In trendy Shoreditch, trendy brewery Goose Island threw a block party in the Red Market, just out the back of trendy venue Kamio.
From headliners and indie stalwarts White Lies, through to newcomers Courts and The Age of Luna, via a couple of acts who have already been around the block (…sorry) Superfood and Honeyblood, the line-up was curated carefully to create a backdrop of good vibes for a coming together of beer lovers.
This is the second LDN Block Party, inspired by events five years ago when the Chicago based brewery closed off the roads next to their factory to throw a street party, which has these days blossomed into a 2-day festival across the pond.
The atmosphere is not quite the same as that of a typical music festival – the live music stage does get attention, but perhaps not the same reverence you’d come to expect at typical events. The focus of the crowd, growing larger through the afternoon, seems to be on the craft ales and food on offer. Nonetheless, each act that takes to the stage, which to be fair dominates the physical space, puts on a great show and ends with a bigger crowd than they started with.
It’s Essex five-piece COURTS up first, Elton-John-approved (what a claim!), who get the early comers dancing with their infectious, funky indie-pop. Given a tough slot they make the most of the opportunity to get the reserved crowd to come out of their shells. Following them and continuing the warm-up are Age of LUNA, who’s laid back R’n’B crossed with swagger-infused hip-hop further gets limbs moving.
Superfood are up next, they open and close their set with favourites from their debut record: ‘You Can Believe’ and ‘Superfood’. Sandwiched in-between are the hottest cuts from latest album ‘Bambino’, put out earlier this year by routinely on-point label Dirty Hit (Wolf Alice, The 1975, King Nun). Highlights including the skittish ‘Unstoppable’, and the dancefloor-ready ‘Where’s the Bass Amp?’
Scottish fuzzy-indie duo Honeyblood are then a tour de force of angsty indie-rock, Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers commanding their noise with the authority of a band double their size (members-wise). Two albums in and Honeyblood are already building up an enviable cannon of reliable hits. ‘(I’d Rather Be) Anywhere But Here,’ ‘Killer Bangs,’ ‘Super Rat’ from the debut album Honeyblood are airy, shoegaze-inflected heaters, whilst ‘Sea Hearts’ and ‘Ready For the Magic’ are hooktastic and slightly more focussed cuts from the latest record ‘Babes Never Die;’ which is if anything a step-up from the two-piece. Honeyblood brings attitude and spitting euphoria to the evening as darkness descends.
Finally, the headliners, as it becomes apparent in the sudden buzz of excitement through the crowd – are the chief draws at this event, White Lies take to the stage. Each act throughout the day is confident and proficient, but proceedings level-up as the local post-punk three-piece, joined here by 2 additional musicians, play a concise set of hits from their four album career.
Understandably, tracks from their breakthrough ‘To Lose My Life’ get the biggest cheers of the night, including the titular track, the massive ‘Death,’ and ‘Farewell to the Fairground’. Later tracks delight as well though, ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ and ‘Is My Love Enough’ – the titles here highlighting the band’s evolution from obsession with death and darkness, to matters of the heart – albeit with a gloom-rock edge.
The real fireworks come though with perennial set-closer ‘Bigger Than Us,’ for which the words anthemic and euphoric don’t quite cut it. One of the biggest choruses of the 2010’s so far, it’s an apt closer to what is in all, an enjoyable beer-soaked day of live music in central London.
White Lies will play their last show of the ‘Friends’-era tour on Saturday 14th October at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory. Last few tickets are available here.
Photo Credit: Joe Okpako
For more information on the Goose Island Beer Company, visit their Website.