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It’s finally come around and all the boys with tiny hoop earrings and I simply cannot wait. Next Friday, the third of September, I’m setting out for 10 hours of solid reverb and I am giddy. It’s a day for all flavours of alternative and I intend to get my fingers in a lot of pies. So here is who I am planning on seeing during Wide Awake Festival 2021 in (hopefully) sunny Brockwell Park. 

12:15 Lazarus Kane at the Moth Club Stage 

The opening midday slot isn’t an easy one, but if anyone is up to the challenge it’s Lazarus Kane. There are few bands this early in their career who have such an ability to capture an audience. Whether it be their enigmatic frontman, the stonking riffs, or the big big beats, this band will force you to be enamoured, like it or lump it. Get down early for it.

13:15 The Mauskovic Dance Band at the Moth Club Stage

Maintaining the energy, this next band is just really fun. After releasing their second album Shadance Hall last year, MDB are ready to deliver zesty intergalactic disco heavily influenced by afrobeat and electro. Bring your dancing shoes.

13:30 Dar Disku at the Snap, Crackle, and Pop Stage 

The London and Bahrainian label will be showcasing an incredible array of music from across the Middle East. Their highlights thus far include featuring on Nabihah Iqbal’s BBC Radio Residency and being shortlisted for Resident Advisors ‘Tracks of the Year’. Expect Arabian punk, psychedelia, Afro Disco, Habibi house, but most definitely expect the unexpected. 

14:30 Porridge Radio at Bad Vibrations Stage 

They are charming and they are sweet. Personally, I’ve been obsessed with them and their unique brand of cathartic grunge since Mirrors Festival 2019. Since then the Brighton 4-piece have been nominated for a Mercury Prize, as well as releasing their critically acclaimed debut album Every Bad. But better than the accolades they do just rock and make me cry a bit, which is my ultimate combination. With Covid out of the way, I would see them before they get huge.

15:40 Mandrake Handshake at Bad Vibrations Stage 

These Psychedelic wunderkinds asked what if you add some really mad guitars to krautrock? The Oxford 9-piece discovered it was pretty mint. Having released their debut EP Shake the Hand that Feeds You earlier this year, they are still on the way up. But I will definitely be stopping by to get my fix of pedals, pedals, pedals. 

16:15 PVA at The Windmill Stage 

The Radio 6 darlings have really dialled it up a notch since their debut single Divine Intervention turned everyone’s heads in 2019. They released their EP Toner last year, complete with remixes from Mura Masa and Lynks. As a massive fan of electro and really cool people, I’ll be quite lamely wearing my PVA are OK t-shirt in the crowd. 

17:00 SCALPING at The Moth Club Stage 

I came across the aptly named SCALPING over lockdown, when I heard their unrelenting debut EP Chamber for the first time. Since then they’ve released a steady stream of Very Big singles that really mash electro and rock in a way I’d never heard before. Their latest EP Flood, leans more into the rock element but still brings a thumping dance beat to the table.

17:45 Lynks at the So Young Stage 

I am prepared for gay chaos. After releasing a series of searing EPs over the past couple of years, this should be an unrelenting set of dance with some incredible wardrobe to boot, bound to put a smile on your desperate and lovely face.

18:35 Black Country, New Road at the Windmill Stage 

Yet another Mercury Prize nominee for their debut album For the first time; this band could be described as London’s answer to Slint. A wonderful and cacophonous mix of rock, grunge, jazz, and the kitchen sink. They are absolutely overflowing with potential. This is the one not to miss. 

20:05 black midi at the Windmill Stage 

Yet another one I don’t really need to explain, you know they’re really good! After crashing into the scene full force with their debut album Schlagenheim in 2019, the London 4-piece released their sophomore album Cavalcade in May. Moving more over into math rock territory than their previous record, it’ll be an energetic set to say the least. 

21:00 KOKOROKO at the Bad Vibrations Stage 

No more mosh, time to boogie. By this point, I’ll have had a few pints and I will want to dance. Nobody will deliver the energy I need like KOKOROKO. Such an incredibly talented ensemble, that master the joy of Afrobeat and Jazz. Their 2020 single Baba Ayoola has had a firm spot on my party playlists since its release and I cannot wait to see what they do next. 

Clash Casualties

Unfortunately I cannot be in two places at once, but if any of the above don’t tickle your fancy, these are the honourable mentions that I’m gutted I won’t have time to see. 

12:00 Tiña at the Windmill Stage 

14:45 Fenne Lily at the So Young Stage 

15:45 Los Bitchos at the Moth Club Stage 

16:45 Pozi at the So Young stage 

17:20 Goat girl at the Windmill stage 

18:10 Dream Wife at the Moth Club Stage 

Wide Awake have really done an incredible job in representing every corner and crevice of the London alternative scene. I really think no matter your taste it’s going to be an incredible day and a chance to fall in love with some new artists you wouldn’t normally venture to watch live. That’s all from me. See you all in Brockwell Park!

Words & recommendations from Olivia Grace Maskill

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