In a sun-drenched Victoria Park, a gaggle of fans wearing Haim hoodies queued patiently to get their photos taken on a row of retro blue deckchairs. A meticulous recreation of their debut album cover Days Are Gone had been transformed into an interactive photo booth, and the winding lines proved a solid clue when it came to the main attraction of the day.
First, though, the Baltimore indie-rock musician Snail Mail brought her wry snarl to the main stage, thrashing straight through a quick-fire set of favourites from 2018’s debut album Lush, and its woozier follow-up Valentine.
And in the relative gloom of All Points East’s only tent, Romy – also known as one third of minimal pop trio The xx – consoled those still sad at the cancellation of Tove Lo’s set by segueing between a eurotrash remix of Kylie’s Padam Padam straight into some euphoric live renditions from her forthcoming debut album: Enjoy Your Life, Strong, and Loveher were all standouts.
While the musician sometimes cuts a low-key silhouette, it was refreshing to see her dancing along with the front row and throwing herself straight into the communal, house-infused spirit of her solo material.
Back on the East Stage, singer-songwriter Girl In Red seemed determined to see out a jam-packed year of touring in style, with All Points East marking one of her final stops of the summer before heading home to Norway. Confidence Man showed no such signs of winding down with an high-octane set of Aussie electro-pop, while Nell Mesal (yep, as in the younger sibling of Paul Mescal) showed that talent clearly runs in the family.
Ahead of Haim’s headline show, Fergie’s London Bridge blasted across the park, before the band strode on, to rapturous cheers. As Alana told the crowd midway through, this is a special city for the now-stratospheric band; while they were busy trying to book any show they could get their hands on in Los Angeles’ Valley, it was London who first sat up, listened, and gave them their first break.
Accordingly, the band was in party mode, celebrating 10 years since their debut album with all of the hits present and correct: along with early classics like Falling, Don’t Save Me, and penultimate song The Wire, the set also visited newer hits. Summer Girl came complete with an extended sax jam.
Though ferociously practised, it was also a playful headline set complete with I Know Alone’s hilarious and slightly robotic group choreography, mass drum-offs, and a portion in which Este Haim asked the front row for their clubbing recommendations. “She Bar!” bellowed one reveller, followed by a shout out for The Glory. ”Chiltern Firehouse!” yelled another, to widespread boos.
Lord knows where on earth they ended up afterwards, but it felt like the perfect, chaotic ending at Victoria Park’s huge summer takeover.