Festival Review: SW4 2017

Deadmau5 reigns supreme as stunning production steals the day. 


On Sunday 27th August, we headed down to SW4 to celebrate the last of the summer. The annual wrecking of Clapham’s otherwise charming Common has been taking place since 2004; and this year’s EDM tear-up was no exception. 

The first thing to note about SW4 is the crowd. And by that, I mean they tend to go all out. To this end, as we arrive Tchami’s ecclesiastical brand of future house is making full use of the main stage and audience, who have predictably peaked dangerously early. 

The other thing you can rely on with SW4 is that the festival captures a huge range of dance music. Across the 5 stages, whether you’re into your techno, EDM, house or dnb, you’d have found yourself fairly satisfied. 


Over the afternoon, B. Traits’ house stage was lively, as we caught George Fitzgerald b2b with Agoria. The same can be said for the Ministry of Sound Arena; where all those in search of their pop EDM fix were treated to the likes Laid Back Luke and Cosmic gate. 

Full-marks went to the Amnesia Ibiza tent, taking on some of the biggest names in techno, from The Martinez Brothers to Marco Carola. We had the pleasure of watching Loco Dice wreak dance-fuelled havoc on the impressive sound system (the same can’t be said for all the stages, unfortunately). 

As the sun set, Sub Focus commenced his  crowd-pleaser of a performance on the main stage. Sing-a-long classics like ‘Turn Back Time’ and ‘Tidalwaves’ were met with pleasure from the energetic crowd. 


Closing the day’s festivities was a man whose name on a line-up has the same effect as the likes of Frank Ocean at Lovebox earlier this year. Notoriously discerning and unpredictable, the atmosphere was a combination of nerves and excitement before Joel Zimmerman, otherwise known as Deadmau5, took to the stage. 

The enormous production time required to set up his show doesn’t help with the nerves either. Although, it shortly becomes worth it once the Cube 2.1 fires itself into action. And the result is undoubtedly one of the most impressive single artist stage set-ups we’ve ever seen. 

Every element of Deadmau5’s performance is curated to an extremely high degree. Behind the scenes footage shows it’s not even fully preset, he gives himself just the right amount opportunity for improvisation. The use of original visuals for each and every track is testament to this, as the Cube transforms from an industrial machine to a Rubik’s cube and even features personal footage from Deadmau5’s Rocket League gameplay. 

Blessing us with a trip through electronica, house, techno and hip-hop, Deadmau5’s range as a producer was on full display. As he mixed between old classics sarcastically played alongside a middle finger animation to new releases like ‘Legendary’, you could tell he was enjoying the headliner slot. 

Closing with the ethereal ‘Strobe’, it was a moment that identified a rarely seen side to Deadmau5, one as an entertainer, not just a producer. And glad of it, we were too. In a word: Flawless. 


Words by Tom McGivan.

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