As the event’s first title, Gorillaz brought their carnival of sound and color to The East Stage. The record-breaking virtual band, the brainchild of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, cemented their status as one of the most visionary, fearless, and boundary-pushing pop bands in the neighborhood, in this set of throwback tracks. at home.
A carousel of high profile special guests kept the crowd guessing. Among them, the likes of De La Soul, Popcaan, The Clash’s Paul Simonon, Rowetta and Shaun Ryder, all featured. The band even took the opportunity to create the futuristic disco of brand new track “New Gold”, featuring Tame Impala, with Kevin Parker making a surprise appearance, and Bootie Brown.
Introducing his “very old friend” Paul Simonon, Albarn took a moment to acknowledge that it was the first time since 2010 that the two had taken the stage together to perform the title track from the band’s third album – “Plastic Beach”. The group concluded with the double whammy of their greatest hits “Feel Good Inc.” and ‘Clint Eastwood’, to the loud reaction of the crowd.
Earlier, IDLES brought chaos and energy to their title on The West Stage. “We’ve been waiting a long time to come back, and we’re so grateful that you’re here to pick us up and hold us in your beautiful arms,” frontman Joe Talbot told a cheering crowd. Thank you, All Points East. The band from Bristol offered a timely reminder of the power of their special blend of primal punk. “Open this pit right now. Open it. Open it… now turn,” Talbot ordered amid the loud chaos of “Never Fight A Man with A Perm.” Foreword to their penultimate track, “Danny Nedelko,” the singer offered a powerful dedication: “It’s a song about the best thing that’s happened to our country: the immigrants who built and made this place better.”
During their set, Mercury Prize nominees Self Esteem and IDLES threw some love at each other – The fiery IDLES on the west stage saw Self Esteem join the crowd, dance with his friends and enjoy the music as the band dedicated “The Beachland Ballroom” to sound. They then posed for a photo together later in the crowd. Self Esteem supported IDLES on their four-night Brixton Academy tour in January and both acts mix music and activism in equal measure.
Earlier today, Self Esteem took to the Ray-Ban West Stage to dazzle audiences with songs including “I Do This All The Time”, “Moody” and “You Forever” from their nominated album at the Mercury Prioritize Pleasure Award.
As the final act before Gorillaz took over The East Stage, Turnstile showcased his thrilling punk and blew all the early night cobwebs as he showcased his knack for a killer, rugged guitar hook, while that a jam-packed North Stage saw American producer Kenny The Beats go through the roof, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
British singer-songwriter Loyle Carner joined progressive Kilburn rapper Knucks in the same tent for a special rendition of “Standout”. The surprise appearance had the crowd roaring with excitement following a phenomenal set from the North London artist, who had already warmed up his audience with several of his key tracks – including a selection from his Alpha project Square, from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Send Nudes’ to ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’. As he finished his set, Knucks humbly told the crowd, “I appreciate you guys, that was awesome.”
Meanwhile, American East Coast rapper Pusha T brought fight talk to The East Stage. “How many of you have It’s Almost Dry album? We’re a few here. muthaf***in rap album of the year. Easy. Easy,” he boasted before launching into 2022’s single, “Diet Coke.” Stalking the stage with steely eyes was an exercise in sharp missives, thanks to tracks like “Hear Me Clearly,” “If You Know You Know.” the dust settled on an explosive ‘Neck & Wrist’, the hip hop entertainer issued a simple invitation: “December 19. Brixton. Y’all meet me there.”
Other highlights included Malaika, Willow Kayne, Yves Tumor and their band, Remi Wolf, Obongjayar and Ibibio Sound Machine – while the day kicked off on The 6 Music Stage with French-born British DJ Gilles Peterson.
Saturday night sees the return of APE Presents: Field Day for their 15th anniversary. Headlining The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk and Special Guest, Peggy Gou and a stellar lineup of supporting artists. In The Neighborhood returns for free activities from Sunday, August 21 through Wednesday, August 24. Visit https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/nbhd/ for full details.
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