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Live Review – Junction 2 at Tobacco Dock, London 28/08/21

Junction 2 plays host to some of dance music’s biggest names

Kris Humphreys (c)

As the summer of reuniting continues, we headed down to the inner-city edition of the Junction 2 Festival to check out some of the biggest names in dance music today. 

Huge line-ups and eye-catching stage designs is what the Junction 2 organisers are really known for but with the obvious events taking place over the last two years, the team behind the festival moved away from the famous beneath the motorway location of Boston Manor Park this year and scaled things down to central London’s Tobacco Dock for a weekend of pioneering electronic artists. 

Kris Humphreys (c)

With the bank holiday in full swing, London Bridge seemed like the epicentre of travel for festival goers, with other events such as Lost Village Creamfields, Reading, All Points East and far more (with of course the sadly cancelled Notting Hill Carnival) all taking place. Junction 2 felt like the home for the weekend of some of the biggest names in techno and once again it was all done in a big, bold and beautiful fashion. Set across 6 stages, varying from big room techno battle rooms, small intimate selector stages and live stream set ups, Tobacco dock felt like a suitable location for this year’s edition and gave an almost techno conference feel through the grey carpets and sound reducing curtains set across each stage, which although may sound unusual, faded behind the extreme displays of lighting and sound throughout the venue. 

Kicking things off in the largest of the stages, Cici graced The Great Gallery with a selection of rhythmic pulsations and thumping groovers, then handing over to the likes of Sama’ Abdulhadi, Anna and techno queen Amelie Lens, all taking the crowd through a journey of industrial esc selections, which thrived through the heavy on the low end sound systems installed by the Junction 2 team. Even though large in any scale, The Great Gallery felt like an intimate setting to see some of the big room techno’s top names, who are usually spotted in stadium esc events across Europe during the festival season.

Kris Humphreys (c)

 The real highlight of the day came from The Cavern stage, with its low ceilings and damp red brick pillars, felt as close to the dark dingy industrial basements which electronic music formed from. Afrodeutsche opened things up with her classic selection of Drexciyan delights and UK electro pulsations. DJ Boring was up next and the Australian born artist came through with a real distinct sound of 2000’s 8 bit infused electro house cuts, with the track’s breakdowns having pure elements of that Nintendo 64 sound design and dropping into the classic French house sound of the Justice era. Eris Drew was up next and as always she did not disappoint, with a selection of elegant house piano records such as Metropolis “Hyporeel” and some rare speed garage cuts the crowd were frantically trying to Shazam (with sadly no luck). Chatting to Eris before, it was only her second time in the UK since the pandemic and the excitement felt as real as it comes. Production wizard Jon Hopkins closed off The Cavern with a cohesive selection of aggressive groovers and edits of his own tunes such as “Everything Connected” which felt like they had been purposely reworked specifically for festivals such as Junction 2. 

Like a lot of these major line-up day festivals taking place, it’s hard to be able to catch and settle into the sets across the day and the other stages held the likes of Maceo Plex, Dixon, Ok Williams, Juno favourite Subb-an and so many more and to be able to catch them all one must somehow disperse into multiple entities for a short period of time, but from the crowds reactions echoing through the central hangout spot, it seemed like all artists were continuing in bringing their a game and that is not even mentioning what took place on the Sunday. 

As the night came to a close and people wondered of into the darkness of E1 across the road or the official Junction 2 afterparty at Fabric, London was truly back into the swing of things and as the Uber surge rose, so did the atmosphere across the capital. 

Words – Jack Carr Miles

Photography Credit Kris Humphreys