Supersonic Festival 2023: A weekend with the weird and wonderful – Saturday 2 September

Words by Ray Vincent-Mills / Pics by Alice Needham and Connor Pope

It’s the second day at Supersonic Festival and activists Decolonise Fest take over the roof with infectious fusions and a zine making table, as with someone determinedly blows up a stash of beach balls by their side.

On The Mill stage is duo Blacks’ Myths, with hints of jazz and blues under unforgiving drums, and groovy bass lines with distorted background vocals.

On the 7SVN is Divide and Dissolve, and whilst they soundcheck someone behind me says: “Do whatever you want for as long as you want babe, times fascist anyway.” Divide and Dissolve do not disappoint, delivering a complex and both gorgeous and brash performance. In between their set they talk about the giving back of land and wearing a ‘destroy white supremacy’ shirt whilst having lunch with your grandad.

As I leave to go back to The Mill, I think about how safe and lovely a space this seems at Supersonic. Sometimes to the festival’s detriment, as I think as someone apologises for punching me in the Taqbir mosh pit.

I catch Elvin Brandhi, delivering some tortured futuristic industrial. It feels like a robot was asked to create what a scream sounded like but in the best way possible.

Elsewhere DJ Bus Replacement Service is performing in a Kim Jon Un mask, and the crowd unthreads. The beach balls finally descend, and the security guard is dancing with an inflatable parrot as everyone is losing their minds.

Then for the final set of the night, back at 7SVN, Backxwash (aka the doom queen) enters the stage making her UK debut.

Her set is interwoven with footage of historical black figures talking about black beauty and resilience. It aligns with her performance beautifully, as she goes full throttle with one blown monitor and three bottles of water later.

Supersonic Festival 2023 – Saturday 2 September / Alice Needham and Connor Pope

(Artists featured: Backxwash, Blacks’ Myths, Blind Eye, Elvin Brandhi, Godflesh, Oxbow, Ragana, Taqbir)

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