Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Lovebox was a lot

Groove Armada's Lovebox festival went down the other weekend in Victoria Park. In many ways it went off much more than it went down due in part to a strong line up, intense heat and even stronger merch.

We spent the Saturday evening outside the arena listening to the pensionable Roxy Music meander languidly through a smattering of hits and more obscure selections while watching the more messy contingent of the crowd get booted out. One young lady in particular was a sight to behold. Dressed in a leopard skin dress ting, she was unceremoniusly given the hoof before propping herself against a tree and screaming 'You're all cunts' at the top of her lungs. I've never heard such whinging from someone so totally out of their mind. She went for fucking ever.

Another dude in a cowboy hat rocked up sporting slightly more sunny vibes by arriving in a mutant tricycle. He spent the eve peddling up and down the track in front of us giving people lifts with a cart, which, like that girl, appeared to be increasingly on the brink of collapse. Make no mistake - the vibe was strong out there.

Sunday was our day, Grace Jones our woman and it was another scorcher. The afternoon passed in something of a blur, mainly due to a slightly twisted notion that as we were going to work the next day, the murkage should descend much sooner than later. This way bed would come easier, therefore making the forthcoming day at the office a more palatable proposition. Predictably this backfired on a massive scale. It meant we succeeded in massively high levels of self murkage. Headliner Grace Jones is a very hazy recollection. Although I do remember My Jamaican Guy.

Derrick Carter smashed it in the dust of the Rizla stage, which is fast becoming my favourite spot at any festival we visit while Cut Copy provided the perfect soundtrack to jumping up and dwon while smashed on cider. I spent an hour on a park bench after the festival necking beer in a vain attempt to calm down while conversing with a fellow fuck head about the healing qualities of liquorice rizla.

You can find a review of the day I pieced together down here.

Resident Advisor Lovebox Weekender Review

The image above is the singer out of Hard Ton. They release records on International Gigolos, make music which is possibly utter rubbish but have one great idea. That record sleeve. It's amazing...

The art of promotion

There's much more to being a DJ than just playing records. While tunes are your bread and butter, you also need to be an eloquent communicator, be able to strike up effective working relationships at the drop of a hat while having the talent to nail deals.

Ex-Fat Truckers man now DFA dude Ben Rymer shows he's got more than most in this exchange with Kiss the Fist player Chinchilla.

This is how we do it in Hackney. It's that simple. Safe.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Summer wardrobe

This is it. Plus bites on the legs. Such a hot look right now.

Meeting Patrick Bateman

"Never meet your heroes" a wise man may have or may not have once said. I'd dare to suggest just don't meet them when you're sober. If you're pissed you'll hopefully be exceptionally daring, charming and brandishing a wit so sharp it could slice up ox cheeks. Or you won't remember if your chat sinks like a lead balloon. Either way you should be onto a winner.

So on this note we went down the Sarf bank to check out author and once enfant terrible of American literature, Brett Easton Ellis. He's got a new work to push so he's on this global tour talking about himself and this new, ever so slightly thin tome Imperial Bedrooms.

Turned out he wasn't a completely-up-himself dick. He admitted to being shit at a few things and wasn't unwilling to take the piss out of either himself or the audience. Plus he didn't mind a trio of slightly intoxicated goons asking him to either write 'Fuck off Chris' in an incomprehensible accent in one of his own books or sign a copy of House of Cards by Michael Dobbs.

Thanks a lot Mr Ellis. You were the bigger man.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Time to get funky at Numbers

The summer of 2010 has been massive thus far. July has been totally off the chain and it's slowly turning this year into perhaps one of the best ones ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever? Ever.

Start of the month saw us down at Fabric for the Numbers party. Numbers is a mad collection of Glaswegian piss heads, music lovers and DJs. From their sweaty bosom they've spawned the likes of Warp golden boys Hudson Mohawke and Rustie. They've also kept the flame for independent dance burning brightly with a shedload of big raves and parties north of the border.
So on one of the hottest Friday's on record, we got domestically messed up to the eyeballs before heading off into the night. The line up was almost hot as my underarms. Hardhouse Banton and Karizma, Roska were all big players on the bill. They played a right selection of mad tunes.

I can't work out whether Pon de Folay is the worst or the best thing I've ever heard.

The crowd itself was gnarly as you like. My companion described the rave as "200 men and 20 slags", which although arguably could be construed as slightly sexist, was bang on the money. Tottering legs, attitude and nerds in trucker caps abounded. It kinda felt like we were at a branch of Oceania somewhere in the midst of the Black Country.

Midly disappointing were the Numbers DJs themselves. Jackmaster's Sonar set from earlier in the year (which can be streamed over here) is impossibly good, taking in everything from Model 500 to Chaka Khan and Womack and Womack. Yet him back-to-back with Spencer seemed to lack something. Although this French Fries rhythm is a loud and honky beast.

Maybe we were too fucked. Maybe we weren't fucked enough. Anyhoo it resulted in us leaving about half 4 to roam back home across London with our trousers rolled up like a pair of nutters drinking 'beaters and shouting shit. A rare sight for the eyes. Watch out ladies.

The evening culminated in an intense rant ('the thing is, right, Fabric is like on our doorstep yeah. And when we go. It's a bit like being abroad. I'd come from abroad to. Go here. I think. Like. That's the thing. It's like. You don't hear this. Do you. Like anywhere else. Which is why it's amazing. Isn't it? Well isn't it. Yes.'), a wander round the local estate armed with small speakers and beers, then horizontally twitching on the front room floor until it was too hot to do anything other than get up. Restful? No. Funny? Very.

How low can you go?

Big, hype tunes have been raining down on 2010 in an almost biblical fashion. It's proper Noah's Ark vibes out there at the moment. Serious. You need flippers and a snorkel to wade through it all.

These are a few of my current favourites which have come out over the year but I'm riding high on at the present. When I say riding high, I'm saying pressing repeat on the player until my fingers blister.

Carte Blanche are Edbanger's DJ Medhi and British dude Riton. They're both aesthetically pleasing gents and make music which is as fresh as their collective wardrobe.

Dubstep dude Skream goes all pop and an ickle bit trancey with his chums Artwork and Benga as Magnetic Man on this one down here.

Some dude in the YouTube comments has suggested that one doesn't need to take drugs when you can listen to this. I'd suggest taking drugs, then giving it a listen. As a puppet on the end of a man's fist once shrieked: 'That's the way to do it'.

is a German chap who has been receiving a serious rimming for the disco wares he's been pushing over 2010. I've been a bit backwards in coming forwards in expressing my love for it but now I'm in the game. Committed enough to buy Tensnake a ring. A small, plastic one. But a ring nonetheless...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Getting close to a world unknown...

World Unknown is a well wicked party set down a Brixton back street. It's word of mouth ting, presided over by ex-Dissident Records dude Andy Blake and Bodyhammer and BLOC resident Joe Hart.

I went down to one of their shindigs before Christmas and completely lost control to the electronic body music they were pushing. And the shady arch of a venue is top. Turns out it's the perfect locale to suffer a music-based meltdown in.

Anyhoo a few months ago I shot Andy Blake a few questions. Eventually I managed to pull my finger out and write the freaking ting up... He's an interesting dude...

Check it oot down here

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Destroying the brain in Spain

If you've even got a passing interest in owt related to electronic music, heat and pranging out, then you'll be aware of the Sonar festival in Spain.

Pour moi it's held an almost magical appeal for many years due to the large line ups and the jaw turning venue I've only been able to picture in my dreams - Turns out that the snowball of hype has been justified - the ins and outs of two aircraft hangers on the outskirts of Barcelona offer the perfect setting in which to destroy your synapses and rave yourself stupid well into the next day and beyond.

From almost the moment I rose from the coffin on Wednesday morning, thoughts were fixated on drinking. I managed to avoid hitting the Wetherspoons at Gatwick before the flight on the grounds that draining tinnies before 10am while going on holiday in a group is socially acceptable - but probably slightly less so when on yer todd.

However, this attitude of temperance was completely forgotten once landing on Spanish soil. The first eve was well beery and involved meeting random Lithuanians and chowing down on small fried fish.

After a day of wandering round the streets of Barcelona, Thursday became even beerier. We hit up the local ex-pat boozer and then drunkely headed over to the Sala Apolo to catch a slice of minimal/maximal Detroit hero Robert Hood. Unfortunately we were too twatted to appreciate his skills, instead fixating on staggering around throwing stupid shapes to the itchy house business going on downstairs and necking expensive rums. Silly? Of course but undoubtedly strong.

Friday was a day full of important liaisons in various nooks and crannies of Barcelona before we inevitably wound our way down to the boozer for more cheap pints, smokes and shitchatting. Our second port of call was the Discos Paradiso record emporium for the South Yorks party with Slick Dixxx, Fitzroy North and mysen playing some tunes straight out of Steel City and the surrounding environs. Despite being on during England's piss poor performance against Slovenia it was big. Props to Fitzroy North who laid down thick hunks of booty popping old skool electro. Hat off to Estrella Damn and props to whoever left a Spanish omelette lying around for pissed up ganettes to stick their teeth into. It was lip smackingly good.

You can download the mixtape the first volume of the South Yorks mixtapes here. It's massive.

So by this stage we'd already wrecked ourselves and the collective brain something rotten before we'd even arrived at Sonar's night sessions - but the two evenings we spent there were both off the chain.

Walking into the venue is like nothing else - the main room is so fucking big, there's no way they could get enough dancers in there to fill it. You could entertain a herd of elephants in there and still have room for a double decker bus drag racing contest. The ease with which one could enter the festival was also duly noted. No dogs, no frightening Spanish feds on horseback and subsequently no rules.

If you're in a small party, you'd do well to chain yourselves together using handcuffs, bluetack or chewing gum. We spent a good two hours wandering around trying to find each other. But it was a sweet eve with Hudson Mohawke proving to be a highlight. We missed Carte Blanche but they looked amazing when they were doing this...

Saturday morning was spent in a very murky state before we ended up heading out to pick up cigarettes and inevitably ended up back in the pub.

The second evening was even more intense and beautiful than the first as we decided to opt out from drowning ourselves in lager and instead destroy ourselves by any other means possible. We only lost each other for ten minutes while we were functioning as part of an even bigger crew of fellow fuckheads, which shows just you with it we were. Music wise I can tell you a lot more as I have actual memories rather than just hazy, blank patches - Roxy Music were old and dull and didn't come fluttering with angel eyes where as Herbert was too techy for our mushy minds to handle.

The Chemical Brothers were surprisingly good playing only new bombs while dubstep don Caspa smashed the place to pieces with this. Stadium trance. Ooh-eer?

After that it was all about the dodgems and DJ Hell. Dancing to techno in the sunrise in Barcelona was almost as life affirming/threatening as being driven by a lunatic on the dodgems for half an hour. But you could smoke during both practices so it was all fine. Here's Hell on someone else's camera phone. As you can tell the vibe became extremely gnarly, especially the lighter it got...

Saturday night ended at some stage on Sunday afternoon by which time we weren't very fine at all. Worse than bad. I'd lost my voice and my compadre had lost his brain. But it was obviously worth it, despite the mild life panic I went through over the days after and on returning to Blighty. If I do it again, I'd like a doctor, a green grocer, chiropodist and mumsy all on standby at the airport. Plus another 4 days off work. And a sedan chair to be carried back in. But props to Mr Stu, his hospitable chums and everyone else we drank and drank and drank with. It was almost too big.

The images below are the only ones I managed to take over the whole five days. Team Mongoose doing what it did best. Being pissed in the kebab house. Snakes.