Festival Review: Mirrors 2016 – London

Mirrors 2016

Words: Nick Jacques

Photos: Jane Jimenez

mirrors festival jane jimenezAs ever the centre of Hackney was a hive of activity on the weekend. On any other weekend, this would just be another busy scene in London. People going about and doing their own thing etc, but when the Mirrors festival rolled into the heart of Hackney town, things got a whole lot more interesting.

With 6 venues involved in it’s 2nd year, the festival has managed to bag itself with some great innovative acts; Bat For Lashes, Fucked Up, Allah-las, Bill Ryder-Jones along with a whole crop of talent waiting to rise up and make the festival one to remember!

There was so much new talent on I did not know where to start. However it begun at the great venue Moth club in the shape of Leeds based 3 piece Caro. Immediately their tight and dynamic indie fuzz sounds caught my attention, with a heavy nod to the Maccabees thrown into the mix as well. This made for a pleasing beginning to Mirrors. It really shows that the people behind this festival really know new talent when they see it.

Next up at the unashamedly cool venue Oslo were the hotly-tipped Babeheaven. Formed out of a mutual love for hip-hop and electronica in Ladbroke Grove. Delicately poised vocals coated all the on-lookers, the arrangements of each song projected a blissed-out EDM vibe. A bit reminiscent of the XX and early 90s electronica. The crowd were really taken with their entrancing brand of chill-wave. Judging from the reaction they are definitely set to gain a bigger fan base.

Another tip for the big time were the band Hoops. Although I only caught their last 2 songs at Moth club, their catchy Mac Demarco style noodlings pulled in a big attentive crowd and they received a rapturous applause at the end of their set. Due to Babeheaven being so sultry and so bloody alluring, I was not able to make it across in time to catch all of Hoops’ set – god dammit!

mirrors festival jane jimenezAnyway my frustration soon vanished when a band by the name of Miya Folick appeared before my very eyes and I felt like I was under their spell from the first moment a chord was strung. Their brand of alternative rock really hit the nail! The basslines and rhythm really blended effortlessly and Miya’s vocals pirouetted above the on-looking eager crowd. It was a shame to learn that this was their last show in London which left the crowd pandering for more. I hope they will return as Miya has so much character and potential to make it big in these parts. You heard it here first people!

Then eventually we managed to make it over to arguably the best venue of the bunch. The imposing and decadent St John at Hackney church. Through the archaic doors a massive church dome opened up before me with impressive disco balls flashes engulfing every inch of the expansive ceiling. A lovely sight to behold!

However, I was not there to review the venue but the following band the Allah-las. Their breezy LA psychedelic tunings washed over the crowd. I had nothing but songs of praise for them. Their shiny guitar strummings filled out the church with little worry. I thought they won over the crowd in pleasing style. Not long after this I found myself rushing back over to Oslo to catch Fucked Up perform their debut album Hidden World.

Upstairs was tight and you could smell the anticipation in the air – yet another impressive disco ball embraced the ceiling in beguiling style. Fucked Up delivered a furious knuckle sandwich of hard punk rock with an experimental tinge. Their imposing bearded frontman prowled the stage like a seasoned pro. When the mosh pit ensued, the photographers also became embroiled in the proceedings! As the mosh pit grew and grew, all you could see were arms wavering with desperate camera flashes. It was a lively and frantic set from Fucked Up. As I wandered out into the night air to catch my breath and make my way again back to St John to catch Bat For Lashes, I noticed a fresh-faced troupe making their way up the stairs to where Fucked Up were unleashing their demons and I wondered if they knew what they were getting themselves into. Lord only knows what their innocent expressions would make of Fucked Up’s no nonsense attitude.

mirrors festival jane jimenezLast but certainly not least, Mirrors headliner Bat For Lashes took to the stage and dazzled us with her musings of heart-ache and lost love. Her set brought about a very fitting end to my Mirrors festival at the St John Hackney church. Her voice sawed above the crowd and her stage presence was magnetic.
Mirrors, for me, was a little triumph. The festival’s strong points were its access and its ability to continuously showcase new and impressive talent as well as show off well known artists too. I have no doubt that this festival’s popularity will grow and grow! As long as they don’t forget their strong points, which is enabling smaller bands to grab the limelight too!

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