It’s hard to call two bands and a DJ a ‘festival’, per se, but you can certainly understand the marketing value for Cardiff Disco Festival organisers and headliners, Slipped Disco. It’s worked too: the event is sold to capacity at Cardiff’s The Globe, and attendees have certainly got the memo about the dress code, with sequins, feathers, flares, open shirts and Elton John-style shades creating an instant buzz in the air without a single musician on stage. The venue has also been transformed to accommodate: streamers, oversized disco balls and even a costume box for photo opps promising some serious Night Fevering in the offing.
Supporting Slipped Disco are Nookee – hot off a recent appearance at Sŵn Festival, they’re fronted by identical twins Gemma and Violet Hunt-Humphries in matching neon green string-vest dresses. The deliberate twinning choice isn’t a mere gimmick: it seems to enhance the singers’ incredible synchronicity as they switch seamlessly from duets to alternating verses to calls and responses with psychic levels of precision and powerful, punchy vocals.
It’s hard to take your eyes off them, in fact, and focus on the rest of Nookee, who come from a mix of classical and jazz backgrounds. This complex layering of influences somehow forms a fascinating, funky coherency – more rhythm and blues than disco. Still, the sisters assure us they’re taking us on a “journey”, with the headliners being the destination.
A nine-piece group complete with brass, keys and percussion, Slipped Disco more than delivers on being our promised land. Theirs is a supercharged set that rattles along like a Now! That’s What I Call Disco compilation, with few breaks. Diana Ross, Abba, Hot Chocolate, Sister Sledge, the Bee Gees… all killer, no filler.
The brassy spin on these well-worn dancefloor fillers, the liquid way they merge into one another, the breathless pace and the relentless energy poured into the performance, meanwhile, elevate the group beyond mere cover band status and instead into trusted hands to give these treasured classics new life. A Nile Rodgers & Chic megamix ends the set, while clamouring for an encore brings the band back out for lead vocalist Erin Mai to have her “diva moment” – Gloria Gaynor’s eternal power-soul anthem, I Will Survive.
After a quick breather in the evening air, the party continues into the small hours with a DJ set thanks to the Globe’s new extended license. Altogether, Cardiff’s first Disco Festival is a non-stop party from start to finish, leaving a thirsty audience sated and bathed in sweat and sparkle.
Cardiff Disco Festival: Slipped Disco / Nookee, The Globe, Cardiff, Sat 4 Nov
words and photos HANNAH COLLINS