Tucked between a Sainsburies and a strip of local-shops, the imposing Hackney Round Chapel is an unlikely music venue. Indeed, until this weekend, the space has largely been used for services and lectures. One of three buildings taken over by Mirrors on the 31st, it’s a suitable symbol for the festival.
Lacking the sprawl of events such as Beacons Metro, the festival felt carefully curated. From cutting edge British guitar music (The Black Tambourines, The Wytches, TRAAMS), to genre warping pop, the bill had the considered eclecticism of a much larger event.
Under the round church’s imposing tiered cavern, Australians The Babe Rainbow played a meandering set of warm-brained psych pop. Their first show in the UK, it was a bold booking from the festival and one which proved (even if the enormous space diluted some of the intenser passages) the wisdom of wild punts. Having arrived from Falmouth in time to plug in and play, The Black Tambourines were equally impressive. Their slack-knuckled fury translated well in the space, with highlights I Wanna Stay Away and 27 25 going down particularly well.
A pre-event highlight for many, TRAAMS gave a few new album tracks a run out in a set that revolved around their early releases. From the new record, Sister and Succulent Thunder Anthem slotted into an already packed set with the ease of old favourites. It’s hard to see this Chichester three-piece going anywhere but up in the next few months, and the chance to catch them in such a grand venue was fairly special.
Over at Oslo, a venue curated by the ascendent DIY, PIXX proved particularly impressive. The 4AD signee, has the presence of a serious new talent and the songs to match. Though the space was less impressive the Round Chuch, it provided an intimate setting for her brand of electronic wooze. Oceaán, folowed on, with a well crafted set of intricate dance-pop to round off a solid double billing.
Rhye brought a timely reminder of the time and the season with their closing set at third venue St John at Hackney. Billowing an autumnal warmth and edge, the set blended old and new material on a scaffold of tight R&B grooves that made for an impressive close.
Sporting a tighly curated line-up, reasonable ticket prices and a range of unusual venues, Mirrors is an impressive addition to the London festival circuit, and one that deserves to make a return in 2016.