You probably read Tyler’s more comprehensive coverage of the Secret Solstice festival on the preceding page, but because there were so many acts, a lot of stuff will have gone by completely unnoticed. So I went there as punter, but The Grapevine asked me to share my thoughts on what were the best acts from the weekend that were probably missed by most people.
For my money, the best place to have been on Friday was by the Gimli stage. The afternoon saw the Lágtíðni DJ collective whip up a storm with EWOK mixing boogie and disco grooves before going “Fuck it. Teklife!” and playing out his set with some blinding footwork before SKENG played some classic dubstep and bass riddims. In the evening, while the likes of the interminably dull Woodkid was mewing to the floppy bohemians at Valhalla, the dual blasts of AMY BECKER and MY NU LENG brought meaty UK grime, garage, and house tracks to a small but appreciative army of tanned and tattooed nutters. We were also treated to the brilliance of Swamp 81 acolyte MC CHUNKY (Who wasn’t even on the bill and had just come to Iceland for the party) laying on some choice rhymes. You NEVER get stuff this good downtown, which made me a little sad in the end.
On Saturday the most fun place during the day was in the Askur tent where nobody was! LAFONTAINE is turning into a really decent techno DJ and producer but only played to about 10 people; the crowd grew ever so slightly by the time the ever excellent EXOS came on to continue the techno grooves. After having the entire Hel venue to myself to dance to PALEMAN, back at the Askur tent, UK DJs MUSHY, HARRIMANNN and their crew decided to have a party on the stage given the low numbers in front of them (most of the locals were outside dancing to the boring tech-house sounds of KSF), and it was loads of fun joining in with them until the security threw most of us off for not having backstage passes.
In the evening, the best trolling of the festival came from JACKMASTER in Hel, mixing gabba tunes with ‘90s R&B rap to the 20 of us who decided to skip Massive Attack. It was the funniest shit I’ve heard in ages! Afterwards, the tough, pulsing sounds from BODDIKA was just exceptional and well worth the wait.
By Sunday it was time to take things a bit easy. The guys from LAGAFFE TALES hit the right level of energy with their mix of house and boogie, not too soft, not too harsh, just enough to take the edge off the hangover. This cool vibe continued with ROB SHIELDS in the Askur tent, who played some deep, acid-tinged tracks that were reminiscent of Daniel Avery. Later on, we were treated to one of the best local acts of the weekend, HOUSEKELL, who should be thought of as one of the hottest house DJs in Iceland right now. With high energy beats with skilfully blended vocal samples, it was just mesmeric. But even he bowed down before the closing act in Hel, KERRI CHANDLER. For a true legend and icon in house music, he was so humble and so skilful in his appreciation of the crowd and the DJs around him. Even though I was dead on my feet by this time, I couldn’t help but be swept up by the almost spiritual nature of it all. What a guy!
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