Preview: TDK Cross Central 2006

01 August 2006

If you haven’t been left out of pocket by this stage of the festival season, you certainly will be by the close of the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

The Carling Weekend, Metro Weekender, Creamfields – and the Notting Hill Carnival – head an almighty weekend.
But it’s TDK Cross Central, boasting the most forward-thinking, least predictable of line-ups comprised of a melange of electronica, dance, hip-hop and alternative music, that’ll still be pumping when the others have packed up for the night.

Now in its third year, Cross Central is the cheapest of the Bank Holiday festivals, at 40 for the weekend in Central London. If you’re game enough, you can snowball it into the Notting Hill Carnival’s Bank Holiday Monday frenzy.

Cross Central begins in the early evening and runs til 5am each day. Centralised around an old Victorian freight yard, it incorporates three of King’s Cross’ most hip clubs – The Key, Canvas, and The Cross.

The event attracts talent from around the globe, with the likes of Berlin’s techno princess Ellen Allien and fellow electro merchants Booka Shade, LA’s cult son Money Mark alongside rising stars Hot Chip and the Roll Deep crew.

As well as being a must for anyone proud to be at the forefront of the London music scene, there will be a host of stunning visual art, film and other innovations on show.

Not only do the art aspects and fresh music set Cross Central apart from the other events of the weekend, but its location – an urban Victorian goods yard dating back 150 years – means it is also presented within a visually commanding setting, at the centre of London town. The Central Goods Yard, made up of characteristic brick warehouses, barrel arches and cobbled courtyards, houses the eight separate arenas which makeup this year’s cross central.

Indeed the organisers are said to be upping the production ante significantly this term to ensure the Goods Yard is transformed into a magical musical village that exhilarates the senses from all sides. With the artists on show, this job is made all the more easier:

Cross Central unmissables:
1. London Elektricity
2. Ellen Allien
3. Ladytron
4. Headman
5. Hot Chip

Simian Mobile Disco are ridiculously low on the bill, kicking off the XFM Stage, though it’s safe to say there’ll be a fair few in there for a certain song about friends. Likewise, Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet is on mid-bill in Canvas just before Switzerland’s rinse maestro Headman.

Head over to where all the cool people will be (or should that be people who think they are cool?) by the Vice Stage. There’ll be guest DJ sets from Bloc Party and Babyshambles members, but the main reason to amble over should be to see Jack Penate’s free spirited folk rock. Then head back to join us plebs for Money Mark’s achingly chilled moves and grooves before the best pairing of the weekend with Ladytron preceding Hot Chip.

If you haven’t left the place more dehydrated than a senile desert refugee, then you have no hope for Sunday. Ninjatune are here today with their own stage of course, with a typically solid showing of Amon Tobin, Hexstatic and Bonobo.

Do not even think about missing Shlomo‘s beatboxing over at Canvas. The same could certainly could go for headliners London Elektricity who will have no trouble in raking in the drum n’ bass crowd under one roof, though DJ Sasha may have a thing or two to say about that for his headline set on the XFM Stage.

Aside from some of the bigger hitters, some of the capital’s best promoters are hosting stages at Cross Central, including Secretsundaze and Mulletover – Ewan Pearson, Gucci Soundsystem, Dan Ghenacia, Sian, Cirillo, Andrew Weatherall, DJ Deep, DJ Food, are just some of the top draw DJs performing.

There is of course much to be discovered on these side stages. Go easy and remember there is no mad dash to see mega-hyped bands like at the big festivals. With a modest 7,000 revellers, there is plenty of room, good surroundings and two very long nights where you won’t hear the words “tent” and “mud” uttered at all.

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