[Above image credit: Michael Njunge and Gemma Bell – Here & Now]
London is a city with an ever-changing and pioneering dance scene. While cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam boast many well respected and protected clubs, London clubs face a constant fight against closure and gentrification. While this could be viewed negatively, it has also led to the creation of a range of new genres and DIY club spaces, one of which was visited by two of the Mantissa crew last Sunday. The Three Mills Island, utilised by big name promoters, Percolate, for their first Open Air festival, is a small island hidden away between Bromley-By-Bow and Stratford helping to give the festival a satisfyingly secluded feel.
As one could expect from Percolate, the lineup boasted a diverse group of DJs while the schedule ensured all different music tastes were met at any point in time. While Ryan Elliot, Leon Vynehall and Evan Baggs eased the crowd in with a five hour back-to-back at The Unit, Moxie set the tone for Objekt at The Face; the larger primary stage. Objekt playing his unpredictable blend of techno and electro, fiercely mixed through chops and cuts, was one of the day’s early highlights. He kept the tempo within a smaller range than his typical sets – most likely premeditated due to his early slot. However, this did not impede the quality of his set, played in a similar vein to his 2017 Freerotation set and including a couple of crowd pleasers in the form of two of the summer’s biggest tracks Batu – Marius and his own, Theme From Q.After watching Paranoid London and relaxing on bean bags under a canopy, we caught the last 45 minutes of a blinding set by Saoirse, which left us wanting much more and rueing our decision not to see her earlier. Playing a mixture of bouncy and squelchy tracks like John Thomas – Working Night that perfectly juxtaposed the dreary weather. Koze’s closing set confirmed that few DJs share that same ability to control the crowd; building tension and anticipation through long build-ups, often mixing tracks for several minutes at a time, and teasing them in before dropping them back out. His set included several great songs including his signature closer, his own remix of Låpsley – Operator. However, the highlight came when Koze finally dropped Insomniac Therapy – Lurking Miami Sun – Name Does Not Matter Mix after teasing it in for what felt like an eternity. It was the perfect track for the moment. All-in-all, Percolate’s first park day festival should be recognised as a real success. Addressing a couple of sound bleed issues between the two stages and adding a few more food stalls would help cement Percolate as a must on the London festival calendar. Spirits were kept high despite the near constant downpour, a true testament to the quality of the music and atmosphere.
Written by James Acquaye Nortey-Glover