LED Festival – Victoria Park, London – Saturday – Leftfield

Leftfield, seminal dance act from the 90’s, progressive house pioneers and dub crusaders who had a reputation for playing music that literally shook your ribcage!  They were the vanguard of 90’s electronic sound and along with The Prodigy forged a career based on dynamic live performances that were equally menacing and enthralling!  So 10 years on ……..reforming without original partner Paul Daley, announcing a string of European festivals with one London show – The LED Festival at Victoria Park……… An inaugural electronic and dance festival in the heart of east London.

The small main stage and limited sound system indicated either a lack of self belief or a realisation of a diminishing fan base.  Whatever it was that encouraged Neil Barnes to sign up to play LED certainly wasn’t based on previous knowledge.   Nevertheless the performance was measured and surprisingly crowd friendly, most of the songs were from ‘Leftism’ and although the performance lacked the usual menace, the choice of set list was perfect.  It’s just a shame the execution of each song wasn’t carried out to its full potential!  Most songs sounded like they was missing a core element?  ‘Original‘ a pronounced  singer, ‘Release the Pressure’ was short of the kick bass and ‘Afro-left’ was shorn of the african strings.  Most of the songs were missing the nuances of their original form which left the crowd a little dissatisfied……..It was only when the bass was finally cranked up to its desired and required level that Leftfield didn’t feel like a shadow of their former selves.   Closing songs ‘Space Shanty‘ and ‘Phat Planet’ personified the brilliance of Leftfield in a glorious 20 minutes of sonic scapes and bass thumping ecstasy – both songs were testament to the once enthralling spectacle of a Leftfield show, it’s a shame the rest of the performance wasn’t able to recapture that spirit.


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