On Sunday 4th May 2014, Shindig – the long standing House Music institution in Newcastle, celebrated its 22nd year in style by putting on a mammoth daytime open-air birthday party. Not being the first time they have tackled such an event this year seemed to be welcomed with open arms as the weather warms up & the festival season approaches. Tucked away on the banks of the Tyne, what appeared to be nothing but a Quayside Car Park was spectacularly transformed into a heavy weight Techno & House arena ready for the likes of Sven Vath, Nina Kraviz & MK to grace it with their presence.Source: Grace Picking
With the day kicking off at 13:00 the crowd seemed to pick up around 15:00 ready for MK to take to Stage Two at 15:30. At this point it started to become obvious that that step up in size for Shindig was not quite catered for starting with huge lines to get in due to overly thorough searching. The site itself was very impressive both in size & set up. The lighting & staging was fitting for the space & was well separated in order to try and prevent sound contamination between the two stages, and the painted crates that decorated the wharf added to the industrial feel which complimented the sound & surrounding perfectly. The sound quality however varied quite vastly throughout the whole event from stage to act with certain acts proving more powerful than others in such an open space. MK proved to be a crowd favourite even so early on in the day, pulling in a large crowd. He played a strong set to a largely mixed audience that seemed to be divided between the dedicated House ravers and mainstream house remix culture followers. Jamie Jones played a classic two hour Hot Creations infused set to a crowd that seemed to start lagging at this point. It seemed that the crowd were getting restless out of pure frustration, because of the outrageous bar queues where some festival goers found themselves stuck queuing for over 45 minutes! Unfortunately, this seemed to affect the atmosphere of the crowd to a certain degree.Source: Grace Picking
Catz N Dogz took to the main stage after Jamie Jones, keeping the energy flowing. They were then followed by the lady of the day Nina Kravitz, whom played a flawless set which you could not find any fault with. Her sound was perfectly aligned between picking up the energy levels & yet remaining unforced. In the meantime, The Martinez Brothers were playing over at the 2nd stage at the same time as Nina Kravitz, which proved to be a tough call for a lot of people to make. However, The Martinez Brothers really bought the party. It was obvious that they were having as much fun playing to the crowd as the ravers were themselves, which always says a lot about the quality of a set. Tasked with following a more than respectable set from the brothers, Hot Since 82 took over the decks. The sound level issues proved to be a larger problem for Hot Since 82 as there were points in his set when other peoples conversations were louder than him! This meant that a lot of tracks could not be fully appreciated. This issue was highlighted when he dropped ‘Conjure Balearia’ by Maceo Plex, as it didn’t have as much effect as it should have purely due to it not being loud enough to make up for the full frequency range of the track. Aside from the disadvantage volume wise the set was great, keeping the remaining dedicated partiers fully engrossed despite the severe drop in temperature.Source: Grace Picking
Sven Vath bought the main stage to a close with amazing effect. With the sun fully set, the visual outdid the audio again due to the levels not being high enough to compensate for the crowd size, and sheer amount of open space. His set was magical, perfectly balancing heavy & light House and Techno tracks proving to the crowd why he is held in such high esteem. His set had a couple of really dark points going in with some heavy Tech, which suited the change in vibe from day to night perfectly. There was a moment when the whole crowd seemed to be in awe, when he dropped En Faki & Johannes Heil’s ‘The Octopuss’, to monumental reaction, clearly being one of the highlights of the day. Even the pit security were even seen raving down at the front of stage!Source: Grace Picking
To summarise, Shindig by day was severely let down by the sound quality. Things like bar and toilet queues can easily be forgiven but not doing justice to such a powerful line-up cannot. This should not take away from how good all the acts sets were! The event carried itself well despite some people being obviously aggravated by the sound levels being too low. Nina Kraviz was a clear favourite alongside Sven Vath who blew various people’s minds away with his production skill and selection. That said, we will be returning next year, lets hope they bring the noise for the big XXIII!