where you could overlook the DJs and dancers in front of the pool. We’d not packed our budgie smugglers, so we settled for enjoying a bit of Huxley with our clothes on, my personal highlight hearing Dusky’s break out track ‘Careless’ which still sounded so good.
Next up was trying to find the Ministry of Sound VIP area which we could see from the outside but had no idea how to get in? Then we clocked that the entrance was actually through a little row of portaloos which led smack bang into a full on Mad Hatters Tea Party with the whole cast of Alice In Wonderland. Ejeca was laying down familiar beats with Tom Trago’s soaring strings of ‘Use Me Again’ and a transition of Stardust into Kid Crème’s ‘Thrill Me’ sending the small but perfectly formed crowd into overdrive.
We then rattled through a few arenas to make sure I did my due diligence for Data Transmission, which included catching an Orbital DJ set in the only traditional tent in the whole festival. Visually they were amazing, as you’d expect from such legendary artists, but the surprisingly small crowd felt quite flat so we popped to check out the only place you could catch any LIVE music – The Electric City – that was tucked away behind a majestic oak tree that provided some welcome seclusion. The Hippo Sound System were on when we swung by and they were laying down some samba D&B vibes whilst the MC was keeping everyone hyped and bouncing along.
There was still an area we hadn’t checked out yet – The Rinse FM arena – a giant greenhouse with various panels missing out of the roof and what better way to check it out than walking into Redlight dropping some mad Masters At Work ‘Work’ edit. If you know the lyrics to that song it says ‘Put Your Back In It’ and not only were the crowd doing that but Redlight was too, hyping the crowd on the mic whilst rattling through an abundance of bass heavy tracks that I’m sure were shaking my fillings out of my teeth!?
It had been a fun day and what better way to round off a festival than befriending some similar minded folk, waffling about a load of random topics whilst listening to Skream close out his own tent with plenty of his own material including a euphoric, breakbeat face melter that I tried to Shazam way too many times, but subsequently found out was called ‘Trees’ and with that we slipped off in between the trees of Morden Park and in to the night.