Five standout sets from the South London festival

Five standout sets from the South London festival

Across three days over the May bank holiday, this year’s GALA programme focused heavily on electronic music, bringing together legendary acts alongside rising stars. 

The 2024 edition of GALA brought another stellar line-up to Peckham Rye Park, cementing its place as an arbiter of joyful, diverse music within London’s festival circuit. Having begun as a day festival in 2016, it’s grown to become one of the most circled dates in the UK capital’s calendar. 

Even with an expanded line-up that covered five stages, the community spirit that founded this festival rang through. With a focus on electronic music from all over the world, the programme saw stage takeovers from tastemakers and London staples like The Pickle Factory, NTS, Adonis and JUMBI. The festival’s curtain was raised on Friday 24 May, with a garage-heavy lineup of Girls Don’t Sync, Interplanetary Criminal and former Crack cover star Joy Orbison. Across the rest of the bank holiday weekend’s offering there was plenty to dart around the Rye for, including Shy One, Eris Drew b2b Octo Octa, SHERELLE, Goya Gumbani and Horse Meat Disco.

It was a stacked offering full of standout sets, but here are five of our favourites.

Tash LC b2b Mia Koden

The most enticing back-to-backs are those inspired pairings that don’t quite make sense on paper. Londoner Tash LC is best known for blending techno with myriad flavours of dance music – from gqom to amapiano and kuduro – while Mia Koden is generally found at higher tempos playing dubstep and UK bass music. They’ve never played together before – so why now? The pairing was, in fact, a genius bit of programming from GALA – the kind of off-centre match that ends up equalling more than just the sum of its parts. Let’s hope this double act becomes a regular fixture.

  • © Jake Davis

  • © Jake Davis

Joy Orbison

Will we ever tire of Joy Orbison? It doesn’t seem so. At this point it can hardly be considered a novelty to find Peter O’Grady on a UK festival line-up, yet once again we find ourselves front left for his packed closing set on the Friday night. As always, it’s the right call. Skirting deftly between techy garage wobblers, percussive bass heaters and curveball drill edits, his sound has been imitated by many but bettered by none. His knack is to balance out the crowdpleasers with ‘what-is-this’ moments and headsy diversions – so even perpetual-rinsed classics like 2012’s Ellipsis feel thoroughly well-earned when they come.

  • © Angelina Nikolayeva

  • © Angelina Nikolayeva

Trim & Zed Bias

Spotting Trim on this year’s line-up was a double-take moment – and a very happy one at that. Considered a cult favourite even at grime’s peak popularity, the ex-Roll Deep MC was a surprising but welcome inclusion on the Friday main stage billing. As he acknowledged himself between tracks, it’s been years since he’s graced a festival stage, but you wouldn’t think it. Confidently riding a broad spread of wonky grime and garage instrumentals – played dutifully by UKG legend Zed Bias – it’s clear why this outsider MC has retained so much staying power. 20 years into his career, Trim remains in a lane of his own.

  • © Jake Davis

  • © Jake Davis

ISAbella

Guiding us into the evening on Saturday as the sun continued to bounce off the field was Barcelona icon ISAbella. The Columbian DJ and producer, who is best known for her commitment to the city’s queer club scene and co-founding the LGBTQ+ party and collective MARICAS, brought energy and charisma to the greenhouse-lined stage. On the Patio, she spun her usual tech house and trance records, oozing with rude basslines and sleazy grooves that seamlessly moved the crowd from day to night at a near-perfect pace. 

  • © Jake Davis

  • © Jake Davis

Eris Drew b2b Octo Octa 

For their first b2b in London in over a year, longtime partners and creative collaborators Eris Drew and Octo Octa closed the Pleasure Dome on Saturday night as part of an Adonis-curated line-up. The tent was packed full and the energy was high, with the pair’s love for music and each other driving the energy in the room. They were a truly unstoppable force as they combed through their stacks of vinyl, spinning banger after banger and cutting dance moves that were honestly infectious. Full of joy.

https://crackmagazine.net/article/live-reviews/gala-2024-five-standout-sets/

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