Wide Awake kicked off festival season last Saturday in Brockwell Park. Pints were flowing, the weather wasn’t *awful* and music fans fled to South London in order to catch a glimpse of some of their favourite artists. It was my first time attending Wide Awake Festival and I was pleasantly surprised, the layout of the festival was well configured, the tents were spacious yet the size of the stages still gave an intimate feel to the performances. We caught a wide array of acts on the Saturday, here are our personal highlights:
As a complete techno novice I didn’t know what to expect from seeing Overmono live at Wide Awake. Being recommended to go and see their set by a friend, I headed over to see them towards the end of the day and was thoroughly impressed by their performance. I’ve seen other techno acts before and not enjoyed the music very much, in the past I’ve found it too heavy and struggled to dance along. The electronic duo’s set proved completely different. Drawing on influences from 90s rave, trance and breakbeat, they provided a club-ready sound that drew people in from around the festival. Tracks didn’t feel repetitive and were accessible for the un-‘techno-trained’ ear. I’m already searching for the next time they’re playing London to catch another one of their sets.
Seeing Alex Cameron live was one of my biggest draws to attend Wide Awake this year. I started listening to his music during lockdown and had yet to see him live – he did not disappoint. Strutting to the stage, Cameron played a set of absolute ‘sleaze-pop’, leaving anyone in a 100m radius weak at the knees. His live band was tight and together they delivered an astounding set as the sun set over Brockwell Park. Playing hits such as ‘Far From Born Again‘, ‘Miami Memory‘ and ‘K Hole‘, the live performance translated almostly perfectly from his recorded discography. Writing this article from Barcelona, I’m beyond thrilled to be able to see him again at Primavera Sound.
After the release of new EP ‘Car Therapy Sessions‘ at the end of April, I think many people were anticipating Faye Webster‘s set at the festival this year. The American singer from Atlanta has made quite the impression across the pond, playing a string of sold out dates across the UK in May. She played songs from the new album as well as tracks such as ‘Right Side of My Neck‘ and ‘Kingston‘. I do feel however that the set would have translated better into an enclosed venue due to the mellow nature of her performances. I’d still make sure to catch her at one of her November tour dates where she’s playing across 5 major cities in the UK.
Despite having their set delayed for an hour and the location of it moved, Keg still managed to pack out the tent they were playing at with festival goers spilling out to the surrounding areas. I’m yet to see Keg play a bad show and their performance at Wide Awake proved no different. Playing songs from 2021 EP ‘Assembly‘ and new single ‘Kids‘, the band were tight as ever. Despite being one of the first bands to perform, Keg were maybe the most energetic performance of the day – complete with merch being thrown into the crowd and their own on-stage hype-man/backing dancer.
Surfbort were one of the last bands I caught of the evening and were one that I was most excited to see. Formed in Brooklyn in 2015, the band have collected a great amount of hype from the likes of Blondie, The Strokes and fashion house Gucci. The release of their latest album ‘Keep On Truckin‘ in 2021 triggered a string of European dates with their Wide Awake performance being one of their last in the UK before they headed off to France, Belgium and Germany. The crowd was raucous, the music was heavy yet polished. This set seems to have marked Surfbort on the UK music scene and I’m very excited for when they next cross the pond.
Photo Credits: Overmono by Rollo Jackson, Alex Cameron by Jessica Bartolini, Faye Webster by Morgan Winston, Keg by Theo Zeal, Surfbort by Steve Appleford.
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