The big one: London Airwaves 2008

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Greg Rose | 15 September 2008

What Is It?

An attempt to bring the mystical rumblings of Iceland Airwaves to the decidedly less picturesque surroundings of east London. The appeal of a musical jaunt in lovely Reykjavik is clear, as is the distinctive allure of a day falling out of Shoreditch's seediest bars. London Airwaves seeks to combine the two in one day of music, culture and late-night revelry.

When And Where?

Pubs, bars and even an old warehouse in east London will play host to bands, with 93 Feet East, Cargo, Bar Music Hall, Vibe Bar, The Macbeth, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, Old Blue Last and the Hearn Street car park all joining the fun.

Five To Watch

The Young Knives
Often better value comically than musically, they nonetheless always entertain and are seasoned pros at wooing festival crowds with riffs as cutting as the House of Lords' quips.

Florence and The Machine
Simplistic folky fun from Florence, whose quirky songs can turn into irresistible pocket gems when witnessed live. Watch out for her vocal stretching cover of The Source's 'You've Got The Love'.

The Teenagers
Posing aplenty from the youthful Parisians, whose style-over-substance sound and energetic show is sure to get the crowds going in east London's favourite haunts.

The kooky – as in eccentric, not like Luke Pritchard thank goodness – indie charmers look set to thrill Airwaves audiences with their distinctive take on experimental pop, having been a mainstay of the festival season.

For those still standing, a late-night set from Crookers could bring the curtain down on the festival in startling style, with a set of house-influenced, hip hop dance ready to confuse and amuse anybody not already lost on the night bus.

One To Miss

Wild Beasts
Critical darlings for being different, they also manage to be an utterly dull live prospect, with a myriad of musical ideas combining all at once to make a monotonous and annoyingly sung mess.

Playing A Rare Festival Date

Sam Isaac
Ok, so he's played lots of festivals, but not usually the boutique kind. His pop delectation could be a disastrous booking, or may add an extra dimension. Worth finding out, either way.

Inside Tip

The Whip
Despite being billed exactly the same as every other new rave latecomers in the past few years, The Whip are actually a pretty fine crossover band with fewer gimmicks and more tunes than your average glowstick-wielders.

Be At London Airwaves If You Like
The sound of Iceland Airwaves but haven't got the time/money/disposition to trek to the Arctic Circle, especially when there's a decent line-up just down the road.

Avoid If You Hate
Kids who are far too cool to even consider having fun, trying out new bands and venues that were last decorated before any of the acts playing were conceived.

Festival Tactics
Choose your pubs early and wisely. The biggest acts are sure to pack out these wonderfully intimate venues to capacity, leaving many moodily mooching to see bands they don't want to, regardless of wristbands.

Fashionsta Or Folky?
Oh, it will be so fashionable that entry may be judged upon haircuts alone. The punters certainly won't be dressed for an average night down the pub.

Alcohol Of Choice
The Old Blue Last has been known to do an evil cocktail, but generally weak beer in old pubs is the order of the day.

Take Your Mum Score
1/10 – If your mum knew what east London was really like she may not let you go again, so best leave her at home. Besides, if you haven't heard of half of the bands, there's no way she has.

Can I Still Get Tickets?
Yes. Head to Ticketweb online, or the Rough Trade East and Pure Groove stores in person to grab tickets that are still going for a bargain £20.

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The Whip: Coming to a sweaty venue near you - Photographer: Shirlaine Forrest

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