Diplo surprises Londoners with impromptu rave on Shoreditch High Street

Diplo performing at Shoreditch tunnel pic: Artur Sochacki

Hundreds of people gathered on Shoreditch High Street this Monday for an impromptu free rave hosted by American DJ, producer and songwriter Diplo. Thomas Wesley Pentz who goes by the stage name Diplo is also one half of the music duo Jack Ü and one-third of the electronic dance trio Major Lazer.

The gig took place under the Shoreditch tunnel, known for its street art and skaters, which stands just below the overground station and adjacent to the bustling and vibrant BoxPark.

Diplo performed the set in a parked car turned DJ booth in the middle of the street. The gig opened with an unheard remix of Stormzy’s ‘Vossi Bop’, and he later played his popular mix of Dua Lipa’s ‘Electricity’. The popup primarily was to showcase new music from the anticipated ‘Diplo’ album.

Kevin Walusimi, 23, local barista said: “I was on my way home from my shift… there’s always something happening in Shoreditch but people seemed a little more crazy than usual.”

The artist announced the location at 4pm, giving fans just two hours to get to the party. Passers-by on their evening commute wound up partying below the infamous graffiti worn tunnels of East London, whilst others flocked from all over London to make the gig. The performance was streamed live on TikTok at 6pm. 

In the crowd with fans at Diplos performance pic: Artur Sochacki

Sabina Weston, 24, tech journalist, was travelling home when she saw Diplo’s announcement on Instagram and decided to derail and head to the gig alone. She said: “Diplo was super nice and even grabbed my hand at some point, which was super fun and spontaneous and reminiscent of pre-pandemic times when handshakes were a thing.”

Pic: Petar Atanasov

The artist is not new to pop up style performances. In February, he surprised fans with an impromptu show in a Los Angeles park to debut new music, which he only promoted on his personal social media accounts.

His latest self-titled album was released at midnight on March 4 and featured collaborations with Miguel, Melé, Busta Rhymes and DJ/producer Seth Troxler. It was released with the US label Mad Decent, founded by Diplo. 

The album is a solo project and the first of its kind from the artist since the release of his ‘Florida’ album in 2004. The first track, ‘Don’t Forget My Love,’ was released early with rave reviews. Long term fans have been waiting almost two decades for a release of this kind from him. 

Diplo wrote in an Instagram post: “Miguel asked me how I wanted to promote our new track Don’t Forget My Love. My response. Pop up in a public park with speakers and a few beverages.” 

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