Live Review: ALT LDN 30-8-21
Immy Bawtree for SupaJam
(Perhaps a one hit wonder…)
“Arriving in Clapham Common, there wasn’t really much in the way of direction and/or branding for this new alternative inner city fest. After following the noise and wave of assumed festival goers, we made our way around the park to the main entrance.
From the social media posts prior to the event, there wasn’t a great air about the festivals organisation, with headliners dropping out, and other acts just being removed quietly from the lineup, there seemed to be quite a lot of negativity surrounding the set up; we really had no idea what to expect once we were in. Security was pretty laxed, and we went in with no dramas, after flashing our ‘Covid passports’ or negative lateral flow tests- this in itself was almost a utopian feel to it, with the only aspect of things you ever had to flash before were your… IDs, perhaps. We didn’t see many people kicking up a fuss, apart from some anti-vaxxers greeting everyone with their (surprisingly catchy) anti-vaccination freestyle on the gate behind the fence.
The vibe was a pretty unique one. Getting the sort of fan base from the screamo, heavy alternative rock groups, mixed in with the urban-based, soundcloud rap fans, it definitely had an underground feeling to it all. Surprisingly, the aesthetics went together hand in hand, with performances overlapping, in what actually felt surprisingly organic. Just having the two stages however, didn’t leave too much of an option to what vibe you would be feeling- I could have at least envisioned a smaller couple of DJ tents or so.
Heading over to the main outdoor stage we were greeted with some cool visuals and graphics for the artists backdrops, in between the ALT LDN logos in purples and pinks. A hardcore, dramatic performance from Dana Dentana, which hailed tribute to Marilyn Manson and Ashnikko. With strong femme energy, mixed with clowncore, they definitely put on a memorable performance, if not, a close interaction with with their fans in the front row. Would I pay to see her perform in a more intimate venue? Yes, probably, if I wasn’t too scared to witness the shaven barbies attached on stage again.
More moments did really start to stand out, perhaps as the audience got more intoxicated; forgetting about their previous lineup anger, and actually enjoying the energy of a lot of smaller performers getting the opportunity to perform for the first time to some pretty big crowds (ZAND, for example).
SmokePurpp kept a very lively crowd, if not due to his incredible sound design, but for his hype men. I wasn’t too familiar with his music prior to witnessing it live, but it was definitely one of those performances that is much better live than recorded. Listening to him on the train home at night, probably not my thing, but jumping up in a tent with everyone else vibing to it? Yeah, I could do that again. A similar vibe to Playboi Carti coming through at the end of the night. A super energetic, memorable performance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In between acts, there definitely could have been some better fillers, if not smoother transitions, and as a fairly sober audience member, this was very noticeable, and the silence was quite loud during these points.
Wargasm were another great energy to see live, I for one, of course, love a strong femme lead in a male dominated scene, and they definitely didn’t dissapoint. Seeing them on a big main stage was quite satisfying, but also made me yearn to get into a sweaty underground venue and get close to the stage, rupturing my eardrums to their squeals. If for anything, it was an experience for myself in overlapping genres, it definitely fired back up my desire for small underground gigs, and heavier artists. Something I have definitely missed during the last eventless year or so.
All the acts in between, from this pretty (what ended up as) small lineup-ed festival, seemed to satisfy my festival celibacy far more than I had anticipated, but admittedly, the bar was seemingly quite low. Perhaps I had too many predisposed ideas of the event due to its angry mob mentality in its social media presence, but as a young woman, you can never be too prepared for the setting you may be landing yourself in. The somewhat odd perception of the mixing of underground communities and identities was warming, if not encouraging to see after such a long time of social isolation. ALT LDN, you pleasantly surprised me, but I think I’ll leave it as my first, and last. “
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