A Weekend at Eastern Electrics 2018!

by Sam Clowes, Aug 08, 2018

Eastern Electrics have once again blown us away with an incredible two-day festival experience in South London last weekend.

With an all-encompassing line-up, the weekend was divided in two with Saturday covering all aspects of House, Techno and Bassline across stages hosted by Skremizm, Edible, Defected, Tropical Tea Party, Ministry of Sound, TQD and of course the EE Mainstage.

The Sunday carried a different vibe, playing anything urban across all stages. Nonetheless, the festival covered every element of electronic music throughout the weekend, with both days living up to the name with an ‘electric’ atmosphere and friendly vibes throughout.

Kicking things off on Saturday, we headed straight over to the Switchyard stage, where Billy Turner took to the decks to provide a superb mix of Techno and House, including his own releases on Kneaded Paris, Drumcode, and Turbo Recordings.

Eat’s Everything’s Edible took charge of The Switchyard for the weekend, which was built out of shipping containers to give it an industrial style, with lasers and a top of the range sound system to get the crowd hyped.

 

Later in the day the stage played host to one of the techno big dogs, Alan Fitzpatrick, who played lots of his own music as well as paying homage to his good friend over at the Big Top, Skream, playing the hard-hitting poison remix to get the crowd’s energy boosted before Eats everything took over for the closing set.

Over at Defected Records stage, Josh Butler got the crowds nicely warmed up before the likes of Amine Edge and DANCE, Sam divine and Franky Rizardo. 

The Defected stage was a new addition this year and you could feel the atmosphere as you made your way into what felt like a completely separate venue from the rest of the festival. The dance floor was laced with lighting on steps which covered the whole tent, while the top steps were keenly occupied by the muscle-man-fist pump-gang, in colourful short-sleeve shirts and spray-on-shorts.

Ministry of sound hosted perhaps one of the strangest stage settings we had ever visited, a party in a port-a-loo. We scrambled our way through the VIP gates, through the ministry of sound ball-pit, before travelling through a port-a-loo Tardis to hear the pumping bass of the Menendez brothers.

I only happened to stumble across this mysterious stage entrance when heading for a leak, only to nearly piss my pants in surprise at the crowd of V.I.P’s on the other side.

Our first visit to the Skreamizm Stage was in a rush to catch Jackmaster after his late announcement as a special guest. He certainly made the most of the steel cased RC-1 sound system, taking a stance for heavy techno and house infusion, and almost completely avoiding his usual light-hearted disco and house bangers as he adapted to the crowd before him.

He scrambled through boxes of records, highlighting his musical knowledge while keeping everyone thoroughly satisfied; even with their eardrums ringing for the next two days.

 

When lunch time came, the hardest part was making a decision from dozens of the finest street food vans from up and down the country. I opted for KFC, and not your usual bargain bucket, but Korean Fried Chicken; a delicious and spicy take on the Colonel’s secret recipe (and much better if you ask me).

Later on at the Skreamizm stage, Skream finished off the day with a two-hour set and, hosting his own stage certainly felt like he was in his element. He had the chance to play whatever he liked, including releases from his friends. He mixed Solardo -Be Somebody with Gettoblaster – Cake Pops (original mix), a challenging but fun mix for any DJ.

 

One of the biggest unexpected highlights of the day for me came from the Tropical Tea Party stage.

At 4:30pm Afriquoi took to the stage for one of the stand-out live performances of the weekend. Their infusion of traditional African instruments with synthesizers and electronic keyboards added a unique sound to the festival line-up. My eyes were glued to the stage, where their energy and crowd interaction left me dancing for the remainder of their set.

 

Finally, the main headliner and legendary DJ/producer, Jamie Jones, closed off the day in perfect style. His flawless mixing ability and his distinctive style of melodic techno were shown in full-force.

The Sunday at Eastern Electrics 2018 took a different stance, playing urban music spanning from disco to reggae to grime and everything in-between.

Our early arrival meant that we could go and see some of the warm up acts with little to no crowd whatsoever, but the DJ’s that started off the day were certainly not underwhelming!

We started off in the VIP area, where Eliza Rose was the first to take to the decks on the ‘so fresh so clean’ stage. As the only two people in the crowd, we felt like Eliza really deserved more recognition for her musical selection, but it’s always hard playing the midday set on day two of a weekend festival!

Nonetheless, she remained positive throughout with great energy. When the dancefloor was ours, and ours alone, we more-than enjoyed ourselves.

Eliza Rose is definitely one to watch in the future! Her musical knowledge and distinctive style separates her from the rest – ‘Sultans des îles by L’imperatrice’  being the most memorable track, leading on from Letta Mbulu’s Nomalizo, which set the vibe for the entire hour.

Following on from Eliza was another favourite from the day, perhaps because the early sets showcased a different style of music, with more disco and funk in a day filled with bass. The second DJ duo from ‘So Fresh So Clean’ was Abstrkt vs Ittman, their energy and enthusiasm incomparable; especially when there was still such a small crowd. They played everything from Jamie Foxx to Three 6 Mafia, loving every minute and using the competition to vibe off of each other.

The change of stages for the Sunday meant that Drum and bass label RAM took over the big top and Matt Jam Lamont brought pure garage to the switchyard.

Throughout the day at the Switchyard stage, Scott Garcia supplied old school garage classics combined with modern baseline remixes.

For example, Jorja Smith and Preditah’s collaboration on ‘On My Mind’ and DJ Zinc’s ‘138 Trek’. Then Champion took over the decks before Matt Jam Lamont and Wookie finished off the festival at the Switchyard.

The afternoon was mostly grime artists on the Eastern Electrics main stage, with a heavy line-up of 67, CASISDEAD, AJ Tracey, Ghetts, and a bit of Kurupt FM thrown in the mixer before David Rodigan to finish it all off.  The stand out moment of the afternoon came when AJ Tracey bought out special guest appearance Dave who recently won a MOBO award for best newcomer, to perform their massive track ‘Thiago Silva’ while the entire crowd sang along.

To finish off an incredible weekend at Eastern Electrics, David Rodigan took to the stage bringing his classic style with numerous exclusives and historic dubplates. The legendary reggae selector always brings original dubplates in an authentic sound clash style and his performance at Eastern Electrics was no different.

I would highly recommend Eastern Electrics festival to any fan of electronic music, and their home in Morden park was the perfect location. So, keep your eyes peeled for more to come next year!

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