London dance duo Jungle smashed it out of the park for their debut headline festival performance. Sounding stronger than ever, they delivered a stellar set of precision-tooled, beat-heavy bangers, Jungle kept the bpm high and the mood higher. Backed by a dazzling light show, the band, comprising Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, were augmented by a band to bring their upbeat songs to life.
Looking thoroughly at home on the big stage, they treated fans to a set that charted their ten-year career, including standouts from acclaimed, recently released fourth studio album Volcanos and earlier cuts. In particular, the likes of ‘All of the Time’ and ‘Coming Back’ had limbs loose and feet moving before the group delivered a sizzling encore that raised temperatures further.
The ubiquitous strains of ‘Keep Moving’ was followed by a propulsive ‘Fire’. Looking stoked, and revelling in the mass before them, the band thanked London for “dancing” with them. It was the least All Points East could do. Heck, it wasn’t even optional.
Erykah Badu is many things. The first lady of neo-soul. Radical. And all-round game-changer. On the West Stage, and in front a highly excitable crowd, the Queen of Neo Soul didn’t disappoint. Emerging in a black sorcerer’s hat, multi-coloured cloak and boots bedecked with multifarious teddy bears and soft toys, the icon enchanted as she launched into signature track ‘On & On’ from 1997’s influential album Baduizm. It was a sight to behold. And a sound to delight as well.
Directing musical traffic with an arm raise here, and a throw of the finger there, the musical magus had the command of her dextrous band. Donning orange jumpsuits, they fulfilled their roles. The drums snapped and cracked, the bass loped and bobbed, and the result was a groove that was impossible to resist. Badu dispatched beloved tunes such as ‘Bag Lady’, ‘Window Seat’, and ‘Appletree’ to cheers and a full-throated crowd choir singing the words back. Before closing with an exquisite ‘Tyrone’, Badu thanked the crowd for bringing the energy, adding matter-of-factly: “This is my therapy. I need it.”
With a Mercury nomination for her album My 21st Century Blues, RAYE was in confident form on the East Stage. Bounding onstage, she cheerfully announced, “I’ve got a bad back. We’re gonna have a great time!’. Her widescreen gospel-and-pop cocktail went down a treat. The chatty Londoner even provided a bit of homespun wisdom amid the hits (“Don’t date rappers,” she said). ‘Hard Out Here’ was a highlight that connected the crowd as the personal nature of the lyrics struck an emotional chord.
BADBADNOTGOOD’s jazz and psychedelia made for an engrossing blend on the West Stage. The Canadian trio had the audience gripped as they plundered their discography for a stimulating journey into the world of virtuoso musicianship. Fans were left dazzled by the intricate interplay on display as drums, sax and bass and keys locked into a sonic soup for the mind to get lost in.
Nia Archives made the North Stage a rave haven so wild and rambunctious that the tent felt like it might become untethered from its pitch. Thrilling the masses with high-octane jungle, this was a breathless and giddy experience. Archives danced on stage with an enthusiasm that was the match of the crowd. Dropping a drum and bass version of Friday nights’ West Stage headliners’ Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Heads Will Roll’, the hysteria was palpable. A bounty of beats and jittery visuals made for a highly hypnotic experience.
Powered by Jacob Lusk’s traffic-halting voice, Gabriels proved quite the tonic for the damp souls drying out from the torrential Saturday afternoon rain. With a sound that charted finger clicking gospel and comedown disco, this was a set to offer succour to any ailing spirits. Running through songs from their acclaimed debut Angels & Queens – including Lusk’s “favourite” ‘Professional’ – the music slipped down deliciously.
While the reception to their breakthrough track ‘Love and Hate in a Different Time’ elicited a huge response, the whole set satisfied. Lusk prowled the stage in matching red suit and gown, gold mic and mic stand, looking like a Pentecostal preacher on a mission. There was a nod to Tina Turner when Lusk and co broke into a sample of Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’. Headliner status surely soon beckons for this tremendous group. No wonder Elton John has routinely championed them.
Additional highlights from day four of All Points East included Charlotte Day Wilson, Lil Silva, Ragz Originale, Pretty Girl, and more while the day kicked off on The 6 Music Stage with the soul and house stylings of DJ Scarlett O’Malley.