The final destination for our UK-festival tour this summer (after taking in Summer Sundae last week (review HERE), Bloodstock Open Air the week before (review HERE) and events such as Field Day earlier in the Summer (review HERE)) was London’s biggest outdoor dance weekender South West Four. Last.fm hosted the Main Stage for both days featuring performances from Chase & Status (live), Skrillex, Carl Cox, Public Enemy, Knife Party, Skream & Benga, Diplo and many more. Having sold out weeks in advance and with 40,000 people expected to pass through the gates over the weekend we were expecting big things.
With our arrival postponed by a downpour of biblical proportions we entered the site to find Benny Benassi midway through his set on the Main Stage. The capacity crowd were clearly not worried about the changeable weather and embraced the music and the rain in equal measures. We then checked out the Subliminal Arena to catch Size Records duo AN21 & Max Vangelli smashing out turbo-charged electro house hits to a rammed tent before heading over to the Evolution Arena hosted by superstar DJ Paul Van Dyk. Featuring trance’s A-list we caught Egypt’s biggest EDM outfit Aly & Fila laying down tracks such as their own superb ‘We Control The Sunlight’. After a short groove we headed to the Bedrock Arena for Polish progressive-house supremo Robert Babicz who’s live set enthralled the arena.
Back to the Main Stage it was time for Australian duo Knife Party who were tearing Clapham Common apart with bass-heavy bombs such as their own hit ‘Internet Friends’ and their remix of Porter Robinson‘s ‘Unison’. With the Main Stage fully warmed up it was the turn of South West Four main man Carl Cox to step things up. Initially launching in with pummelling techno he read the crowd perfectly and moved into drum & bass and dubstep territory; whipping the crowd into a stupor come rain or sunshine. In need of a change of pace we headed back to the Subliminal Arena for Erick Morillo who lived up to his superstar reputation dropping hit after hit. With a set featuring personalised edits, acapellas and exclusive remixes it’s easy to see why he is widely regarded as one of the best DJs on the planet. As darkness fell we headed back to the Main Stage for headline act Chase & Status who brought Saturday to its natural conclusion with a typically stunning headline live set.
Sunday ‘s sunshine meant the day was already looking much better. Arriving onsite we were greeted by Public Enemy in full flow on the Main Stage, tearing through classic after classic – highlights of which included ‘Fight The Power’ and ‘911 Is a Joke’. Over to the Together Arena we caught the tail end of Brodinski & Gesaffelstein who were on fine form tearing out electro-infused techno. A short wobble over to the All Gone Pete Tong Arena we caught up with man-of-the-moment Eats Everything who was laying down a fine selection of party house followed by one-to-watch Dyed Soundorom who’s deep house flavour had the tent moving nicely. Back to the Main Stage we caught DJ Fresh who was on fine form as the sun blazed down, whilst Italian electro-duo Crookers took no time to get the crowd going with peak-time tracks like their own ‘Dr Gonzo’.
We headed back to the All Gone Pete Tong Arena to catch house maestro Sasha delivering deep and progressive bliss as only this man knows how. Now ready to move things up a gear it was back to the Main Stage where we caught the tail end of Diplo who was taking no prisoners delivering party classics such as Major Lazer‘s ‘Pon De Floor’ and Azealia Bank‘s ‘212’ for the masses. Next up was UK pioneers Skream & Benga who destroyed the crowd as only they know how, followed expectantly by the biggest headliner of the weekend – Skrillex. Having kept the crowd waiting for 45 minutes before lift off, anticipation levels were high and the hottest star in dance music right now did not fail to deliver. Launching full-throng into his trademark extreme dubstep and electro sound and backed by a magnificent laser show, Skrillex was definitely one of the highlights of South West Four 2012.