APE presents: Field Day 2021

Deservedly recognised as one of the most influential electronic projects to date, Bicep have redefined and honed their unique synth-driven sound over the last decade, becoming one of the most exciting UK exports to date.

This time last year it was difficult to imagine events, especially festivals, taking place. Over the last eighteen months we have lived a life of doubt, confusion and uncertainty, ultimately questioning when and how we would be able to see our beloved artists playing, mixing and selecting the music we all know and love. How times change. Fast forward to August 2021 and we are (pretty much) back where we belong; spoiled for choice, deciding who to watch during a typically mild and dry, Bank Holiday weekend in East London, Victoria Park.

Facing a slew of obstacles ranging from staffing shortages and artist cancellations to government policies and entry requirements, festivals more than ever this year have been battling it out as the UK emerges from restrictions and snaps back into normality. However, one such festival that disregarded the need to panic was Field Day, returning to Victoria Park for the first time since 2017 for one day. Efficient and effective, this made for one hell of party.

Featuring a number of stages hosted by the likes of Crack Magazine, BBC 6 Music and independent label Ninja Tune, Field Day invited a fusion of experienced and emerging artists to ‘dish it out’ like never before. In order to avoid any logistical nightmares a rough timeline was drafted out in the morning prior to arrival, spotlighting some of our must-sees. First on the list was local talent Josey Rebelle over at the X stage, who spent an hour effortlessly blending a heady mix of techno and electro as the Londoner well and truly kicked the day off in style. Up next in the same arena was Special Request – the rugged techno and house moniker of well renowned and multi-talented artist Paul Woolford. Flawlessly matching Rebelle’s electro and breaks, the DJ-Kicks star brandished a plethora of heavy bass kicks, connecting the dots between club-music styles from across the decades as excitement levels from the crowd became more noticeable and vocal.

Later in the afternoon DJ Seinfeld partnered up with old-time favourite George Fitzgerald. The pair complemented each other throughout, serving up an eclectic mix of house, lo-fi and scintillating disco including Tuff City Kids’ acid mix of Klic’s “Disco Music”. Just a couple of weeks before Seinfeld’s full-length project Mirrors was set to drop, the Dutch lo-fi mainstay smartly teased a series of innate offerings with “These Things Will Come To Be” proving to be a crowd favourite. A euphoric summer essential. 

Across the way, Overmono seamlessly increased the tempo by serving up a plethora of their recently acclaimed productions, proving exactly why 2021 has been yet another milestone year for the Scottish duo. The crowd was understandably rife with anticipation and ready to witness some of their standout tracks created over the lockdown period. It truly was a spine-tingling moment when last year’s “Everything U Need” was unleashed and met equally with a ferocious roar, along with nostalgic cut “I Have a Love (Overmono Remix)” featuring innate vocals from Irish lyricist For Those I Love. Special mention must go to their straight-up heater “So U Know”, a track that has been thoroughly pumped in the Dance Wax office as well as doing the rounds at a number UK festivals. Tune of the summer? We think so.

To have left Field Day 2021 without catching any of Floorplan would have been damn right rude. Flitting back to Stage X, it became evident why Robert Hood is widely regarded as one of the gatekeepers of techno. As the evening sky emerged and strobes became more prominent, Robert and Lyric Hood served up a plethora of Detroit-tinged classics during their back-to-back including “Never Grow Old” and “Tell You No Lie” – two essentials for any party playlist. If you are off to university this September, get to know.

Nearby, The Blessed Madonna served up an array of disco-infused heaters and house classics, including closing track “Relight My Fire (DJOKO Remix)” before coming to a shuddering halt. Reminiscent of when club lights are reluctantly switched on, it soon became apparent that all the stages had finished up except for one, the main stage. Approximately 40,000 festival-goers were swiftly heading North to witness Irish Irish stalwarts Bicep brandish their notorious live set. Having first witnessed the duo back in 2016 at The Warehouse Project flaunt their old-school synth classics such as “Dhalia”, “Satisfy”, “NRG106” and “Just”, it was clear to see how much they have developed over the years. Deservedly recognised as one of the most influential electronic musical projects to date, Bicep have refined and honed their unique synth-driven sound over the past five years, becoming one of the most exciting UK exports to date.

Stood aloft in scaffold, the couple spent an hour and a half taking us on a journey of their discography old and new, kicking off proceedings with “Celeste” and shortly followed by “X” featuring Clara La San – taken from their recently acclaimed full-length project Isles. Blending a handful of fan-favourites such as “Saku”, “Opal (Four Tet Remix)” and their timeless classic “Just”, Bicep effortlessly conjured up a hypnotic atmosphere with each song emerging out of the last – climaxing with the shimmering breakbeats of breakout single “Glue”. A fitting end for a standout festival.

Field Day’s website can be found here.

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