As a result of a heavy night at the after party club Barbarellas the previous day, we made it down to the site in the early evening on day four in time to catch the wonderful Submotion Orchestra. The 7-piece ensemble from Leeds put on arguably one of the best performances of the festival, with front-woman Ruby Wood captivating the audience with her soulful, airy vocals and infectious energy on stage. With huge smiles on their faces, the multi instrumentalists had the whole crowd bouncing with an up-beat performance of new single It’s Not Me It’s You.
They delivered a lovely blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, combining cosmic reverb effects and sub bass sounds with upbeat rhythmic drums and lavish keyboard and trumpet notes as they played tracks from their debut album Finest Hour, including a performance of the very funky yet soulful Always. With the sun going down and dark clouds above providing a perfect setting, the band delivered a heart-warming version of the very cinematic All Yours, which saw Ruby’s delicate tones seamlessly merging with the atmospheric and moving instrumental backing. Absolutely beautiful.
Speaking to people at the festival about which artists they were most looking forward to seeing and one act was mentioned time and time again. Today was the day, the one we’d been waiting for.The final night of Soundwave saw the main stage packed in anticipation of the headline performance of hip-hop legends De La Soul. “Party people, your dreams have now been fulfilled”. The words bellowed out of the speakers to an uproar from the crowd as Posdnous, Trugoy and Maseo jumped on stage to deliver an energetic performance of iconic tracks from their extensive back catalogue, as well as a taster of songs from new project First Serve.
With the crowd hanging onto their every word, audience participation was high on the agenda as the hip hop trio had us playing the part of Redman, bursting into repetitive choruses of “oooh”, as they performed the infectious anthem from the Art Official Intelligence album. A lively version of the Grammy award winning Gorillaz collaboration Feel Good Inc was to follow as the party got into full swing. “Man every word I say should be a hip-hop quotable”, Posdnous shouted as they dropped the verses from the classic Stakes is High which had many a-head nodding over some raw J Dilla drums. Vibing off the energy of the crowd, the group had nearly 2,000 Soundwavers putting on our best Chakha Khan voices as we bawled out the chorus to the catchy single All Good. They then went on to perform classic tracks from the De La Soul repertoire including the very popular Me Myself and I to the delight of an overly-excited crowd. What a great way to end the festival!
Following De La Soul’s headline set, still in full party mode, we boarded the bus to the afterparty at Barbarellas for the third and final time, where the likes of Olubenga and the Hoya Hoya Crew would have us dancing until sunrise the next morning with our new best friends from New Zealand. There was so much love in that little beach side venue on the final night, it was emotional.
With over 50 incredible artists at Soundwave, we were simply spoilt for choice by the festival organisers. Due to a combination of the Big Pimpin’ boat party on day three, and general Big Pimpin’ on day four, we were unable to catch the renowned Put Me On It parties, which over a week on, still fills me with regret. Missing an eclectic DJ set from the very talented Eric Lau on the Saturday was particularly painful. The hurt deepens having heard about PMOI’s main stage showing the next day which included an “unmissable” live performance from singer Tawiah who was accompanied by a full live band. Stripped down sets from soulstress Szejerdene and singer Tanya Auclair were also notable highlights, along with a live performance by the incredible beat maker Oddisee who was performing songs from his debut solo album People Hear What They See.
Other noteworthy festival highlights included an inspiring Fela Kuti tribute from Dele Sosimi and his afrobeat army, as well as an impromptu beach side performance from live funk, jazz and hip hop band Riot Jazz who following their main stage performance, waded into the water with a plethora of horn instruments to entertain a crowd of sunbathers on the shore. I don’t see that happening in a muddy field at Glastonbury.
Since the first festival five years ago Soundwave has grown in popularity and now has an army of faithful Soundwavers who snap up a third of the tickets in advance, even before any artists are announced. To maintain its intimate nature, ticket sales this year were limited to 3,000, and are likely to sell out even quicker for 2013 as word spreads. It is with this in mind that I am almost tempted to keep my feelings about Soundwave on the hush and urge other festival-goers to do the same, for fear that in a couple of years it will turn into a sweaty sausage fest, overrun by teenage Tinchy Stryder fans, simply because some idiots went around telling them the festival was 70% girls fam!! ….but it’s just too good to keep to oneself.
In a gorgeous setting that allows you to combine a summer holiday with a festival, Soundwave is synonymous with beauty and most of all incredible music, and it’s affordable! If you like good live music but aren’t particularly enthralled by the prospect of muddy fields, mile long queues for stinky porta-loos, crowds of 18 year old teenagers gurning their t**ts off, or being elbowed in the face by an army of irrational girls simply because some big-name chart artist is on stage, then you have to come to Soundwave. Filled with like-minded people and a strong community spirit, it’s the sort of festival where you can stop and chat to artists as they stroll through the festival site. Ask Nick and Mark (Yungun and Mr Thing to you), I would say we’re now good friends.
Tickets for Soundwave 2013 on sale now, get involved – http://www.soundwavecroatia.com/
For a small glimpse of what Soundwave has to offer, visit www.soundcrash.com for upcoming live shows and music nights in the London area.
See you next year!!