Festival Frolics: Still Dazed, Slightly Confused. Dazed Live.

As festivals continue to crop up across London with growing vigour, like roots buckling pavements, Saturday saw the inaugural Dazed Live overhaul Shoreditch and the surrounding environs. Cobbled together by Dazed & Confused, the sprawling shindig took in anything and everything from talks with psychedelic adventurers and Jodorowsky, to the screening of Time For Change and interviews with Warp Films' Champagne Valentine amidst gaffer tape scaffolding and jolting, disjointed plasma. The multimedia extravaganza dashed and frolicked between media and mindsets like an ADHD-addled obsessive compulsive with a Sky remote, its musical offerings intermittently providing raucous highlights.
Such highlights weren't however provided on Cowper Street, as the sweltering upstairs of XOYO was taken over by Levi's Craft Of Music. Despite the humid, pseudo-tropical climes, and a hearty introduction from compère Huw Stephens, Fiction's brand of bland percussive nonchalance was overshadowed by the glare of omnipresent, amplifier-stifling lightbulbs. A little like Late Of The Pier crossed with chino-garbed faux-suavity, even the buoyant jaunt of Big Things proved gravely underwhelming. Following on from far-from-big, predominantly pretty bad things from Fiction, the amateur melodramatics of Domino darlings Austra only mildly ameliorated the showcase, as Katie Stelmanis wailed her way through disingenuous garble and sparkle. As Dazed Live threw up its sole clash conundrum, Arab Strap man Aidan Moffat was, alas, sadly missed as what looked to be a seven-hour stint in the redbrick caverns of the Village Underground awaited.
With a queue snaking its way halfway into Hackney, it eventually transpired that Aidan Moffat was to clash with a lengthy wait in fading sunlight as the first of many exasperating delays took the edge off a refreshing stumble over to Holywell Lane. Al Doyle and Owen Clarke bounding about ebulliently, chains were eventually cast off, doors were flung open and the first of many pioneers in attendance transformed inconspicuous soundcheck into startling show. If Domino seem to have laid down the wrong pieces with Austra, two and two really does equate to phwoar yeah with About Group. Comprised of wonk pop maestro Alexis Taylor on croonsome vocals, This Heat sticksman Charles Hayward who wondrously waywardly concocts lolloping jazz rhythms and gradually deconstructs his drumkit, and Spiritualized guitarist John Coxon, their conglomeration of improv and impressionable soul is stapled down by key twinkles courtesy of prolific jazz genius Pat Thomas who anchors the ship when it occasionally sails off into seas of self-indulgence. Their gloriously expansive stab at Terry Riley's No Good is resounding, whilst the stirring melancholia of Don't Worry (streaming below) is irrepressibly joyous.
  About Group - Don't Worry by DominoRecordCo
Feeding Time then spin a handful of nondescript discs, before Factory Floor push timings back forever further. By the time they blast and boom into action, all's ruined as the air around your every muscle shudders and the contents of your ribcage are incontrollably jumbled about. Solace is scored on the binge-littered streets outside. Visions of Trees remain true to their roots that capriciously worm in and out of genres by providing a genre-obliterating DJ set that brings The Weeknd's Wicked Games to the ears of the bruised, boozed and, by this point, bedraggled. Then onto Darkstar, who again threaten to implode your every internal organ with unnecessarily stentorian clamour, the sound desk stalwarts again wrecking things further, inducing daze, confusion and ultimately, vexation. Refuge is again found, this time further afield as the sound of the underground causes the overground to tremble. Far more palatable is Bernard Fèvre, quite potentially due to the fact that all Black Devil Disco Club is all but entirely devoid of human-ravaging bass. Visuals that've seemingly been floating around since '78 enlighten an already enlivened set, Fèvre crouching mischievously behind his MacBook before jumping towards his microphone to coo phonetics at an awe-struck throng. From the celebratory The Devil In Us to the eerie I Regret The Flower Power, the perennial Black Devil Disco Club is one that's still certainly worth subscribing to.
Further and final genre-hopping is provided by irrefutably avant-garde experimentalists Gang Gang Dance who pair celestial MicroKorg arpeggiation with bin bag flags, unalloyed psychedelia and tie-dye with Manhattan mob attire. Peppering their set with new cuts from heavily anticipated LP Eye Contact, the Amazonian despondence and desolation of Glass Jar proves uplifting in the extreme, summer set to radiant sound as Liz Bougatsos assuredly affirms she'll "care for you like a brother", whilst First Communion is the most hair-raising aural waft since eardrums were set to spasm by previous acts. Despite Gang Gang Dance's indubitably rejuvenating effervescence, due to the sparsity of its programme and inability to keep to the most pedantic of schedules (FICTION: 17:01; AUSTRA: 18:16) Dazed Live probably won't be considered quite as peppy as its headliners once the festival season has all but evaporated...