London Electronic Dance Festival 2010 Review

London's busy August bank holiday weekend got even busier this year with the arrival of the London Electronic Dance Festival organised by clubbing brand Cream and bringing together some of the finest acts over two days in the East End's Victoria Park. Although hampered by a reduced line-up rumoured to have been affected by poor ticket sales, the performances of acts including The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, Tiga and electronica legend Aphex Twin ensured it was a debut which would be welcomed back next year.

The first day of LED Festival sadly lacked the Swedish House Mafia members Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso as well as Ocelot and AN21, but the reduced event of one outdoor main stage and a tented Turbo Arena was giving dance fans plenty to get excited about on arrival. In the Turbo Arena Zombie Nation were revving the crowd up with their classic "Kernkraft 440", holding off on the hook to enable the bubbling electro bass to sustain anticipation before the drop. It proved ideal for getting the tent jumping late afternoon, though I headed to the main stage to see how Calvin Harris was getting on.

A five-minute mash up of hardcore including Altern8's "Frequency" was a delight.

Overnight rain had left parts of the site soggy, though thankfully the area in front of the main stage had dried out. People had been tweeting all afternoon in praise of Afrojack's pounding set and now Harris had stepped up to the decks for a DJ set. Slotting in "Ready for the Weekend" was always going to be a must for a Friday and it was met with cheers from the crowd among a largely predictable hour-and-a-half from the Scot. Next up Belgium band Soulwax got out the drum kit, guitars and synths for a live set that, as ever, was part original tracks written by the band and part DJ set akin to brothers David and Stephen Dewaele's 2ManyDJs moniker. Soulwax's "Nite Versions" tunes such as "E Talking" and "Compute" remain staples in their sets much to fans' delight but it's the splicing of snippets of their DJ skills which make their efforts all the more enjoyable. At LED a five-minute mash up of hardcore including Altern8's "Frequency" was a delight, harking back to the old skool rave inspires electronic dance music to this day.

After Soulwax it was time to return to the Turbo Arena for the end of Tiga's set. The head honcho of Turbo Recordings was gracing the decks backed by an impressive array of multi-coloured lasers in time with his mix of house and electro, rounding off his set with a beefed up remix of his "Shoes" tune. He's an ever-reliable performer who packed out the tent so it was a shame when the majority left to see star attraction David Guetta on the main stage. Those who did missed out on live Italian trio The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 who took to the stage in their trademark viper-like wrestling masks and black leather for a blast of industrial electro interspersed with more transcendental tunes. It was a beefy end for the Turbo Arena which left a little time to catch the end of Guetta's headline set where he towered above the crowd in a raised DJ booth engulfed by a giant screen for a dazzling display. Though he took few chances by playing tried-and-tested tunes, his fans lapped it up until the last beat.

The second day of LED Festival saw the two stages adopt different themes. The Turbo Arena was taken over by Radio One's Annie Mac for a host of dubstep, grime, drum & bass and headed up by the forward-thinking beats of Aphex Twin while the main stage focused on live acts. Crack house purveyor Zinc together with drum & bass favourites Shy FX and Sub Focus got the day off to a blistering start as the sun shone down while over on the main stage South African hip hop act Die Antwoord opened with their biggest hit "Enter the Ninja" marked by fans flocking to sing-along to the annoyingly catchy chorus. Famed for their Zef style of modern and trashy elements that includes out-of-date, discarded cultural elements, Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek donned Pokemon outfits at one point for comic effect emphasising their shotgun delivery over scattered beats. Equally perplexing and engrossing, Die Antwoord may not be everyone's taste but you can't fault them for giving their all on-stage - the exact opposite to Professor Green's more commercial hip hop offering on Annie Mac's stage.

Aphex Twin had everyone talking as they left.

Dubstep and grime act Boy Better Know followed Professor Green with a selection of big tunes including their "Too Many Men (We Need Some More Girls In Here)" hit while Annie Mac kept up the momentum ahead of who would prove to be the highlight of the whole of LED Festival's two days: Aphex Twin. Kicking off with half-an-hour of the deepest, dirtiest dubstep you'll ever hear, it was a clear the electronica master was intent on putting his own stamp on the most fashionable dance genre right now. He then wowed the crowd with a unique performance with Die Antwoord who joined him on stage to rap to his increasingly cunning beats before rounding off his set with typical aplomb thanks to lashings of breakcore and gabber. Coupled with the impressive lasers seen the night before and glitchy videos of the LED crowd beamed onto giant screens, Aphex Twin had everyone talking as they left the Annie Mac tent and moved on to Leftfield who headlined the second day on the main stage following performances from Friendly Fires and Goldfrapp. In the midst of a comeback year, Leftfield dusted off the classics once more with "Feel the Pressure", "Afrobeat" and "Phat Planet" eagerly awaited, though it was disappointing the sound system didn't deliver the same wall of sound as the tent had provided throughout the weekend - a gripe that often affect London's festivals when the night falls.

Still, for its first year LED Festival did provide many of the goods promised with high profile names from the world of electronic dance music along with sure-fire party-starters in an effective surroundings that mirrored fellow Victoria Park festival Field Day. The main criticism that must be taken on-board by the organisers is the loss of the third stage which meant there was very little variety available on the day, especially when bands were setting up on one of the stages, as only the VIP guests had access to another stage if they were in need of a dance. Provided LED Festival can make good on all it hoped to offer this year in 2011, it will be a welcome regular addition to the London festival calendar over the August Bank Holiday.