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  • Writer's pictureHIDEOUS Magazine

A Triumphant Debut For East London Block Party!

Words by Angelika May

On Saturday, July 29th, three iconic East London venues - The Old Blue Last, Strongroom and Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes - came together to showcase a stylistic assortment of the future of music.

Credit: Lucas Edwards

The event known as East London’s Block Party, celebrated their debut festival, drawing gig-goers who circulated the streets like blood flowing through veins, all heading towards the “beating heart of Shoreditch”. This multi-venue festival instilled a certain eagerness, turning venue hopping into an act of exploration itself. Whether it was for the discovery of new acts, or experiencing new venues, the festival certainly emphasised the spirit of discovery.

Credit: Alice Bradley

Following in the footsteps of other successful multi-venue festivals, such as Tramlines, The Great Escape, Dot to Dot, Live at Leeds etc, it’s a shame that London hasn’t fully utilised their diverse range of venues. Only Visions Festival and Brixton Disco Festival have been comparable in recent years.

These festivals are not only vital to the development of emerging artists but for preserving the very venues that host them. According to Insure4Music, one small music venue closes down each month. Our music scene wouldn’t exist without smaller venues, they’re part of the development ecology for new artists, as emphasised by Labour MP John Spellar, who campaigned alongside Paul McCartney and Billy Bragg with his “Agent of Change Bill” stated; “They (the Government) need to remember that no star started out by headlining Wembley Stadium”. Thus, it remains imperative to recognise and support these smaller venues through innovative and engaging festivals such as the East London Block Party.

Credit: Alice Bradley

The debut year's lineup boasted an impressive array of alternative and eclectic artists, which was a fantastic example of our thriving underground scene. The Strongroom bar held acts such as the cinematic-folk spectacle that is Rosie Alena, cabaret-pop eccentricity Vanity Fairy and sonic fusion/avant-garde pop artist Tony Njoku. Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes treated us to the raw, grunge energy of Lemondaze’s atmospheric melodies. Meanwhile, The Old Blue Last presented a formidable roster featuring the raw power of garage-rock band Pushpin, the evocative post-punk Saloon Dion, visionary art-rock/post-punk Moreish Idols and ambient post-rock artistry of Butch Kassidy. Finishing off the night with an energetic DJ set from a couple of Mandrake Handshake members.

Vanity Fairy and Butch Kassidy were unequivocal stand-outs. Comparable to the energy of “the green fairy” (played by Kylie Minogue) in “Moulin Rouge”, her hypnotising presence makes me question my own reality, entire existence and crave a glass of absinthe.

Credit: Lucas Edwards

Vanity’s classically alluring voice adds a transcendental perspective to the already psychedelic and disco-infused elements of her artistry. The pinnacle of her performance lies in her audience interaction, this time we were blessed with the hilarious scene of Vanity opening the curtains of The Strongroom bar to reveal a street of equally mesmerised members of the public, she even, “found herself a man”.

Credit: Lucas Edwards

On the contrasting side of the underground scene, Butch Kassidy unfurled an auditory wonder far beyond the capabilities of language to describe. The intricate layering created a tapestry of ambience that builds until it is a raging cacophony of, well, rage. These eerie soundscapes are mastered flawlessly due to each member's insane mastery of their instruments.

East London’s Block Party’s multifaceted musical exhibition was a wholly sapid experience.


Keep up to date with East London Block Party.


Photography by Alice Bradley + Lucas Edwards.


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