Reviewed: South West Four (Saturday & Sunday)
Saturday – Reviewed by Grant Richards
Having attended South West Four for at least 1 of the 2 days over the past ten years, I was wondering how I could tackle my review of this year’s Saturday event and hopefully come up with something different, or at least a different take on it from my perspective? Let’s be frank here, SW4 is as much of a mainstay for the August Bank Holiday weekend as the Notting Hill Carnival, so much has been said and written about it, however, I’ll attempt to review my day as I’m not gonna front, I had fun!
I was attending this year with my girlfriend and two of her best pals, one of whom was keen on catching Tinie Tempah on the main stage, who was due on at 3pm apparently. I didn’t let on at this point that I was more than happy to catch TT (or Patrick to his Mum), as I’m quite the fan myself. To quote a classic lyric “Haters I can’t F##king hear you, reception”.
We got there nice and early and wandered over to the main stage and was greeted by what I can only describe as the dance music festival equivalent of a naff wedding set. I’m not going to say who it was playing, but there isn’t much need for Show Me Love so early on, there’s ZERO need for Venga Boys and the Oggie Oggie Oggie mic chants can most certainly DO ONE. That laughable set was a great opportunity for a quick wander round to see what tents were where?
From memory, there were 3 tents in addition to the main stage last year and 4 this year, with the addition of what was a mainly Tropical House artist tent, hosted by bloggers turned label, Selected, and headlined by Robin Schulz and Jonas Blue.
We had a quick go on the waltzer, as you do, and wandered back to the main stage where lo and behold Low Steppa was playing back to back with Sonny Fodera, who I’m sure was wearing a vintage Arsenal away shirt? They looked like they were having a whale of a time, it may have been a huge stage and an ever increasing crowd but it could’ve easily been some after party back at one of their gaffs, they seemed that relaxed. Mid set we heard Camelphat’s tune of the summer ‘Cola’ for the first time of many that day.
I won’t dwell on Tinie Tempah too much, if you’ve caught him live over the years, or even seen him ‘live’ on TV you know the energy the guy brings, but let’s just say that the big foam thumb I had brought along for some fun and to rate who I was seeing, was firmly staying upturned.
We wandered past the Selected tent where Don Diablo was playing the polar opposite to Tropical House and to a packed tent too. The Ants tent wasn’t too packed and no one was fancying a slice of techno at this point in my group, so we kept on moving. On our travels we kept seeing different girls in Shania Twain ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ type outfits (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please Google it, no seriously check it out) I’m not sure if this has been a thing all Summer or what? but if so, fair play, it’s a strong look.
Last year my fav arena was the D&B tent, but this year it was so packed when we went past, we gave it a miss. If you looked at the calibre of the line up – Netsky, Camo & Krooked, High Contrast, Goldie, Fabio & Grooverider and more – you’d understand why it was so rammo. Our loss on this occasion, no doubt.
An act that we did see last year in the D&B tent, Wilkinson, was performing a live set on the main stage, which I felt set the tone nicely for Sigma and the headliners for the Saturday, Pendulum. After catching the end of Wilkinson it was back to the Selected tent as my girlfriend was rather keen on seeing Kungs, as she had really enjoyed his recent album. Kungs set was more Future House than Tropical House (both genre names grind my gears somewhat) but musically it was high energy, unfortunately laden with some ‘Whoomp There It Is’ chants and when he dropped his trumpet laden hit of last Summer and the place went nuts.
I managed to get the girls to swing past MKs tent to actually catch him play for a bit and his tent was just as packed as the D&B arena. The thing is with MK is if you’ve seen him play once, you’ve seen him a hundred times, so I made the executive decision to go and catch Marshmello on the main stage, mainly to see what the fuss was all about?
I can’t help but scoff at anyone bouncing about on stage with what looks like an upturned white dustbin with eyes and a mouth, on their head. I realise Daft Punk wear helmets and they’re considered cool AF, but how many pictures have you seen of Daft Punk without their helmets on? Exactly, they use them to create an air of mystery. You can Google pics of Marshmello (whilst looking for Shania Twain) without his dustbin on, easily. It’s simply a gimmick. But what of his music and production? It sure had a huge crowd entertained, with plenty of ‘Put your hands up’ prompts whilst chopping through pretty grim EDM. Out came the ‘Whoomp there is’ chants once more and I realised that this is what I should actually expect, bearing in mind the main stage was in fact sponsored by Capital FM, those huge supporters of cool dance music. Foam thumb turned down.
Before the day was out we caught Sigma, who really are great live with their double drummers and myriad of hits you can sing along to, beyond just ‘Nobody To Love’, although that, rather unsurprisingly, received the best reaction to any single track on the day, that I saw and would’ve received a huge foam thumbs up, if it hadn’t been pinched a little earlier.
We stayed for half of Pendulum’s set before heading off before the rush, to my fav pub away from the Clapham High Street madness, to have a few more for the road and discuss the fun of the day including the hot topics of…a) When will ‘Whoomp There It Is’ die a slow miserable death? And b) Is Shania Twain now a fashion icon??