Heard about this a few weeks and within 5 minutes of reading about it, i had bought my tickets. The last year Iíve really got into Groove Armada and the chance to see them live was not to be missed. And it wasn't just a straight forward gig either, but a 2 day festival in Victoria Park, London over the weekend. There would be 6 arenas hosting a variety of performers, bands and DJ's though out the day. I had decided to go on the Sunday as performing on the main stage were DJ Markey and Patife, spinning out Brazilian Drum&Bass on a hopefully sunny day.
Unfortunately, a sunny day it did not start off as. On getting out of bed I was greeted by a rainy, grey day, and to make matters worse i couldnít get through to the friends I had arranged to go with. All a bit of a premature panic as soon enough I was on the train with James and Kelly. Still my enthusiasm wasn't exactly peaking with the feeling that it might end up being washed out. I had pictures in my head of a Glastonbury style mud-fest.
We arrived there about half an hour after the noon opening time and it wasn't exactly heaving. In fact the place felt empty. We had a quick wander around before getting some not so nice baguettes and over-priced (at £3), plastic bottles of 1664. It was still raining lightly so the 3 of decided to take shelter in the Lost Vagueness Arena, and chilled out on the sofas to see what would unfold. Most of bands around hadn't started playing yet due to the lack of crowd so we had to put up with background CD's and DJ's. Didn't put off The Cuban Brothers, they were relentless in dancing around and grinding up to any girl unfortunate enough to stray near.
The energy wasn't flowing yet, so we all gave ourselves a boost and wandered into the Rare Feast Spiegel Tent, which was kitted out as a 1920's style restaurant with a stage. We got a table but decided not to order £25 lobster or champagne and carried on drinking our pints we had acquired from the Strongbow Rooms. Soon enough we were treated to the comedy and excellence of the Bikini Beach Boys. Sounds like a piss-take and they were. But good. They bought a smile to my face as soon as they walked onto stage. Dressed in multi-coloured Bermuda Shorts and Hawaiian Shirts, large retro sunglasses topped off with classic red fezís perched on their heads, they looked the part. They played instrumental covers, which were played very well and accompanied by hilarious choreographed dancing. Well it wasn't really dancing, just exaggerated moves to the music, performed with deadly serious facial expressions, even though they had the most ridiculous costumes on. After a couple of tracks an even more funny (and sexy) female dancer came on and really started getting things going,
Even though we were enjoying the spectacle, we started to get restless and had noticed the rain stop so we headed out again in search of more fun. This came in the form of YoB (Youth of Britain), a band you will soon hear more of. Think Sex Pistols meet The Streets. Well sort of. The tune i remember most was "Chav". Need i say more?
I then got an unexpected call from a friend i met in Goa and not seen since, so after meeting her, and the sun finally coming out, I really started enjoying myself. By about 5 a festival atmosphere really started to take hold. Half way point and things could only get better. After chilling in the sun near the Main Stage, taking in the Tabla beats of Talvin Singh, i heard a MC start to introduce "a couple of DJ's from Brazil". I ran to the front. DJ Markey and Patife were on, accompanied by the vocal talents of Cleaveland Watkis and MC Stamina. The moment Markey dropped the first tune, the previously docile crowd erupted into a pulsating throng of bodies. Even though he played a bit of a darker selection than normal, he got the crowd really going mad for the whole hour that he, Patife and the MC's were on.
The next couple of hours were spent enjoying the sun outside the Strongbow Rooms, tuning in to Gilles Peterson and Dynamite MC, getting ready for the Groove Armada finale. Unfortunately i have a hazy memory of that but do know that i loved every minute of it and that they didn't let us down.
Overall it ended up a VERY enjoyable day all round which even a wet start couldn't spoil. If i am in the country next summer, then i will definitely be going back.
Next: BRING ON THE CREAMFIElDS!!!!