We return for our second time to Victoria Park in London for Citadel Festival. With an appreciation and celebration for not only music but art, sports and food, Citadel stands out amongst a vast number of festivals held in the city over the British summer. The afternoon after Lovebox Festival opens its gates with an eclectic music line-up featuring the likes of Foals, Bonobo, Laura Marling, Wild Beasts and Michael Kiwanuka, while also showcasing hotly tipped emerging national and international music talent.
Clash x Last FM stage introduced Charlie Straw as their first act. Smoked lights, powerful floor tom shudders. With Charlie’s delicate yet poignant touch on indie charmers, I hear music from a nearby dance stage that echoes in the silence between moments.
Ardyn bond together electronica, indie-pop with poise, ease and confidence, such like a band with over decades of experience. Shining a vocal range fluttering around height of opera dynamics. Their set marvels with wintry, tender songs in moments then later expands with more engaging tracks such as ‘Reduction’, providing a thrilling beginning to the day of festivities.
EastEnd boy Joseph J Jones loses us with his powerful voice surrounding the Communion stage infused minimal hip hop beats coated with piano arrangements. Coated in reverb tailing off wicked games, lush vocal wail samples. Flawless in falsetto in melancholic moments.
Delayed guitar plucks, steel drum hooks. Three piece Banfi style high energised love songs with an assertion for punching basslines, the effortlessly catchy ‘Happy When You Go’ flaunting off-beat rhythms revel in the tent.
70’s vibes take over the Clash x Last FM stage with Parcels, styling influences from earlier decades and modernistic wave of funk and psychedelic rock. Jumpy basslines and catchy chorus sing-alongs. As we stand not so far in front of us, the frontman miraculously smashes a triangle in a frantic excitement in later set tracks.
Launching into her set in a scattered paint dress and a live band, Maggie Rogers plays to the busy main stage crowd. The artist introduces ‘Dog Years’ with jaunty basslines and reverb-swamped drum beats. Maggie’s stage presence and crowd interaction thrills the main stage with her carefree dancing, audience jumping throughout the set.
Twin Peaks display a fun punk rock attitude with little regard for mannerism. Rapid tempo changes, guitar noodling and throwback rock ‘n’ roll vibes revel for thirty minute set. Remembering in one moment where the guitarist spears a beer into the crowd, launching a mighty roar from the tent towards the end of the classic set.
Dan Croll comes out on form with rawkus driving guitar tones mixing like a hip hop concert with a driving bass tones surrounding the Communion stage tent. ‘Compliment your soul’, ‘From Out Of Nowhere’ uppity piano grooves, series of new tracks from new album ‘Emerging Adulthood’.
Bonobo’s live show is something of a spectacle, both concise in sound and transitioning. Every instrumental layer bares shrouds in concentrated minimalism that is just as enticing, as it is mannered. Adding a delicate jazz soul touch on electronica, trip-hop and house. Live set felt so tangible, with sax, trumpet player and Simon switching bass and keys. Moments on ‘Black Sands’ and new album cut ‘Kerala’ had everyone on each others shoulders in the dimming sun.
Foals lead the headline set with their wild mesh of funk and indie-pop. Bristly lowered, two disco balls hover glance over the main stage setting the scene to a sea of anticipated festival attendees. Having a few thousand people call the ‘Spanish Sahara’ anthemic chant louder than Yannis, bluntly describes the atmosphere in the park. On regular glorious fashion, the crowd are welcomed with a catalogue of a mix older tracks, hits and favourites from ‘What Went Down’.
Photos by Rachel Prew
Review by Christian Graham