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For many, the August bank holiday was the last chance to burn off any un-spent party energy while the UK summer was still in full flow. Although the Notting Hill Carnival and Reading & Leeds Festival shared the majority of the headlines that weekend, one of London’s busiest inner-city events returned to Victoria Park and brought with it a mouth-watering selection of the world’s biggest stars.
All Points East consistently boasts some of the most star-studded line ups of the festival season and the 2022 edition was no different – for the dance music fans out there, attending at least one of the two Saturday programmes was a no-brainer. After welcoming electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and The Chemical Brothers to East London for the festival’s opening weekend, it was always going to be a tough job for the following week’s headliners to live up to their high standards. Luckily, that task fell into the steady hands of UK dance heavyweights Disclosure.
Throwing thousands of spectators straight into the action with blasts of pyrotechnics, lasers and a dramatic monologue about the “night resistance” overcoming the pandemic to bring parties back to the people in 2022, the East Stage was thrown into a frenzy as the duo unleashed their iconic dance-floor weapon ‘White Noise’ to kickstart proceedings for the night.
Over the next hour and half, the Lawrence brothers displayed a masterclass in the rave-inspired electronics they’ve become known for, combining their sparkling arsenal of club-savvy singles with some of the most impressive visuals I’ve seen at a concert in a long time. At times, the pair were only visible thanks to one ethereal-looking spotlight beaming down from the heavens. At other points, a sea of red patterns popped out of the huge LED screens, engulfing the sell-out crowd in a fire-ball of colour and energy.
Throwback hits from their 2013 album ‘Settle’ such as ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’ and ‘F For You’ received a particularly animated reception from the audience, however, their newer releases also impressed. By the time Sam Smith appeared on stage to sing ‘Latch’, anyone questioning the headline potential of the dance duo in the run up to the show would’ve been proven massively wrong. For two men fixed in the middle of a stage behind a desk full of equipment, they put on a special show.
Disclosure’s night didn’t end there though and the brothers appeared at KOKO‘s backstage area for an impromptu after-hours set that got more than a little lively, involving guests such as Sam Smith and Fred again. This year, the iconic London music venue which reopened earlier this year, decamped to the VIP section of the festival to host an exclusive area with DJs, a tequila bar, art displays and food by Executive Chef Andreas Engberg.
London production duo Overmono took over the North Stage for one of Saturday’s most high-octane performances, however, it was Fred again who drew the biggest crowd of the evening into the sweaty tent. Riding high off the back of his viral Boiler Room appearance which dropped in the weeks leading up to All Points East, the British instrumentalist was visibly surprised at the amount of people trying to squeeze into the venue to catch a glimpse of his set. “I’m not lying when I say I’m completely spun out,” he confessed into the mic – though this is something he’ll soon get used to as one of the UK’s fastest rising stars.
On top of dropping his unreleased fan favourite ‘Jungle’, featuring Four Tet and Skrillex, Fred again flexed his golden status in the music industry when The Streets’ Mike Skinner joined him on stage.
Elsewhere, Shy FX and Joy Orbison both enjoyed packed-out performances one after another. Following the fiery jungle and drum ‘n’ bass of one of the country’s most iconic raving outfits, Orbison recognised the vibe of the afternoon and returned serve with a surprisingly bass-heavy – but equally well-received – sequence of tracks, before finding his groove with his more trade-mark garage-fuelled drums and warping, skippy electronics.
In the build up to Disclosure’s headline slot, the East Stage also played host to Charli XCX and Mura Masa, who each brought irrepressible good vibes with their respective shows.
Overall, the second Saturday of All Points East’s 2022 festival was definitely one to remember. Successfully catching the last embers of the British sunshine, the sea of music fans that descended on Victoria Park were met with an impressive showcase of world-beating talent in dance music and beyond. And for anyone who thought Disclosure’s best days were behind them, their visceral night performance catapulted them back into the limelight and proved why they’re up there with the greatest UK electronic acts of the last decade.
See more pictures from Saturday August 26 at All Points East below (shot by Sam Willicome):