It’s Saturday and day 2 of the London Freeze Festival. Those that came yesterday are now thoroughly wrapped up and shielded from the arctic weather, which was so harshly bestowed upon them on day one. The festival has another day of snow-related sport and skank-inducing music to offer up at Battersea’s power station. As Clash makes our way across the site, it becomes immediately apparent that today will prove bigger than Friday, already there is a throng of punters all over the site, and there is a tangible buzz in the air. Headlining the festival’s bill today are hip hop pioneers Public Enemy and scratch veteran Grandmaster Flash; these acts alone are a strong magnetic pull to the site, never mind the winter sports action.
Desperados have certainly come through with an impressive line up in their Factory, featuring the likes of Murkage, Raf Daddy and the legendary Shy FX. The action kicks off at midday and Rebel Bingo are back with just as much energy and prizes to get everyone warmed up for Duke who once again follow. Madam X and Star One also make a comeback, distilling the finest bass before blasting it full concentration onto the rosy faces of the Freeze crowd.
As evening draws in, the crowd is swelling as the ante gets raised and Clash moves in for a closer look at the first headliners of the night as they start to appear. Following on from their epic performance at Boardmasters Festival at the Desperados Dome earlier in the year, Murkage’s full crew comprising of 3 MC’s and a DJ give it all they’ve got and Clash soon finds ourselves getting swallowed up in the crowd. By elbowing our way to the front we swap some high fives with the crew as they depart to rapturous applause.
After a short break in which we once again go for some sustenance and a breath of fresh air, Clash returns to the Factory where one half of the renowned Two Bears, Raf Daddy is keeping things bubbling along with some smooth house grooves before the headliner of the night plays out.
And who is this headliner? None other than D ‘n’ B, jungle pioneer and Digital Soundboy, Shy FX. When we caught up with Mr Shy back in September, he was pumped about playing this set and immediately we can tell he wasn’t lying. Despite having to compete with Public Enemy in the main arena, the whole Factory is taken up with people bouncing, heads bobbing and skanking along to those sweet riddims. With the action on the slope now over, punters are fully committing themselves to the various dancefloors around the site and nestled into the heart of the Desperados Factory, with some huge basslines keeping us on our feet, Clash wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Indeed, Desperados have certainly done something right with regards to their setup and delivery of an interactive and hugely enjoyable space. As Clash reflects on the past couple of days we certainly feel that we got a bit of everything any festival-going punter wants: great musical entertainment, an exciting bar and freebies to boot. They’ve certainly hit the nail on the head and at times stolen the limelight from the main stage.
Words by Abitha Pallett
Photos by Tom McNeilage, Alex Thomas