Live Review: All Points East 2021

After a two year wait, All Points East returned this bank holiday weekend to Victoria Park, London with a jam-packed line-up. The Saturday hosted an array of artists, including headliners Jamie XX and Kano - Abi Kara-Fernandes gives her thoughts on the festival.

It felt right to start the day immersed in the calm crowd of saxophonist Nubya Garcia, who perfectly commented on how nice it was to be back after living through the craziness of the past eighteen months. The band’s dynamic jazz sound, complete with cello, drums and piano against a beautiful backdrop of tropical colours, brought a warmth to the slightly chilly day.

The All Points East’s Firestone stage has been known previously for hosting up and coming talent, and London’s own Mac Wetha made no exception to this. His cover of Weezer’s Say it Ain’t So shocked me by giving the original a run for its money, something I thought couldn’t be done, and it was great to see the band truly having fun together on stage during this.

''The whole crowd bounced together under the spell of Stamina MC''

Shy FX, complete with Stamina MC, absolutely dominated the BBC Radio 6 stage, once again making them the highlight of my festival experience. Having not seen the jungle DJ since his 2019 Boomtown set was cut short, he definitely made up for it by providing a set to more than satisfy the long awaited dance everyone needed. The whole crowd bounced together under the spell of Stamina MC, who particularly brought the energy for his own tune Roll the Dice.

Despite overlapping with Shy FX, we were lucky enough to catch Arlo Parks as we walked across Victoria Park and perused the stands. Hearing her soft voice carry in the air felt like something out of a movie, made even more emotional when paired with the poignant lyrics of her single Hope. Unsurprisingly, by the time we reached the stage and she neared the end of her set, the crowd had been moved to tears.

Following Arlo Parks, groove artist Tom Misch treated us to his first gig in two years. His performance glowed as bright as his sparkle studded backdrop and the heaving audience simply lapped it up, singing along to every word. One of the best things about Misch is not just his smooth vocals and plucky guitar skills, but also the recognition he gives to his fellow, equally talented performers. This goes beyond honouring members of his band, with Misch opening up the stage to a host of special guests, including regular collaborator Loyle Carner, who had his own set at the festival the day before.

Back at the BBC Radio 6 stage, Dan Shake lived up to his name and truly brought a funky adrenaline boost to the evening. As the sun began to fade away, the intense dance beats, vibrant stage lights and moving crowd shone through.

''The whole festival brought together a range of artists, each with their own different ambience''

Unfortunately, away from the stages, Victoria Park held little to no lighting, plunging the pathways into darkness. Slowthai however, lit up the fields quite literally, with a fire starting performance. Coming straight from Reading festival, where they had actually denied him the use of fire on stage, we were treated to flaming verses on both new song Gynaecologist and older classics such as MAZZA.

Overall, the whole festival brought together a range of artists, each with their own different ambience as they interacted with the attendees. Having arrived early enough to miss the long queues others experienced, it was an incredibly chilled return back to festivals following the lifting of restrictions.

Written by: Abi Kara-Fernandes

Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image and in-article images courtesy of All Points East via Facebook.