serenajemmett
24th August 2022

Gorillaz wow as they kick off All Points East 2022

Serena heads to All Points East in Victoria Park, with Gorillaz headlining the first day. Other highlights include Remi Wolf, Self Esteem, IDLES and Nia Archives.
Gorillaz wow as they kick off All Points East 2022
Photo: Serena Jemmett @ The Mancunion

Day One of All Points East Festival saw Gorillaz headline the start of the 10-day festival. Despite a stellar line-up, curators of APE did face backlash, notably from Wordplay, about their heavily (all) male headliners.

The festival took place in Victoria Park, and the day didn’t start well, due to the scheduled train, tube and bus strikes. HOWEVER, the festival and the atmosphere were not phased; spirits were high and the energy was lively.

APE has a reputation for attracting a diverse crowd and wide variety of people, and I can safely say that 2022’s Day One met this standard. From festival looks and fits, to age, genders and race, it was great to see such a range.

 

REMI WOLF

Kicking off our day with the American pop (fused with electro, funk, indie, R&B, and lo-fi bedroom) baddie, Remi Wolf at the North stage gave both a high-energy and visually creative performance. She started her set with ‘Liquor Store’, a nod to her previous alcohol dependency and trip to rehab – sentimental, yes, but arguably a punchier start would have made the set even better. The whole tent was buzzing, and the visuals only aided this. With the backscreen baring bright colours and a video loop, it perfectly fit Remi’s brand and aesthetic. Her music and visuals worked in sync, being vivid, playful, fun, chaotic, upbeat… you get the gist. Performing a range of tracks from her album Juno (you can read my review here), these included ‘Disco Man’, ‘Sexy Villain’, and ‘Photo ID.’ She also covered Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy.’ Undeniably a great start to the day, especially with cartwheeling and twerking on stage.

Photo: Serena Jemmett @ The Mancunion

 

SELF ESTEEM

In contrast to Remi Wolf’s visual diary backdrop, Self Esteem had the phrase “MALE PILL WHEN?” on the back of the west stage. Something I’ve always admired about Rebecca Taylor is her fusion of music and activism, and never shying away from making her opinion known – bad b vibes etc. Having released her album Prioritise Pleasure, which is now Mercury Prize-nominated, Self Esteem played a set including ‘F*cking Wizardry’, ‘Moody’, and ‘You Forever.’ Rebecca is indisputably a performer, wearing a white power suit, with her backing singers matching in all white and performing choreography to match the powerful tracks. Her drummer, the only male on stage, was wearing a white t-shirt with “97%” on the front, an inference to the recent report that found 97% of 18–24-year-olds have faced sexual harassment. She ended her set with the track ‘The Best’; I think she would have benefitted swapping this and the penultimate song on her set list, and ending with her most well-known: ‘I Do This All The Time.’ Despite this, she gave an excellent performance, and Self Esteem is someone that everyone should experience live in their lifetime.

Photo: Serena Jemmett @ The Mancunion

 

NIA ARCHIVES

Unfortunately, the most notable thing about Nia Archives’ set when we entered the BBC 6 Music stage was the lack of bass; I fear this may have been the speakers and sound system, however I was itching for it throughout. The crowd was buzzing and skanking left, right, and centre, with Nia visibly vibing on the stage (and DJ Storm right behind her). The highlight of her set was, predictably, her track ‘Sober Feels.’ Nia Archives is definitely one to watch and she deserves a larger stage and later slot in years to come.

 

IDLES

Idles introduced themselves throughout their set, making their presence known to all festival attendees who were on the west side of Victoria Park. The font of Idles on the back did make me do a double-take as it is the same font as TikTok – I’m not sure if this was intentional or not… but Idles are fairly funny on TikTok – so check them out here. Idles, like Self Esteem, do not shy away from political opinions, stating towards the end of their set that “This song is about the best thing that happened to our country – the immigrants that built and made this a better fucking place” – the song being ‘Danny Nedelko.’

Photo: Serena Jemmett @ The Mancunion

 

GORILLAZ

Finally, the long-awaited set! Headliners, Gorillaz, with frontman Damon Albarn, absolutely killed their set. I have to preface that I was disappointed in the speakers of the main stage (East stage). It was quiet, and everyone in the crowd made the same comments. I did double check that it wasn’t my dodgy ear canal, AND according to my market research (someone next to me ranting) this stage’s sound system had been extremely quiet all day; we even thought some speakers were broken…

Visually the stage mesmerising, however if I was being extremely dramatic, I’d say I could see more than hear; I’m going to now move on, but APE please sort it out for the next few days!

Gorillaz brought out plenty of special guests including Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Shaun Ryder and De La Soul. Tame Impala will headline All Points East on 25th August, but Kevin Parker couldn’t wait his turn to be on the main stage and Gorillaz brought him out to debut upcoming track ‘New Gold’, also featuring Bootie Brown.

Albarn also made special reference to sharing the stage with Paul Simonon of The Clash for the first time since 2010.

Albarn kept the crowd engaged with his chat in between tracks, even acknowledging the next song is “down beat and depressing but f*ck it.” He also made reference to the rising energy prices, again showing how musicians and artists are more often making their political opinion known and using their platform for good – things we love to see.

De La Soul took control of the crowd directing us to put our hands in the air shake it out but don’t touch breasts because “we can’t do that, #me too and all.” Following on he led with affirmations which the crowd repeated back, including “I will never/ let anyone tell me/ what to say/ unless it’s the Gorillaz (joking)” ending with “I feel good” and smoothly leading into ‘Feel Good Inc.’ It was a surreal moment. Remaining in control, the festival goers were told “I wanna see you laugh” and so the interaction continued throughout the track.

Before the final few songs, Albarn expressed his gratitude to be back in London and with a slight brag to having “travelled and been around the world”, he stated how “London is home”, which unsurprisingly received a huge cheer.

These moments of interaction occurred right through to the very end of Gorillaz’ set. The final track ‘Clint Eastwood’ included the crowd getting down low and jumping up. Ending with the iconic lyrics “designed to make you move your feet”, there was no doubt that feet were moving during the entirety of Gorillaz’ set.

 

 

All Points East continues in Victoria Park, with the final day on the 28th August. You can get tickets for the festival here!

Serena Jemmett

Serena Jemmett

Serena is a national shortlisted Arts and Culture writer (SPA2022) with key interests in music, women’s rights, accessibility and politic’s influence in culture. With a passion to make social issues more accessible and digestible for the wider public, Serena’s broadcast talk show (Sez Says) on Fuse FM discusses a variety of topics from political matters, to fashion, to interviews with musicians. Check it out on instagram: @sezsays_radio; You can contact Serena on twitter @serenajemmett or instagram @serenaj69

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