18 April 2009 @ Basin Reserve, Wellington

This is the third year Sandwiches has presented the Summerset festival at the Basin Reserve. Showcasing twelve hours of local and international music, Summerset is definitely one of the highlights of the year and also signals the end of summer.  This year the weather was fantastic, the venue iconic and good vibes were had from a diverse crowd. 

When I arrived late afternoon, Bass Kleph from Sydney was amping the crowd up outside on the DJ Stage, playing electro, house and breaks – a little commercial for my tastes but it was keeping the punters happy.  The Super Top held the Main Stage and it was huge!

I was disappointed to have missed Whisky and Sly who opened up and also to discover that Module didn’t end up performing. When I got there Charlie Ash was in full swing – vocalist Rosie Rigger sure knows how to work the crowd. I loved the Colour Me Badd I Wanna Sex You Up and the Blondie cover.

Next up was Hollie Smith. Having not seen her live before I was very impressed with her soulful, powerful voice. Playing most of her debut album Long Player, Smith and her band played to a packed tent. Special mention must go to her backup singers, particularly Bella Kalolo – wow this lady is amazing! Expect big things from her when her album drops hopefully this year.

While taking some time out to enjoy the autumn sunshine on the bank, I couldn’t help but notice that numbers seemed lower than previous years. With just over 4000 punters attending the basin did look sparse at times. Maybe some art installations or a graffiti wall could help fill up the space or possibly another stage? But I can’t fault the organisation of the festival. No queues for the bar, massive sound systems from both stages, nice visuals on the big screens, a small but varied selection of food stalls and the fluffers were highly entertaining.

Next it was time for the big acts of the day. First up DJ Lynx and Kemo had the drum and bass regulars out in force.  Playing some bad ass tunes and a few old school classics, Kemo and Lynx have a great chemistry and Kemo’s MC’ing was faultless, also coming down on the cricket pitch amongst the crowd with everyone loving it!

Heading back into the Super Top, Fat Freddys Drop were on. I have to admit I was dubious as to whether their set was going to be upbeat enough, expecting more of their mellow dubbed-out flavour.

I was wrong! Playing mostly all new material from their forthcoming album the Freddys played an upbeat set that had the whole tent up dancing and enjoying the Drop.  Pulling out old favourites The Wandering Eye and The Willow Tree The Freddys reaffirmed themselves as darlings of the local Welli scene. It was great to see a wide cross section of people and ages enjoying them. On the other side of the field Nick Warren closed the DJ stage and his progressive techno kept the glow stick crowd happy.

Then it was time for The Next Men, one of my favourite DJ/producer combos and wow I wasn’t disappointed! With P-Digss from Shapeshifter fame on the mic, the duo dropped an amazing two-hour set. Mashing up favourite hip hop tunes with some impressive scratching the Next Men fully delivered.

Dropping tracks from their 2007 This was Supposed to be the Future album this duo sure knows how to get a party going.  Changing tack they then went into a blazing drum and bass set, with P Digss stepping up and on fire.  Rumour is The Next Men are supporting Shapeshifter on their upcoming UK tour so maybe collaboration is on the cards for the future.

Before long it was all over but not before one more song  – Bob Marley sent us home skanking and happy after a great day. Nice one Sandwiches crew! See you next year!

Justine