Electric Frog Easter Weekender - Glasgow, 23-24 Apr 2011
Francois K and Erol Alkan top festival's expertly curated line-up
It's an exciting time for Glasgow-based micro-festival Electric Frog, the city’s lively weekender of electronic music. Not only does it have both an Easter and summer outing this year for the first time, it's also expanding from a one-day to a weekend-long format. Not bad going for a festival only three years old. But with an expertly curated line-up, and an obvious desire by the promoters to make the event work as well as possible for festival goers, the additional demand for the Electric Frog experience is understandable.
In terms of how the festival uses its Glasgow location, the warehouse parties spilled out into a tented marquee, with its own stage at the far end, while the street tent followed the line of Eastvale Street, a tucked-away yard in Yorkhill in the grounds of the SWG3 Warehouse. With the sound of the music combining with that of trains zipping past on the railway line overhead, the choice of venue is atmospheric, and very appropriate given the name of the event. The Electric Frog moniker is a reference to the local galvanisers, where Italian scientist Galvini’s research methods involving the electrocution of dead frogs. Nice.
A particular festival highlight was French house DJ Francois K’s Saturday headline set at the SWG3 Warehouse, before going on to play another set at the Subclub’s afterparty. These were Kevorkian’s only UK shows, and the debut of his Deep Space set, a seamless and eclectic mix of funk, soul, dance, house and electro. Tracks like Sister Sledge's ‘Thinking of You’ ensured smiles all round. Billed at the same time, Erol Alkan headlined the Street Party outside, maintaining the carnival atmosphere while earlier on in the evening, New Yorker Danny Krivit played his only Scottish show of the year.
International big names aside, there was plenty of home-grown talent on the bill, from both newcomers and established DJs hailing from Glasgow and beyond. DJ collective Thunder Disco Club, a who run regular nights at Stereo with a dedicated following, kicked off the carnival proceedings in the main festival tent on the Saturday, while on Sunday, L-Vis 1990 played warehouse sets in SWG3. The London-based producer, who also manages the Night Slugs record label, played alongside Glasgow's own Numbers at Barcelona's Sonar festival last year. Optimo and SLAM, regulars to SWG3’s parties, also played well-received sets.
Given Saturday’s success, Sunday was understandably a more sober affair, with plenty of revellers, but many looking worse-for-wear after a night of several afterparties. Taking time to recharge their batteries before plugging in, Sunday's sets ran behind by about an hour and a half. Eastvale Street woke up to the news that the scheduled headline set from the turntablist J Rocc had been cancelled. Fortunately, a rescheduled gig is planned that will be free for Sunday and weekend ticket-holders, a gesture illustrating the ethos of Electric Frog. The people behind this event clearly care about good music and having fun, and at a time when so many festivals are being watered down by commercialism, it’s a refreshing display of principles. Where else can you get a weekend festival pass for a mere £50, be fed and watered from onsite bars that won’t break the bank, and get offered reduced entry to a choice of centrally located after-parties with free transport laid-on?
The next Electric Frog Weekender is planned for 30-31st July 2011, with line-up details to be announced in the next couple of months. Tickets are bound to go fast, so as soon as they become available - for want of a better phrase - you’d better hop to it.