Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Kendrick had a dream

There are many things one likes doing on Monday nights after work but they don’t often involve hot footing it up the backbone of the UK to the midlands to go and watch a gig. Usually following Sunday’s cold beer sweats, mild fear and hot flushes, the first day of the working week is one to be endured rather than enjoyed. Your standard Monday finishes in a large hot meal and an early night in a bid to ease the panic and make the next four days more palatable. 

However, on a Monday eve at the start of the sweatiest July we may have ever had, we went into work hungover, slogged through the office hours, then scarpered off to Euston to train it up to Brum to catch a gig by US hip hop hero Kendrick Lamar. When booking the tickets, our adventure seemed like a reasonable proposition. But the reality was we were spending the best part of 100 notes on a Monday night out in Birmingham when we all lived 200 plus miles away. It was even more ridiculous when the majority of the party all needed to be at their desks the next morning for more work-based pain. Indeed some suffering was on the cards as the final choo choo home meant we wouldn’t be tucked up in bed until near 2 in da am. 

But without such agony we wouldn’t have had a chance to witness Kendrick in full flight. And fly he did with a live act that sounded satisfyling meaty to the ears. Rather than just the two turntables and a microphone vibe that we were pessimistically anticipating on the journey there, he brought a full band to a crowd which was far more Saturday night in Ayia Napa than a sticky Monday eve in Brum. 

The Guardian’s Mark Beaumont has recently been banging on about the difference between gigs in the capital and those across the rest of the country. His premise is that those outside London are always more appreciative of watching music being performed in the flesh. And he’s correct. Us in the south have enough going on to be disinterested when it comes to catching a show. The mosh pit at the Birmingham Academy put going to a gig in London into sharp contrast. And this initial burst of heavy slap and tickle was only to the ‘EDM’ flexing warm up DJ. Oof.

The mosh only became more fierce when Kendrick appeared and proceeded to dance us through the finer joints on his second album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and beyond. Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, Swimming Pools (Drank) and Money Trees all sounded fucking large when they barrelled off the stage and sparked the baseball-hatted, weed-toting hoards to pummel each other and those aroud them even harder. 

Kendrick’s svelte self and super live outfit managed to sound both fucking lean and even more fucking mean during their 90 minute set. He conducted the crowd through an explosive sweatfest which culminated in one all mighty jump around before vanishing in a cloud of crowd moisture leaving us to the last train and a mighty drunken snooze. Kendrick definitely has had a dream. It's loud and has taken him all the way to the midlands and beyond. This kind of hip hop should neverrrr stop.

mosh pit


Monday night in Brum

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Running tings

Running doesn't seem like a very dreamy act. But when you're on the canter, there's a certain amount of soul searching with every step. And the longer you go, the deeper it gets. Eek. Some writers have documented it - like Haruki Murakami and his tome What I Talk About When I Talk About Running  or The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe are like real intellectual works about the nuts and bolts of getting a wriggle on.

In keeping with these great motivators, my main preoccupations while trotting about have included Macdonald cheeseburgers, kebabs, pints of Kronenburg and cigarettes - plus the extistential meanderings of where are those football socks. Where are they?

Indeed it was the thought of a pint and a fry up which kept me mentally meandering while taking on the glamour and the glitz of the Shrewsbury Half Marathon.

We made it in time on the Sunday to binge on bananas before running around this very grotty place for less than two hours in the pissing down rain. Vibes. Greasy eggs and beer have never tasted so sweet...

Berty Big Bollocks

Yes mum

Fuck you Shrewsbury

Pre-run prep
Pre-run prep

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Blood Orange

Remember the racket of mid noughties band Test Icicles? Or the twee hipsterisms of Lightspeed Champion? No? It's probably for the best. Apart from a small handful of vague tunes, there wasn't much either outfit had going for them other than a magnetic ability to be drawn to the bottom of record shop bargain bins.

But the third chapter in their tale is looking slightly more promising. Now songwriter/producer Dev Hynes is back, this time as knob twiddler extraordinaire working under the name of Blood Orange. And perhaps most surprisingly if his previous form is owt to go by, he's doing some wonderful things.

Check out the new one from Mutya Keisha Siobhan (previously known as the first incarnation of the Sugababes). The chord change into the verse is a knee trembler...

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Meeting the Murkle Man

Grime emerged all scruffy and raw back when we were living in Sheff town in the early to mid 2000s and blammo if it wasn't the most excting musical force we'd ever encountered. British, youthful (unlike Mumford and Sons, your parents wouldn't get it) and musically totally fucking weird. At the time it made a bass heavy kerfuffle and exposed a whole new breed of producers and artists to a massive audience. The mainstream briefly eye balled the grime crew, gave them a few moments of their attention before running for the hills scared and confused.

It meant that for a few years there was a large vat of record deals and money being churned up as the music industry movers and shakers endeavoured to get their head round what was going on. For some folk this worked out just fine - Dizze, Stryder, Skepta and their successors Tine Tempah and Labrinth have gone on to be big in a whole slurry of different games. Even Wiley has had massive success despite his inabililty to comply with the demands of the major players. Others have disappeared without a trace (Demon - where are you now bruv?) while others, such as Jammer and Lethal Bizzle, still have music careers but ones where the noises are made are relatively minor.

Thankfully with my current employ, we get to find out about these sort of cats and I had the pleasure of meeting Jammer at a press day in prep for his album Living the Dream. It was in a ping pong club slash bar near Holborn and our Murkle Man was almost an hour late before he rocked up in the most ludicrous garms I've seen in timeeeee.

As a result, we spent most of it talking about the elephant above (the record sleeve is his debut album Jahmanji). It was made funnier by just how baked our Jammer seemed to be.

You can check out the fruits of our interview here on M Magazine.

Below you can see what was going on through Jammer's eyes in a video he put out after the day. Confusion rules...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Got the shout out from one of our South Yorks bros for a Homer Simpson impression. This was the best one could do with an extreme hangover and a Scotch egg in hand...

There ain't no rain in Spain

It's probably not surprising that when you hit the big 3-0 you get more invites to weddings than you do to raves. But getting hitched is going off big time this year with invites, stag dos, hen dos and the like all raining down like the proverbial cats and dogs. Which is no bad thing don't get me wrong. Does it mean in 18 months time we should expect a deluge of sprogs? Is this how it works? I'm guessing so...

Anyhoo Spain was our port of call for the first wedding bash of 2013. We landed on the Tuesday at Malaga airport, then spent the next five days really taking advantage of Nerja's generous provision for heavy drinkers and heavy smokers.

We did both pretty much continually via hot tubs, tuna salads, BBQs, sweetcorn, taxi rides, dog fish, and jumping into chilly pools. Props and thanks to the bride and groom (now husband and wife Andy and Kirsty) cos it was a total treat. In the heat. Here's a selection of images to prove that yes we did leave the country and didn't just spend the six days hibernating in the nearest Wetherspoons with data roaming switched off the phones.

Flight rider

The snoring man

Our eyes were drawn to the EUR2 bit

The first of about a gazillion

San Miguel butties. Not, as I thought, beer sandwiches

The view - the tuna

That's a big fucking bill

The wedding bash - awwww

Lobster to start

Pork for afters

Our table proved to be the most creative when it came to drawing something romantic

The groom with Jimmy Saville as a yoot - look at that tracksuit

Absent chums

A shitload of cats chilling oot.

The 'notorious' Tooty Fruit square

The view from the back of the 2 EUR a pint joint...

Boar off


Chic @The Kentish Town Forum

We went to go and see Chic play at London's Kentish Town Forum the other week as part of the Red Bull Music Academy's takeover of anything which has a music muscle in its body. The show was a weird one, mainly due to the glorious time we'd had at the Warehouse Project a couple of years back when we'd travelled up to Manchester to see them. Nile Rodgers, the band's mainman, is on the brink of being everywhere and props to him for getting this far. He's staved a crippingly huge drug habit, then cancer to stay at the top of his game - but there was summat about this live outing which fell a bit flat. No matter - check the full review either via the link to the Hyponik website or below in all its glory...

Hyponik Chic review RBMA X Lovebox present Chic

Chic locked in

Arthur Baker wanders on stage looking very much an old man

The big DC