Land of Kings is the newest music festival to hit the streets of London, with the focus the up-and-coming place to be, Dalston. Organised by a local collective of DJs and musicians passionate about their quarter, and set along the buzzy Kingsland Road and environs, the event converted the scatty clutter of old and new venues across the neighbourhood into a labyrinthian party town for two nights only.
Things kicked off on Thursday night, with drizzly skies putting a slight damper on proceedings, as they often do at festivals, even urban ones. The main hub of the eve seemed to be the snug, candle-lit Dalston Boys Club. Exploring further afield, at former bed shop Barden's Boudoir the hotly-tipped riot grrrl dirge-peddlers An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump performed for a select crowd; down by the junction at the Japanese owned Cafe Oto, post-jazzers led by Colin Webster jammed; beneath the Marquis of Lansdowne, 'Make It Stop, Mum' curated the basement, which involved a small congregation around a bale of hay. There was more of a sense of a happening in the warmth of the well-established Vortex, with the uplifting jazz and deadbeat humour of Get The Blessing, who claimed one number had been penned in a Turkish earlier that night and entitled 'Gilbert and George smell of baba ghanoush'.
Returning on Friday, Gideon Reeling performers conducted the dance floor in the Boys Club with their authentic swing routines, a packed room knocking back cocktails. At the seedy Dreams 'niteclub', Allez Allez and Serge Santiago spun techno as trendsters bounced on the sticky floor and carpet, or took photographs of the ominously named Champagne Corner...
And then on to the jewel of the crown, The Stone Cave, famed for its kitsch rock-like interior, for a top secret 'rave in a cave'. Local institution DJ Todd Hart, the blogger behind Dalston Oxfam Shop, got things going with gusto. And then for Disco 3000 BC, aka Mr Erol Alkan, and with every song better than the last, Dalston's really happening. Bring on next year.