Shakedown, the unofficial end to the festival season, came around only for the second time ever at Stanmer Park, Brighton on October 6.
I spent very little time at the main stage through a combination of poor timing, schedule clashes and apathy, but this is what I completely missed; Special K’s, Union, Jacob Plant, Clement Marfo and The Frontline, then Stooshe.
I briefly caught Katy B welcoming in the beginning of night (she had orange hair and struck up an instant rapport with the crowd), Professor Green and Dizzee Rascal. As he’s usually at every festival going, I’ve seen him a few times before and already knew what to expect, so gave the prospect of being surrounded by sweaty, shirtless, beer-spitting, jumping (male) teenagers a miss.
For those who preferred almost non-stop pounding dubstep then the Supercharged Arena was the place to be. The tent-type structure resembled an enormous two-peaked, blue circus top, but despite the large open spaces inside there was a zig-zag metal cattle fence set-up making the journey to the entrance five times longer.
This arrangement caused no end of problems once the crowds swelled and people tried to leave as others entered – eventually the police got involved. First up was Brimmer, followed by The Prototypes then B.Traits who really got the crowd going with an early start. Then for a slight change of pace Ms Dynamite and Shy FX took to the stage, linking their sets with their collaboration ‘Light Up’, her soft voice hummed over the recuperating crowd, meandering around in a slight daze, and transporting us back to 2002.
There wasn’t too much time for relaxing though as Friction ramped the bass back up; churning out his trademark sound, including signature tune ‘Led Astray’. Then Zane Lowe dug deep into his record collection and cranked it up to 11 (even if he does occasionally get on the mic a little too much).
Due to the huge queue that steadily grew as the day drew on and the headlined acts turned up, the punters that had already got in were not inclined to give up their position inside the tent.
As a result the raving crowd only broke off from the main pack and venture to the side of the tent to either relieve themselves against it or occasionally lift up the side to roll a momentarily paralysed excessive ketamine user into the daytime fresh air, never to be seen or thought of again.
As the encased crowd swirled around their new Truman Show world, in a whirlwind of wellies, cider and sweaty carelessness, Knife Party arrived with their fluid set of pulsing electronic waves that enveloped all within the circus-top of dub that the arena had become.
Newish track ‘Centipede’, ‘Bonfire’, Facebook murder song ‘Internet Friends’ and even joint tune with Swedish House Mafia ‘Antidote’, plus Monsta’s ‘Holdin’ On’ all made an appearance.
Chase and Status had no such desire to play songs by other artists – smashing out ‘Time’, ‘Blind Faith’ and ‘Flashing Lights’. New track ‘Big Man’ had been getting an early preview at every festival the duo played this summer. It’s such a heavy, bassy track that it almost sounds like it’s by Rage Against The Machine. If you want to check it out you can download it free from their website, all you have to do is join their mailing list (only time will tell how much this will cost in aggravation over the coming years, but let’s not worry about that now).
Throughout the set Chase and Status also relentlessly plugged their new album title and release date as if to burn the information into their audience – their minds made more malleable by their dehydration, lack of oxygen and hard beats – like a mass, futuristic Clockwork Orange scene.
Due to the sealed sides there was a distinct lack of light, the venue had the feeling of being in a constant night-time state for over nine hours where the normal laws of humanity no longer applied – like if you’d gone to a club on a Saturday night and could not leave until Monday, possibly as part some nightmarish experiment into human behaviour to see what would happen if kept from sunlight and only exposed to drum ‘n’ bass. For all we know it may have actually been a Channel 5 reality show.
But those who didn’t mind the perpetual darkness, urine drenched tent and endless queuing sure had a good time (including local ‘legend’ Dancing Pete). Anecdotal tales from the main stage also proved positive, and there was only one recorded stabbing – well done Brighton.
Written by ::: Chris Dyer
Twitter ::: @JChrisDyer