Chained by pyrotechnic explosions, the Disclosure dancers unleashed their stack of heart-pounding, club-knowing singles onto a sold-out All Points East festival crowd. The heart-pounding beats and rave-inspired electronics the Lawrence brothers are known for rocked The East Stage. There were many highlights. The UK garage flava of RAYE’s recent collab “Waterfall” thrilled, the rush of their Zedd collab “You’ve Got To Let Go If You Want To Be Free” thrilled, and the underground pulse of “When a Fire Starts to Spread” had hands waving in the air.
By the time Disclosure released Sam Smith for the pair’s mega-hit “Latch,” all resistance was futile. “This is the first time we’ve done this in five years,” they said as Smith left the stage.
Finishing off with streamers rolling through the crowd and a fanfare for the Rio-infused Tondo, that high octane rating cemented Disclosure’s place as the UK’s premier dancefloor banger supplier. Mission accomplished.
Fred Again… packed The North Stage to bursting point for the British instrumentalist and producer’s must-see set. “I want to say thank you very much for being here. I’m not lying when I say I’m screwed. We actually released the first single a year ago and it’s an honor to be able to play it for you tonight,” he said gratefully. Hip fans took him to another level when Mike Skinner of The Streets joined him on stage.
Dynamic and haunting, James Blake’s brand of ethereal, live electronica brought relaxing late-night vibes to the west stage. He prefaced a haunting rendition of lead single “Retrogade” telling the crowd it was his “favorite.” The spectral beauty of the London artist’s catalog offered an intoxicating experience. When he dipped into the catalog of others, he did it alone, taking center stage for a simmering solo version of Joni Mitchell’s “Case Of You” while bathed in white lights. Blake has proven he has an unrivaled knack for making the largest of spaces feel intimate.
Charli XCX’s talent for sculpting invigorating pop in 24k gold was on full display when she took the stage on The East Stage. The unstoppable charge of “I Love It” united the entire field in an instant, and his set was an impressive feat of endurance, ensuring levels never dipped during a 60-minute set. The lyrical choreography accompanied a parade of hits that included recent singles “Hot In It” and “Good Ones.” The singer dedicated ‘Boys’ to “all the gay boys in the crowd”, before launching a dedication to the girls for ‘Vroom Vroom’. It was a high-octane, arms-raising journey through 21st-century pop heaven. Charli XCX left the stage with one last irreverent request: “Make some noise for me, bitch!”
“It’s one of my favorite cities in the world,” enthused Californian musician HER. “London is still one of the best crowds,” she beamed. During his performance, the artist donned an acoustic guitar for a spellbinding ‘Cheat Code’, followed by ‘Best Part’. HER then showcased his virtuoso guitar skills, both soloing and tapping on “Hard Place.” A version of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” was interpolated with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” before turning into an exuberant “Glory”. A cover of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” was also featured.
Where HER brought a pinch of heaven, Freddie Gibbs brought a delicious dose of the devil. Gibbs’ razor-sharp rap alternated between intense, breaking hardcore and laid-back, offbeat hip hop. The lyrical rental thread of “Scottie Beam” and “Crime Pays” was among the highlights.
Earlier, Koffee’s Grammy-winning mix of dancehall and reggae glided like fine wine onto the Eastern stage. Playing in front of an exceptionally large crowd at the start of the evening, and augmented by an exceptional group, the singer brought a carnivalesque spirit to the festival. “West Indies” and “Pull Up” were released from the artist’s 2022 album, Gifted.
On the West Stage, West Coast artist Channel Tres got the crowd dancing in the afternoon sun with a set of hip house beats suitable for the dance floors. The likes of “Sexy Black Timberlake” ensured the members were loose and morale was high.
The East Stage has also hosted the jazzy, articulate and invigorating sounds of South London, ENNY. With a sound reminiscent of late 90s RnB filmed through a contemporary lyrical filter, it was a cocktail that proved a huge hit. She said the occasion was “sentimental”, having performed on a smaller stage the previous year. Pending anthems such as “Same Old” and “Peng Black Girls” signaled that the path to even higher billing is in sight for this bright new British voice.
Other highlights of day five included Joy Orbison, Shy FX and Lola Young, while Jubilee’s infectious club beats kicked off the day on The 6 Music Stage.