The brainchild of Sean McLusky, once a member of Subway Sect and now a co-owner of the independent record label 1234, the 1-2-3-4 festival heralds the re-emergence of a DIY subculture. The arrival of the internet has prompted the decline of the major labels' stronghold on musical culture and the resultant era of "accessibility" has sparked the return of a non-conformist aesthetic that was prevalent in the punk movement.
Now in its third year, this fringe festival offers a platform for the underground community to display the avant-garde approach that informs an essentially "revivalist" alternative scene.
It is a courageous and ambitious undertaking, with more than 40 bands and DJ collectives across four stages that are co-ordinated by notable industry independents such as Rough Trade, Artrocker and Vice magazine. The scale of choice is overwhelming and it is well worth the £20 admission fee.
Festival highlights include Zombie Zombie, a Parisian pairing who impress with their vintage synth-based krautrock rhythms and high-energy homage to the scores of low-budget horror films. John Carpenter-inspired synthesizer soundscapes mix with the no wave electroclash of Suicide. The Brooklyn-based hipster label Captured Tracks is represented by the Los Angeles lo-fiers Dum Dum Girls and the British dreampop outfit Spectrals. Dum Dum Girls entertain with homemade bedroom punk, toned-down riot grrrl for a new generation mixed with the softer influences of girl groups of the 1960s. The Silver Machine, Bobby Gillespie's new supergroup, featuring Glen Matlock and Zak Starkey, make their live debut.
The Brooklynite Vivian Girls are revivalist veterans, alongside Wavves and Fucked Up, drawing on British shoegaze from the late 1980s. Their hectic sound is defined by soporific swathed-vocals and helter-skelter, garage-punk inspired guitar and drums.