Wigs, glitter and costumes galore descended upon an unsuspecting East London as Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic Park in Stratford obviously had become host to elrow once again. The two-day event’s allure lies not only in an exciting lineup of techno and house names, but the promise of a party like no else, that the elrow name has become synonymous with.
The Sunday saw a very enticing lineup, with the intrigue of a Fatboy Slim set in 2018, amongst big names like Solardo, Shy FX (to mix it up), De La Swing and Idris Elba all playing throughout the day. Idris Elba fuelled those Bond rumours by starting his evening set with a remix of the Bond intro to one of the biggest crowds we saw of the day, the playful selection being perfect for the setting of elrow.
A few notable clashes were noted from the offset, as Solardo and Fatboy Slim both had closing sets, as well as Mele and De La Swing playing at the same time, but we did our best to catch everything on offer. As you walk onto the site, the momentous elrow Town Square main stage hosted by Psychedelic Trip was an explosion of colour. Where your destiny was to be covered in confetti and mummified in streamers, and yes you enjoy it as much the fourth time as you do the first.
Catching Toni Varga’s set, whose mix of tech-house was going down well as the sun shone down on the Olympic Park, a genuinely enthusiastic crowd ate up snippets of Kelis’ vocal on Milkshake in one part of his set. The crowd kept attentive early in the day's proceedings and the happy atmosphere was infectious at one of London’s biggest party’s on offer that weekend.
The Absolut Pink Cathedral, hosted by Savage and LittleGayBrother - was an exciting collab we couldn't wait to go and investigate. What we thought was a queue just to get inside was actually a queue for the rollerskating on offer, because what more could you ask for than disco, drinks and a majestic roller skate? Majestic, that is until you roll into each other getting excited by the tunes provided by Oli Keens and the rest of the days disco infused line up. No injuries, but a imaginative and fun addition to the day’s set up. We then decided to check out the second stage, The Cave tent, hosted by Sambodromo Do Brasil. The tent was decked out with mushrooms hanging from the ceiling to every other tropical-jungle themed inflatable imaginable and was a true mini elrow paradise. Catching The 2 Bears inside The Cave tent, was too much fun, a welcome slice of disco in the days line up with House and Soul selections carrying the set through.
The sun pulled us back outside for a bit of Claptone and during his quirky set, performers descended amongst the crowd, alongside a host of inflatable creatures that erupted from nowhere, in a characteristically elrow style. These antics mixed well with the set full of unexpected twists and turn. A great booking in the day’s line up, the housey set oozed good vibes, from selections Finn – Sometimes The Going Gets A Little Tough (Ferreck Dawn and Robosonic Remix) to Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit (Claptone Remix) a tune that generated some of the biggest cheers so far from the crowd, understandably. London’s Summer was certainly feeling good.
Catching Mele at The Cave tent was an equally special experience, in fact, his set was a standout of the whole day. Mele’s charisma set him apart from the rest, with a continuous selection of enticing beats that had the whole tent dancing. Tribal infused house selections fit perfectly with the chaos and colour surrounding. If you hadn't been feeling it all day, Mele insured the party vibe was alive, the perfect set up as mischievous Solardo took over the day’s proceedings. The pair had the crowd in the palm of their hands, launching into the set with air cannons and carnival dancers. There was lots of energy from Solardo that reflected in the crowd, with many bass orientated selections going down well in the last two hours of the The Cave tent.
Heading over to the The Town stage for the last time, two storey’s up from the crowd Fatboy Slim x Elrow commanded the Olympic Park. As night time came, the illuminated stages glory was undeniable. The production intertwined with the act on a scale not yet seen throughout the day, Elrow fully showed what they are capable of. As Fatboy let loose “welcome to the jungle” vocals with air horns, lasers, lights, smoke machines and an array of colours lighting up the park.
A selection of snippets from dance classics, like the intro to Lee Cabrera’s - Shake it got the crowd excited, but the selections spanned an eclectic range of genres, and the crowd seemed to bounce back with every change. The crowd was made to wait until the very end for the big hits, a taste of a remix of Right here, Right now finally came and was the very last song of the day. Amidst chants for one last song however the set really did finish. There seemed to be confusion in the crowd who really did expect one more song, but elrow’s extravaganza in London had ended for another year.
elrow’s second ever London venture, elaborated on the decadent nature at the brand’s core and again they successfully pulled it off. It is great to see the party brand powerhouse grow and grow, at an event that doesn’t take itself too seriously yet guarantees great vibes and an atmosphere to match.
All pictures courtesy of Graham Joy.
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