If the August bank holiday weekend conventionally signals the end of the British summer of music festivals, you would have done well to find a better way to conclude the season than witnessing the Chemical Brothers at SW4 on Clapham Common.
With a modestly sized 20,000 people in attendance, the SW4 organisers decided to end all the other acts playing before Chemical Brothers took to the stage, ensuring the entire audience witnessed a set they would never forget. An extremely uncommon feat at a music festival, and huge compliment to the London born DJ's.
Wasting zero time in breaking out the classics, the duo introduced themselves with 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl', which naturally grabs everyone's attention. Over the next 90 minutes an electronic masterclass in build up, drops, mixes and classic hits would overcome the crowd to complete raucous behavior, feelings of ecstasy and pure thumping energy.
Through the set, the duo performed all notable classics such as 'Swoon', 'Galvanize' and many hits from their critically acclaimed most recent album 'Born in the Echoes', before ending with 'Block Rocking Beats'; Though the stand out tune was a goose bump inducing adaptation of 'Saturated'. Dragging out the euphoric moments, and pumping up the volume, they really know how to remix their own tunes. A mesmerising performance.
Still concluding the end of their current world tour, it was inspiring to see the Chemical Brothers tweak their set from what they performed earlier on in the year at Parklife - something some DJ's do not do.
For SW4 itself, the festival is concise and boutique like, making the most of a small patch of Clapham Common. The crowd were incredibly friendly and of mature age (25-35), which only added to the fantastic atmosphere of the festival. There was a sense of togetherness and familiarity amongst the crowd that has definitely been absent in many other festivals.
Elsewhere throughout the day, Booka Shade was a noticeable highlight. Performing on the Silver City Stage, the DJ was joined by a live drummer, which was massively well received by the audience, allowing the beats and base to sound more hyperbolic.
Following on from Booka Shade was the veteran John Digweed, a disc jockey who's seemingly been around since progressive house began. Previously voted Number 1 DJ in the world back in 2001, the old-school DJ still has a huge cult following and knows how to work the crowd - though his appearance at SW4 seemed frustratingly average as he casually spun through an 80 minute set.
Above and Beyond closed the Silver City Stage with another 80 minute set. The trance gods have the accolade of being one of the very few British acts to sell out New York's Madison Square Garden and it's quite clear why their music is loved all over the world. Known for their ridiculously euphoric trance, their set at SW4 was a little different as they included some 90's house classics and even smashed out 'Porcelain' by Moby, a rare occurrence for Above and Beyond who normally stick to their own hits. Though the set was different than most would be use to, Above and Beyond are always a hit.
Eric Prydz was also at the Common under his techo pseudonym Cirez D, whilst Four Tet, Sven Vath, Maya Jane Coles and Carl Cox were all notable sets. However it will be Chemical Brothers who take the headlines and what most fans will be remembering in months, maybe years down the line.
Those wishing to see the duo again, they have just announced a grand finale of their World Tour will be in London on December 9 and 10, with tickets going on sale from today. As for SW4, how will they go one bigger next year, only time will tell.
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