At Rich Mix, you are welcomed with warm and friendly hospitality by smiling staff, that it truly resonates throughout the evening, and throughout the venue. Saturday evening at the London Remixed Festival was no exception.
The main room, Tropicarnival, (curated by the legendary Wormfood! and Movimientos), was fittingly decked with funky flower patterns, tropical themed plants winding around the stage and lighting rig, complete with a DJ stage made from bamboo.
My only criticism of the evening came when I realised the second and third rooms were located on the fourth floor, and the lift – decked out with disco attire complete with a DJ set blasting from a rucksack speaker – was nonetheless rather small, so I took to the stairs which were absolutely no joke.
Regardless, arriving on the fourth floor, a musical treat awaited: the Polka Club room, curated by Continental Drifts and MARSM, boasted the best and strangest of gipsy, pirate and vaudeville acts, such as Henge, all of whom were dressed like they were straight out of a Doctor Who episode. The room filled up throughout the night with all types of people: funky and freaky; weird and wonderful. I kept returning for the fabulous sets played in-between acts by one of London’s best sound systems, Gypsy Disco, who always know how to keep the floor alive with energy and laughter.
Folk Ghetto wasn’t my cup of tea; I felt disappointed with the DJ selection as the room failed to play a single song throughout the evening I hadn’t heard many times before. Sadly, the live bands clashed with others.
My highlight was a band called Malphino, a live cumbia band who’s mixture of shakers, scrapers and cowbells, smooth funky guitar licks and upbeat accordion made for the most irresistible and addictive cumbia grooves that had the whole room bopping from the first to the last note.
Other highlights included storytelling, cumbia-esc band Animanz who’s progressive grooves and sassy vocals kept the audience hooked, as well as the well acclaimed afro-hip-hop collective Onipa who lit the stage with a fire that continued all through Cal Jader’s set.
Surprisingly, catching Sam and the Womp Sound-system perform in the Polka Club was good fun; I found myself rather enjoying jumping to their playful set which had moments of blasting horn sections.
Although silent discos aren’t for me, it’s in keeping with Rich Mix’s inclusive vibe to have the option there, and an option that was well visited by others.
The overall energy of the festival was fantastic, I felt spoiled by the brilliant blend of characters and the true mix of genres. It was a pleasure to pick and choose, mingling from one sound to the other, all with such a high standard, and an incredibly friendly and happy vibe from everyone attending. It certainly felt like the place to be.
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