In putting on its début festival and celebrating its 19th birthday, Dazed and Confused produced a line-up of artists, musicians and speakers worthy of the veteran festival organisers. Guest speakers at the impressive “Tramshed” (Shoreditch’s old electric power station), included high-powered and respected names from the creative industries including designers, fashionistas, political activists and even mystics. Sponsors Absolut also posted their very own exhibition too.

XOYO hosted Levi’s “Craft of Music” for the afternoon, boasting Fiction, Austra and the man behind Arab Strap, Aidan Moffat and this was all hosted by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens.

…it was Katie Stelmanis and her merry troupe Austra who stole the show…

While Moffat was probably the critics’ choice, due to the Glaswegian’s legacy from the 90s, it was Katie Stelmanis and her merry troupe Austra who stole the show, increasing their burgeoning reputation even more so with their stylish operatic synth-pop. Don’t judge from that description, Austra certainly merit their current acclaim.

Village underground hosted the likes of DarkStar, Black Devil Disco Club, Gang Gang Dance and SBTRKT. All of them already hyped by respective corners of the hipster brigade. Village Underground seemed a fairly spectacular venue for all of them to showcase their talents. Gang Gang Dance’s arrival an hour late following DarkStar’s set was disappointing enough.

It was unfortunate then that, a few songs in, one of the guys had to, very angrily and publicly, after increasingly getting agitated and seemingly unnoticed, plead with a flustered tech man over the microphone to sort out the sound.

Of course the New Yorkers continued with enthusiasm and abandon. Technical misdemeanours and timing issues at the Village Underground meant missing out on Grimes back at XOYO, but it wasn’t that grave.

The night was fraught with hiccups and technical issues, but overall it was a great time to be had and a fantastic festival.

3 1/2 Stars


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