Review: Meltdown Festival '17

The Southbank’s annual artist-curated festival is back, this time with West London’s MIA bringing the strongest genre bending artists together.


Meltdown festival was established back in 1993 with English classical music producer George Benjamin curating the line-up. Other past curators include Brixton’s David Bowie, Yoko Ono and Massive Attack, each bringing their own personal taste to the selection of artists chosen to perform. However, MIA’s artist choices reflect the ways in which artists who operate on their own terms, make music the same way. The artists chosen for the line-up all have their own unique twist on their genre and as MIA has previously expressed, their styles  “have inspired each other to exist.”

One night that would certainly bring an energetic line up was Atlanta’s Awful Records very own club night, concluding with a performance from Awful’s leader Father and fellow label artist Keith Charles. The label is known for it’s offbeat style, with other artists such as Ethereal, Lord Narf and Tommy Genesis all holding their own stylistic version of ATL Rap, RnB and Hip Hop to form their own distinctive sounds. The label gained a rising popularity through social media and SoundCloud, making them a perfect fit to host a night aligning with MIA’s theme of genre bending artists.

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The night opened with a DJ set from Bok Bok, founder of the Night Slugs label followed by the head of PC Music, A.G. Cook. The DJ that founded the label which carries artists such as Hannah Diamond and Danny L. Harle warmed up the stage before handing over to Manchester’s ambient trap queen IAMDDB. Although due to sound issues her set was cut slightly short, she continued to perform unreleased tracks along with ‘Shade’ and her internet break out ‘Leaned Out’ from her album ‘WAVEYBBY VOLUME 1’. She was able to bring the atmosphere back despite the delay and deliver note-perfect performance.

On next was a DJ set from London’s Tiffany Calver followed by South London’s House of Pharaohs, a group of guys bringing ‘a new era to creative arts’. Fuelling the night with energy, the group opened the pits performing tracks from their ‘Real Faces’ project. The South London group are known for their album they released at the beginning of summer including tracks such as ‘7 Girls’ and ‘Pope’. Leaving the crowd eager for more, Bonzai took to the stage. The Dublin raised singer/songwriter who gained exposure from her EP ‘Sleepy Hungry’ and ‘Lunacy’ brought songs including ‘Where are U’ and ‘Doses’ to life with her band not missing a single beat.

 Abra surfs the crowd amidst a performance of  Why Don’t U

Abra surfs the crowd amidst a performance of Why Don’t U

The penultimate act to perform were the latest Awful Record’s singing Danger Incorporated. The dynamic duo consisting of Louie Duffelbags and Boothlord met the Awful crew due to being fellow Atlanta musicians on a wave of their own. The pair continued to up the energy for the final performance of the night. Keith Charles kicked off the Awful set performing tracks from his project ‘We’re All a Little Triflin’’. Mid-track Father appears on stage with Awful’s self-proclaimed Darkwave Duchess, Abra. With the crowd ditching drinks to join the pits, the pair play ‘Why Don’t U’ from Father’s latest ‘I’m a Piece of Shit’ album.

The energy maintained with Father’s recent single ‘Heartthrob’ and ‘Spoil You Rotten’ from his ‘Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First’ album. Although the performance certainly pleased the crowd, it was cut slightly short. However, the group along with Danger Incorporated came back out to greet the crowd at the barriers. Awful’s night was the place to be for finding emerging talent, they showed the versatility of new music through an array of upcoming artists.

Emily Fortune