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Clapham Common's South West Four reviewed

Clubland hedonism, wild abandon and lots of sunshine...

SW4 is synonymous with clubland hedonism. It’s a weekend of wild abandon on leafy Clapham Common featuring the biggest names behind the decks and a slew of live acts to refresh the palette and change the tempo.

For 2017 – for the first time in ages – the rain gods smiled down on the August bank holiday. And that meant one thing…beautiful bodies in full effect. Tans were on show and gym-physiques had the chance to be paraded proudly in the sun as well as in the sweaty darkness of the festival’s big-top covered secondary stages.

Festivals don’t get to keep coming back if they don’t deliver the goods, but the Lock’n’Load team know just how clubbers’ minds ticks. As a result they understand perfectly how to craft two days of anthemic mayhem that brings in fresh crowds every year eager to sample a slice of the SW4 magic.

Saturday’s big hitters included a stupendous live set from Pendulum – whose eclectic influences and dedication to pushing the boundaries of musical exploration keep them fresh and relevant a decade and a half after they first formed. Any band who cites the experimental Russian genius of Messer Chups alongside the big-band Drum’n’Bass explosion that is London Elekticity will always be able to expand your repertoire of listening pleasure.

On Sunday the talk of the day was Deadmau5 – whose showmanship meant that even the terminally deaf would have walked away with a massive smile on their faces. The huge cube that was the centrepiece of his live production was an astounding piece of visual theatre. An ever-changing optical treat that confounded, confused and delighted in roughly equal measures.

Aside from the big names a hunt around the rest of the bill always had the chance of turning up a surprise treat. Probably our favourite was Carl Craig who brought ‘Versus’ to Clapham Common and helped bring a slab of cultural genius to the dark tent within which his ensemble took the audience on a memorable trip into the fuzzy no-man’s-land between classical and electronic music.

For an SW4 newbie what are the tips?

  • Arrive early to beat the inevitable mid-afternoon queues and lap up all the early-doors acts that late-comers will miss.
  • Bring plenty of cash as the bar prices are not cheap and the ATM queues can become tiresome (remember there’s no card payments at the bars).
  • Pack light – increased security at event like this means big bags are a no-no and searches are common.Have fun. Lots of it. That’s what festivals are for…and SW4 is no exception!

Oh – and prepare yourselves for the after-parties. These are an integral part of the SW4 weekend experience, and you always have the bank holiday Monday to recover.  

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John Bownas
12th September 2017
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Clapham Common's South West Four reviewed

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