Concrete And Glass 2008

Run around. Queue. Get in. Leave. Run round. Repeat... So many inner city festivals encourage the frisky footed among us to search out some abstract form of perfection. Better to stick to a simpler plan, finds Daniel Smallbone.

Concrete and Glass is a music and arts festival set up in East London, arranged over two days with the aim of entertaining and inspiring via a varied programme packed to the hilt. With an array of galleries open until late showcasing specially commissioned art exhibitions and a collection of venues playing host to various bands and DJs, it promises to expose an alternative type of festival.
With a line up of many of the bands that almost made it to the summer festivals, but not quite, the opening night is taken up by the music side of things. More than 40 acts take to the stage across 12 separate venues and the dash around the cobbles of Shoreditch becomes frantic, however a few acts shine brighter then some of those around them.

First to mention is an outfit called Little Boots, playing at the aptly named Favella Chic, who consist of hypnotic voiced vocalist Victoria, supported by Ben and Chris on keyboard, synths and drums. Delivering a hypnotic, infectious synth driven electro bubblegum pop and boasting a great stage presence, it's almost shocking to hear Victoria telling the crowd this is her first London gig. The songs are extremely captivating and highly addictive; most notably the throbbing 'Stuck On Repeat' and the enchanting 'Magical'. An album is due in the New Year with Joe Goddard of Hot Chip fame helping on production and I wouldn't be surprised if the songs find themselves on dance floors around the country.

One of the most phenomenal acts of the evening comes in the shape of Ludovico Einaudi, a classically trained pianist who delivers an epic audio visual soundscape of stunning beauty the ever popular Cargo. I've never been to a musical performance where every single audience member remains completely silent, enthralled and captivated throughout. Close your eyes and you imagine yourself a character in a scene of an emotive breathtaking film, and it's not hard to understand why he has already picked up four awards for film scores. One audience member described it as "the most powerful and emotional piano ever" and to be honest I could have not said it better myself. If ever you get the chance to see this man and his Steinway, I beg you to oblige.

The diversity of people at the festival is comforting with an eclectic mixture joining together to enjoy art and music at all levels. Even spotted is actress Mischa Barton, rocking out to Good Books. No matter who you are, as far as festivals go this is a great way to get involved in various art forms that you may not directly go out of your way to find, and it will also introduce to you a whole host of venues in the East London area that you may never stumble upon. Like any urban-centred festivals there's the fair share of queuing and rushing around to find the best thing on offer, but if you take the time to simply go with the moment Concrete And Glass offers much to catch the eye and ear.

by Daniel Smallbone.