Words: Colin Brownbill
Photos: Liam Dickson
Now in its fifth year, The Electric Frog and Pressure Riverside Festival has firmly established itself as Scotland’s premier electronic music event, attracting international and underground DJs to a truly unique location on the river Clyde. With the striking Riverside Museum as a backdrop, Pressure and Cocoon hosted stages on Saturday, and with the focus very much on techno, there was an electric atmosphere (both figuratively and literally speaking thanks to a passing thunderstorm), with show-stopping sets from the likes of Slam, Sven Vath, Nina Kraviz and Paula Temple.
Arriving on Sunday, we immediately make a beeline for the Coor’s Light Ice Cave where local lads Illyus & Barrientos are in control. With releases on Exploited, Glasgow Underground and Suara, their chunky, groove-heavy house bombs do the trick in getting the party started. Perhaps only in Glasgow is it unsurprising to find folk taps-aff in a refrigerated rave cave, but dropping crowd-pleasers like ‘You Can Call Me Al’ and I&B's own disco-diva weapon ‘Strings’, it’s seemingly an instinctive reaction to a good tune.
Back outside, the sun is still high in the sky and the temperature comparatively balmy as George Fitzgerald and Scuba take to The Electric Frog stage for a highly anticipated B2B. With over two hours to play with, the duo take their time and set the pace on their own terms. Drawing us in with hypnotic basslines and sudden bursts of driving beats, we’re certainly rewarded for committing to the journey, with Ame’s 2005 anthem ‘Rej’ perfectly punctuating the rising tension.
And what a novelty to be dancing in warm, open air – you could almost convince yourself it was Barcelona or Amsterdam were it not for the ‘shirt and sheux’ space cadet splattered with fluorescent paint and initiating a dance-off with anyone who makes eye contact with him. He’s having the time of his life though, and it’s this friendly, inclusive atmosphere that makes you proud to be in Glasgow.
On the other side of the museum and next to the mightily impressive Tall Ship, Jackmaster is hosting his first ever ‘Mastermix Stage’ at the festival. Following sets from the likes of Detroit Swindle and Hunee, need-to-know legend Mr. G is performing a seriously intoxicating live set. A true master of his gear, he rolls out a succession of jacking basslines, ice-cold synth stabs and seductive vocal cuts, giving us some irresistible deep house flavour as the setting sun turns the Tall Ship pink. Moving to the music like a man possessed, he receives an approving cheer when he eventually climbs up on the riser and busts some ridiculously smooth moves.
The stage is now set for Jackmaster and Jasper James to close the weekend. The Glaswegian duo have almost celebrity like status with the city's dance fans, and the space between the museum and the Clyde becomes a virtual roadblock. Launching into a special mashup of Lipps Inc ‘Funkytown’ before dropping a weighty house beat, it becomes clear that this set - much like their 'Live From Mitchell Street' mixes - will be all about fun and fire. There are classics aplenty over the next two hours, with the duo pulling out everything from Inner City’s ‘Good Life’ to Technotronic's ‘Pump Up The Jam’, while a special dedication to Manchester sees 'Voodoo Ray' get an airing as the sun finally dips beyond the horizon.
As darkness descends and with Mr. G still dancing side of stage, there are some big drops and even bigger basslines lined-up, with Zombie Disco Squad’s ‘Bang’ injecting some head-spinning delirium. Winding up to a climax which arrives all too soon, the inevitable chant of ‘one more tune’ is left unanswered, but thankfully the afterparty at SWG3 is just down the road. Whether we can hack the pace is another question altogether.