All Points East Festival 2018 turns up the heat with Catfish and the Bottlemen
Forget about the rainy and gloomy days of the past week: summer has started in Victoria Park, and the festival season is already sounding good in East London. All Points East, a brand new rock event, begins its second packed concert weekend dubbed Presents with an impressive lineup of artists.
The ten-day festival officially kicked off on the 25th May with a programme featuring many big names, the likes of Björk, Benin City, LCD Soundsystem, Yonaka and The xx. In between weekends, the venue offered In The Neighbourhood, a series of free and ticketed activities – including screenings, comedy and open-air gym classes – in collaboration with the local community and the hosting organisations. The music stage was indeed a central part of the event, but once you got through the security checks, a great deal of food stalls, photo boots and fun pop-ups also welcomed the participants.
From Friday onwards, All Points East Presents featured three days of concerts, with extraordinary headline shows supported by equally outstanding artists.
When Young and The Amazons graced the East stage in the afternoon, while the evening opened up with synth group Blossoms. The Stockport band started with their latest singles There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls) and I Can’t Stand It, interesting experiments in pop taste. Charlie Salt and Myles Kellock’s electronics substantially permeated all the tracks, from the most classic Love Talk and signature single Charlemagne to the melodic and slower Between the Eyes and Blown Rose. However, acoustic numbers I Just Imagined You and the punchier final Getaway exalted the great drumming by Joe Donovan and guitar by Josh Dewhurst. All the lyrics were warmly performed with the soft vocals of leading singer Tom Ogden, whose boyish face rarely disappeared from the big screens at the side of the stage.
The headline show, though, waited for the latecomers before starting the party. Catfish and the Bottlemen have well passed the novice phase of a band and show good signs of maturity and great talent in sound and performance. Sided by black and white live filming, the Welsh band travelled through their whole discography. Their rapport with the audience, though, would have been equal to zero if not for vibrant and magnetic frontman Evan McCann.
Each piece ended with blackouts, making every single a unique act, rather than a fluid sequence. Fans and new audience members could enjoy alternative rock songs alongside more experimental music. It took a couple of tracks, but finally with Soundcheck and Pacifier the ensemble began to heat up the night: the pieces were a pure blast of strings and vocals. Heathrow offered a slower and more acoustic sound, which transitioned into an even lower key with Outside. No doubt, one of the highlights was the fresh entry Fluctuate, launched just one week ago. This superb triumph of strings from Benji Blakeway’s bass and Johnny Bond’s guitar gave more space as well to the powerful drums of Bob Hall. Long-awaited Cocoon and Tyrants gifted a final blast of energetic pulses before the flashy lights of All Point’s East’s main stage turned off definitively for the night.
Photo: Jennifer McCord
All Points East are running events at Victoria Park from 25th May until 3rd June 2018. For further information and future events visit All Points East Festival’s website here.