Hannah Reid of London Grammar held the crowd in the palm of her hand
You wouldn’t think of the London Grammar as an obvious headliner at a festival. The electronic trio, whose third album Californian Soil climbed straight to the top of the UK charts when it was released in April this year, are known for their idiosyncratic sound – call it melancholy indie – and they don’t scream mosh pit. or can- filler of scattered field.
So when, towards the end of Friday’s set, singer Hannah Reid told the crowd of 40,000 in Victoria Park to squat on the ground, then raised them in time to the rhythm of the fall with a movement compelling his arm, it wasn’t just one of those magical moments of mass union that live music occasionally produces. It was a declaration of intent – it was a group that demands to be seen and heard.
All Points East, East London’s young and eclectic indie music festival, kicked off in style under a stunning late summer sun, with a glittery Friday night crowd bubbling with the prospect of live music.
“I want to talk about sex,” said Mahalia, the 23-year-old British-Jamaican R’n’B sensation, strolling around West’s petite stage in a red denim two-piece and a beehive of braids. Those were the first words I heard when I arrived – sweaty during rush hour on the metro – and they set the tone for her ensemble to be extremely confident and slightly ironic. Break-up banger Sober and anthem to the culture of consent No Pressure in particular got the whole crowd dancing long before the first drinks had time to take effect.
Oddly, on the main stage in the East, that energy suddenly leveled off: the hugely popular Jorja Smith, whose jazz-infused R’n’B won her both Britain’s Best Female Artist and Best new performer at the Grammys in 2019, took so long to find his feet that two of my friends gave up and headed for the nearest burger van. But as the sun set for the night, Smith woke up and finally started playing his best tracks. By the time she reached the chorus of Be Honest, a slender Afrobeat-infused bop, the whole crowd sang as one.