Jungle at All Points East
It may have been a rainy day in East London’s Victoria Park, but that couldn’t dampen the vibes and bright smiles at Saturday’s All Points East.
Sofia Isella performed in the evening to a smaller crowd, but she deserved her flowers. Her show is haunting, her music a delicate patchwork of female rage, patriarchy and unhingedness. She is hypnotic, with track Us and Pigs captivating those around.
RAYE is a standout of the festival, her set full of heart and her natural charisma. She flawlessly moves from blues to jazz, pop to R’n’B and even threw in new club remix Prada. She is by no means a newcomer, having grinded for years to finally get her album My 21st Century Blues released. She is a force onstage, giving a difficult but important speech before the heartbreaking Ice Cream Man. When she sings Escapism, it’s like the ground shakes. Her biggest hit yet, she points the mic to the crowd and lets the thousands gathered sing it for her. This song of pain and addiction, sung proudly with arms wide in the air, holds a special type of power.
Jungle are Saturday’s headliners, and they explode into the cool air with a wall of orange light and the opening track from their recent album Us Against the World. Their beats are infectious and the crowd are at once immersed in the sound, the joys of electronic music fizzing around the park. They move seamlessly into the single Candle Flame, a projection of Erick the Architect towering on the big screens for his verse, the song a satisfying blend of rap, soul and electronica. They play the bright and soulful Heavy, California before the tropical hit Problemz, and it is all just so good.
There are six musicians onstage, Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland in the centre with their setups ready for them to mix the music live. It’s truly a musical machine, with everything from guitars and synths to hand percussion and the flute playing a part. The crowd is drenched in this lush waterfall of sound, the kind that makes you lose your mind, throw your head back and get lost in it all. The energy is truly something to behold: hands are grasped, eyes are wide, people dance on shoulders. Never has the case for electronic headliners been so clear.
Lydia Kitto, a vital contributor to their new album Volcano, is on vocals tonight. She is a star, effortlessly carrying the crowd, her voice smooth and her passion palpable. The vocals of Lloyd-Watson and McFarland have likewise been stellar all night, their easy falsettos a key part of their soulful, funky set.
If it’s even possible, Romeo cranks the bass up: the stars above vibrate with the audience and Bas’ verses are so catchy it’s dangerous. It’s hard to believe they’re nearly halfway through the set, energy still at a high as they move into the sleek and mesmerising Cherry with background shakers and trippy out-of-focus visuals.
The encore, including hits like Keep Moving, Time and Busy Earnin’, is a party. Jungle keep pumping out good vibes with every expertly crafted synth and sample. They haven’t spoken much, save a couple of “Thank you”s and “Let’s go, All Points East!”s, but it’s not needed for these festivalgoers, happy to melt into song after song after song and forget the world for a moment.
The crowd were stars in their own right tonight. With a thunderstorm and cancelled acts earlier in the day they could’ve turned away, but they stayed and smiled regardless, dancing and loving under that vivid orange haze. They reciprocated the energy onstage with vigour and it was a delight to watch.
Photos: Jennifer McCord (Jungle)/ Nick Bennett (supports)
Watch the video for the single Back on 74 here: