» News and Features » False Idols at Drumsheds review: pop icons deliver at all-day rave
False Idols at Drumsheds review: pop icons deliver at all-day rave
We sent Ben Jolley to Drumsheds to check out one of their most unique nights of the year.
Date published: 5th Dec 2023
After filling up with a big breakfast at the nearby Tesco, Skiddle is ready to join 15,000 freezing-cold ravers heading to London’s newest superclub, Drumsheds, for almost 11 hours of partying. Owing to its huge line-up, which veers between DJs and live performers, the debut False Idols party at the former IKEA warehouse in Tottenham serves as more of an indoor festival than a standard club event.
The programme is also the most inclusive of the season: alongside platforming majoritively queer artists and those with mostly queer fanbases, Little Gay Brother and Lawless Agency bring their own flesh-baring ballroom vogue performers while party collective A Man To Pet host a takeover.
This intrinsically all-embracing ethos extends to the friendly, welcoming audience, and it’s clear that everyone feels free to be themself. Such widespread acceptance is further demonstrated in the range of outfits on display: all-black-techno vests and crop tops, short shorts, bare chests and bums, fleeces, parka coats and puffa jackets, as well as some IKEA bucket hats and reindeer ears (it is nearly Christmas, after all).
Once everyone has found their way into the huge maze-like venue, the action is split between Drumsheds’ three different stages: X, Y and Z. The largest, X, boasts two massive hanging speakers, moving lighting rigs and a full-width screen showing trippy backing visuals, while the remaining two are competitively intimate and resemble clubs in their own right.
Z is the smallest and sweatiest, and the tunnel-like Y - with its screen lights which depict not-so-subliminal messages like ‘can’t stop won’t stop’ and ‘stop settling for shit’ - brings back memories of Tobacco Dock’s Car Park.
At X, Jaguar warms up a small yet appreciative lunchtime crowd with her hip-hop and pop edits, bouncing around while dropping a tech version of Central Cee’s ‘Doja’ and closing with DRIIA’s booming ‘Anyone I Want’. Seconds later, Melbourne’s JACOTENÉ bounds on stage in a fleece and cargos; the 17-year-old’s soulful vocal, which recalls Amy Winehouse, and the accompanying live drums, effortlessly fill the massive space around her. “Don’t get too hyped coz I’m bringing all the heartbreak songs,” she reveals before belting out ‘Don’t Let Him Say Goodbye’ as girls slow dance together up front. With a voice as strong yet smooth as this, she’s undoubtedly a star in the making.
Meanwhile, the vibe in Y is decidedly different as Nathan Micay’s rumbling yet spacey set switches between techno and The Prodigy, before Ross From Friends reads the room perfectly and opts for rolling edits of pop classics like Nelly Furtado’s ‘Say It Right’ and Rihanna’s ‘Pon de Replay’. Back in the main room, X, which boasts cage-like platforms and a mile-long stage, Jodie Harsh’s mere arrival leads to a sea of phones in the air, and that’s before the troupe of dancers saunter onto the stage, parade around her and launch into synchronised routines.
Later, performing a DJ-live hybrid show in front of rainbow visuals and under pink strobe striplights and white beams, Eliza Rose’s pumping house, acid and techno has everybody moving for an hour and a half. It ends with a celebratory mass singalong of her chart-topper ‘Baddest Of Them All’, for which she’s joined onstage by all the dancers – a moment of pure elation and joy, especially as it’s mixed into Alicia Myers’ ‘I Want to Thank You’.
Then, before the first of two main live attractions, Joshua James ensures everyone is energised by dropping hedonistic edits of Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ and Timbaland and Keri Hilson’s ‘The Way I Are’. Treating her cult following to an hour-long performance of sultry electronica, Shygirl knowingly asks “do we have any sluts in the room?” before launching into ‘Shlut’ and ‘FREAK’. “I was gonna play another cute one, but I feel like we want the hard, sexy shit,” she teases before ‘TASTY’. It’s house hit ‘Cleo’, though, that delivers the real main character moment.
After a dance-heavy finale-style interlude that features a literal devil in high heels (on screen) and plenty of hun culture references, it’s *almost* time for the arrival of the three women that everyone’s been patiently waiting to be in the presence of: Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan, aka the era-defining pop trio Sugababes. Despite taking to the stage almost 30 minutes later than billed, they make up for lost time with a career-spanning singalong set that ranges from classic hits to newer singles including ‘Today’ and ‘Flatline’. Kicking off with ‘Freak Like Me’, fans are on shoulders and arms in the air.
Strutting across the stage in a range of glittery outfits and leopard print, their harmonies are on point. ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Hole In The Head’ come in quick succession, before the mic stands are brought out. “This might be a rave but you’ve got time for a ballad, right?” they tease before ‘Too Lost In You’ has everyone swaying as the camera close-ups go black and white to match the heartbreak-focused lyrics. Stools are then placed on stage ahead of a poignant performance of ‘Ugly’. After thanking the audience for their two decades of support, ‘Stronger’ has everyone clapping together after they rise up from their seats in true girl group fashion. Switching the energy back towards party mode, a one-two finale of ‘Push The Button’ and ‘Round Round’ ensures that the hordes of people leave smiling.
An unforgettable end to a triumphant debut, False Idols undoubtedly accomplished its aim: “to challenge our beliefs, craft a new dancefloor tribe, and find freedom within the music - a new wave of harmonious hedonism”.
To see more events from Drumsheds click here. For more London clubbing events and raves click here.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.