Live Review: Wide Awake Festival – Brockwell Park, London 27.05.23

Michael Hundertmark

What a perfect weekend to kick start the festival season, than to head to London, to one of the many one day festivals taking place across the nation with Wide Awake Festival, which is set in Brockwell Park, a stone’s throw away from Brixton tube station. With minimal queues and not so intrusive security, festival goers were already lining the streets walking down to the park entrance on this coincidentally perfect Sunny Saturday just after gates were set to open. Wide Awake Festival is one of the fastest growing alternative festivals with an intersection of musical styles and 

The festival itself is put together by stages various venues which included one by the Hackney Moth club as well as the now infamous Brixton Windmill to name a couple.

Kicking off the day’s entertainment was the mesmerising songwriting by Naimo Bock, formerly from Goat Girl.  Her folk songs draw on family life and the earth and took to the stage in a professional manner a little later than the advertised time, fitting in nicely with the friendly community atmosphere around the festival site already taking shape on this relaxed sunny afternoon!

Upping the tempo a notch following with some American experiment psyche Rock were JJUUJJUU on the Bad Vibrations / Desert daze Stage. The band itself is a collaboration by international artists and is the fruition of the Los Angeles musician Phil Perrone, whose claim to fame is by launching the Desert Daze Festivals.

After getting my bearings around the site and checking out the many local trader stalls and even a Roller disco was in full swing by the stylish gen z crowds the best place to head was the Moth Club tent to see Cola and their jaunty alt rock set, which bore some similarity to some early Stokes numbers.

A brief interlude made for just enough time to head to one of the smallest, open air The Gun / Shacklewell Arms stage for some Nine Inch Nails style antics from Model / Actriz. The band had a charismatic stage presence with shouting directlyat the fans down the front. But then again was carefully orchestrated. 

In contrast to to the heavier-angst rock were Glass Beams with some Indian fusion inspired 70’s prog-rock sounds with the band being all masked to not reveal their identity!

With some clashes throughout the day between the stages, but The Bug Club were an unexpected find and came up trumps, with their catchy foot taping hooks and witty lyrics. The band only just had their biggest headline show to date at EartH in Hackney back in April and are fronted by two school friend from south Wales.

{Philadelphia’s Alex G drew in the crowds on the main Wide Awake stage with some intimate songwriting but was mired with some sound mixing issues, but the band pulled together a meaningful low-fi folk set!

One of the high points of the day were Jockstrap with their hi-energy set with the fans spilling out of the Moth Club tent trying to catch a glimpse. Lead singer Georgia Ellery voice echoes effortlessly through the audience with some danceable songs with the likes of ‘Debra’ and ‘50/50’

The early evening saw the likes of Viagra Boys and Black Country, New Road who create some totally different styles of music. Viagra boys being more ska-punk mayhem with the largest mosh pit forming today! Front Man Sebastian Murthy seemed to be enjoying himself sipping from a can of larger and bellowing into the crowd ‘I want you to be on your worst behaviour!’

Black Country New Road, bring some classical influences and art-Rock style to the Bad Vibrations / Desert Daze stage and sounded as unique and romantic as ever, but not quite as characterful with vocals since frontman Isaac Wood left the band in 2022.

With some stage antics, Osees frontman John Dwyer guided through some impressive raucous psychedelic rock with some 80’s hard-core infusion thrown in. The two drummers were pounding in perfect unison! The band seem to be constantly on tour in between the US and Europe and have an overwhelming back catalogue of some great records.

It was Caroline Polachek’s first festival headline appearance and judging by the few songs that I caught between the two sets, as she clashed with Osees on the second stage, her voice sounded impressive and captivating with an electro-pop theme and Caroline Polachek had the crowd in control right from the beginning with some original stage production.

Overall Wide Awake festival offered a grand day out with well curated stages, offering a wide variety of musical tastes and a superb lineup to boot that would be hard to match for next year’s event!

Previous Live Review: Carcass / Conjurer / Slimelord - The Warehouse, Leeds 30.05.23
Next Track: Maya Ongaku - Melting

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.