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Club Review

Reviewed: Junction 2 2019

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Officially festival season kicked off with We Are FSTVL at the end of May, my festival season, however, starts with LWE and Junction 2.

Spanning two days this year the award-winning festival certainly had something special in the pipeline for us. So let’s delve right in!

Friday

Waking up Friday morning to the pitter patter of rain is every festival goers worst nightmare, should the wellies be taken out of storage, do I need to rethink my outfit, is it going to be a mud fest?!

Thankfully LWE and Junction 2 pretty much had everything covered and I mean that literally as well as metaphorically.

Junction 2 decided to edit their layout somewhat this year and frankly, it worked really well! Each stage situated in a familiar location but positioned in such a way that leaving the grounds of one and entering into another felt like moving between worlds!

Queues for this festival seem to be a thing of the past, I don’t think I queued for more than 5 minutes either day for anything. It’s the simple things that really make a difference to your day and festival experience.

After a short nip through security, it wasn’t long before we had a drink in hand and was ready to rave.

A quick mention of the reusable cup scheme happening this year! Fantastic idea and hope it continues in the future.

© Photography by Khris Cowley for Here & Now (fb.com/wearehereandnow)

The first point of call was the aptly named The Woods, rRoxymore was just hitting a groove as I entered the enchanted grounds. Fairy lights and disco balls were high up on the trees, giving an almost childhood fantasy feel to the whole area. rRoxymore is a fantastic artist and her otherworldly sounds suited the woods completely, driving low bass lines from the speakers mounted in trees it was pretty easy to see how talented DJ rRoxymore could have listeners drifting off to planes unknown.

© Photography by Shotaway

Moving on from the forest it was time to brave The Bridge. A great stage and area I think we can all agree but from previous experience its a bit of a nightmare logistically, thankfully this has been improved, exit walkways have been introduced and it truly makes a world of difference. No one is crushing each other in different directions.

Making my way through the crowd toward the front as S_AS is just finishing up, he’s delving deep with the sounds, a solid smooth opening set, minimal, heavy on the kick and dropping groovy melodic rhythm to great effect, slowly the crowd down at the bridge is building.

Next up was Job Jobse, I hadn’t heard much of this DJ before but after his set on Friday, he’s definitely one on my radar to actively seek out.

Effortlessly controlling the crowd Job Jobse is certainly a slave to the craft, conjuring up a party vibe whilst utilising the amazing sound system down at the bridge to impressive effect.

© Photography by Shotaway

Next stop was the infamous Warehouse. Surely a mind-blowing experience was to be had here! However, there had been some health and safety issues due to the rain and was closed until further notice while they made the area safe.

This gave me a chance to see Dixon at The Bridge, I’ve been to a few festivals with Dixon on the lineup but due to clashes have always missed him. I wasn’t about to let another chance slip through.

As I made my way down to the stage the area was pumping. Dixon is hailed by DJ and raver alike as “the best there is” regularly voted into the top spot of best DJ by various channels, Dixon is truly something to behold, letting loose some deep driving bass lines coupled with those eclectic crescendos synonymous with Innervisions, Dixon knows how to encapsulate a crowd and take them on a journey!

© Photography by Luke Dyson

I’d heard on the grapevine that The Warehouse was back open, I didn’t want to leave Dixon but I knew I wanted to end my night in there so I bid farewell and made my way over.

DJ Stingray was in full swing, a DJ whose name I have been aware of for some time but was intrigued to find out more. Boy did he give some.

Listening to his set felt like going through the decades of sound. At one point I turned to my Rave unit and said it feels like I’ve been transported to Rave in the ’80s in America. With a feel of early Afrika Bambaataa, you could really see where DJ Stingray got his influences from. A superb and refreshing set to witness.

Friday was drawing to a close and there was only one set that was going to finish off my day. That was going to be the one and only Daniel Avery. A DJ who I believe is underrated even still, he is in essence “Fight club” no one really talks much about this outstanding DJ Producer, for me he is phenomenal, his sets are always cutting edge. He truly has his finger on the pulse of techno and it shows.

© Photography by Shotaway

I’ve seen many of Avery’s set and this was definitely one of my faves. Spacey and almost alien like with the sounds, at one point I thought Moulder and Scully were gonna turn up. His use of acid is sublime, used to accentuate the growling distorted bass of his techno, his mixing is on point and his layering of tracks creates an atmosphere that truly submerges you into his sound. Masterclass in mixing and potentially the best set of the weekend, but definitely the best set of Friday

So Friday came and went. Great fun was had by all, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits, it was time to head home and do it all again on Saturday!

Saturday

Saturday morning and the Sun has decided to show its face, we are up early doors and over the cafe! Don’t want to miss anything today.

Just like Friday zero queues again for me. It could be the fact I was there so early but I’m going to chalk it to everyone involved bringing their A game.

Saturday was jammed packed full of amazing sets, luckily I got to see everyone that I wanted as there wasn’t many clashes, just the odd overlap excellent programming by the event.

© Photography by Shotaway

To start the day it was down to The Bridge, Bart Skills was opening up which was an excellent choice. His productions over the last couple of years have featured in many a summer techno set. A longtime staple throughout the Drumcode label, Bart was bringing the pace early on.

A quick nip to The Stretch, Lauren Lo Sung is playing and she’s hitting the summer vibe just right. I’ve spoken about Lauren a few times in the past and the stretch today is programmed for your less heavy techno enthusiasts, bumpy beats and techy bass ring out across the green opening in Boston park, truly groovy stuff.

I make my way back to The Bridge as I wanna catch Ida Engberg laying down some filthy techno. A Goddess behind the decks, the face of an angel but pulls beats from the very depths of The Underworld! Even Hades himself would bow down to her!

© Photography by Shotaway

Dense & Pika are my first foray into The Warehouse tent on Saturday. The boys honestly never disappoint. Just like Ronseal – they do exactly what it says on the tin. Pure class, get the crowd going and moving with such ease. Definitely one of the best sets from the weekend Dense & Pika turned the warehouse upside down!

I’m a bit upset I missed Dax J but Ritchie Hawtin is playing The Bridge at the same time, it really is Sophie’s Choice but I take my leave and head back down to witness a true Masterclass.

© Photography by Shotaway

Since I saw Ritchie playing at We Are for Cocoon some three years ago I have been waiting for his return to the British Isle, it almost happened but due to the bloody snow in 2018 he got stuck in Hungry.

Now it was finally time, I knew trying to push my way through the crowd to get a better view was pointless so I got myself a nice spot in front of the new screens they’ve put up with the speakers. What he does is unbelievable, he had the crowd eating out of his hands. Not just a DJ but an artist, a composer.

Breaking the boundaries that I didn’t even know were there. My favourite set of the festival. The rolling minimal beats are hypnotic and he moves through them at pace, his creation of sound is second to none, he understands what the crowd wants and you can see his face beaming the whole time as he delivers it! Truly inspirational!

© Photography by Shotaway

As the sun is going in and the day is drawing to a close I finish my Junction 2 the only way I know how. Watching my one and only Adam Beyer. I have a special place in my heart for the Drumcode honcho. A DJ that even on a bad day (not that there are any) still drives and digs deep, never letting the fans down. His sets are always so energetic and full of life, even when he’s playing the deepest underground sounds.

Next year Junction 2 will have its fifth anniversary and it’s great to see a festival that had a loss its first year grow and thrive and put itself on the map as being one of the best festivals in London. I can’t wait to see what they have installed for us next year. Have a feeling LWE and Junction 2 are gonna pull out all the stops and then some for this celebration.

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