Friday, September 23, 2005

OK, try this one

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Wight-hot

Back after two and a bit days camping, camping up and raving up at Isle of Wight festival Bestival, itchy fingers indicating that a précis of events needs typing up:

Acts/DJs that I did want to see which disappointed: Fabio (generic liquid funk failing to justify the Big Tent’s most packed crowd yet), Ulrich Schnauss – too-quiet ethereal gazetronica and drab untreated female vocals utterly failing to connect on Saturday afternoon. A shame.
Acts/DJs that I didn’t want to see which disappointed: Tom Vek (he stopped one tune, admitting to the band’s failings), 2 Many DJs (too many obvious sonic fissions), Mylo (Drop the Pressure seemingly the omnipresent tune of the weekend), Guilty Pleasures djs (fuck off playing ironic pop classics).
Acts that were clearly out of place as a headline act on the main stage: The Magic Numbers
Acts/DJs that I did want to catch but missed: The Rakes (didn’t turn up, I think), Clor, Jaipur brass band, Soulwax (the Belgian DJs said to be much better in this incarnation by at least two witnesses)
Acts/DJs that were given far too much of a free rein: X-Press 2 – several hours each night for the dadhousers
Things I did which surprised me: almost going with the totalitarian urge to go fancy dress (“not optional” according to the Bestival Bugle). Pink boots, pink hat and some cowboy paraphernalia were my concession to individual uniformity.
Best non-musical aspects of the weekend: The kids’ toboggan; the bloke chalking up the scores on Saturday afternoon (go on City!).
(“Stars” seen milling about: Howard Marks, Cox (with 1FM security), Da Bank d’Organiza, Mark Wall of Sound, Kid Carpet & Mrs Carpet)
Acts/DJs that I didn’t want to see which impressed: Dirty Dukes, VHS or Beta (better dancerock than Vek, even with the Robert Smith-lite vocals), loads of sundry house DJs indulging the crowd with classics or twists (Female diva over Hawtin’s Spastik in one case) or, like Kid Carpet, peddling a funky comic sound that keyed in with many ravers’ mindsets come Saturday lunchtime
Acts/DJs that I did want to catch which impressed: Royksopp, Cameo and Ruff Sqwad (moved venue but rocked it for 100 or so youngstas and me), Bobby & Nihal’s funky arcana in the Bollywood bar and, most of all, VITALIC (album so-so in confined domestic setting but blistering when let loose in a late-night, big top atmosphere).
Conclusion: the post-rave world is clearly benefiting from its augmentation with (mainly 80s-influenced) guitar sounds and the rave spirit is intact. I know this because people were asking us for MDMA at 10am in the morning, still blitzed from last night, because there were loads of lone bugged out dancers caring only about the groove, and that my wife moaned on the way back about being bored with all that “dj music”. A little more adventurous programming could easily be brought in next year but, overall, job done, Bestival.
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hit hop

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Turn the wedding beat around




Turn the wedding beat around

Wedding gig, Eltham Palace. After their first dance and exhortation for the rest to dance were played (shall I mention them? Err, U2’s All I Want is You, and It’s Not Unusual), we were away. Bobby Byrd’s I Know You Got Soul and Aretha’s Respect. Wifely advice then got me through the first hole, S Club rather than old Spice for the littl’uns, discofying that floor.

I got them going again on that there surface on my return to the decks. Bit of danceable rock for the blokes and campus favourites – Jump Around, wildpitch classic Renegade Master, Born Slippy, Regret. With Strokes’ Reptilia my most outré selection, this was no musical exploration. But as Popjustice and that kin of sites will tell you, there is decades worth of pop music to choose from, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a cheesefest (like what the bow-tied pro was knocking out). But even in a wedding it’s about programming the tunes in advance and getting the selection right on the night.

If proof be need be, it was in three different puddings. Soon the requests were coming in from people lurching into the booth. Smiths, Prodigy (Out of Space would probably be the only one that worked), RATM(!), Roses’ Resurrection, Charlatans (just played ‘em mate – obviously a fan), Girls Aloud. And the professional dj gave me his agency’s number, so maybe I’ll give up trying to arrange nights that push the sonic palate attended by 15.2 mates, and head for the corporate sterling. Then I got a call that the married couple had been playing the CD of potential floorfillers all morning in the honeymoon suite.

Best mix: Jacko’s Don’t Stop into Outkast’s Hey Ya

(image is of the Eltham Palace circular ceiling, where the service was held)

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Music and the moment


Having merely to avoid defeat in the last test, English (+Welsh) sporting loins are stirring at the thought of a third Ashes victory in 24 years. Domestic or office-bound eyes will be glued to Channel 4’s coverage next week. Time will stop for Freddie Flintoff’s exploits, then catch up again.

Yet the weight of expectation is not matched by C4’s music – namely Mambo no 5 by Lou Bega, a rip from a Perez Prado original. Mostly the brass parps and sampled yelps are the focus as C4 goes to a break or on the outro, but the lyrics are so good it would be a shame not to include them here . For years cricket and this slice of crap plastic latina were well suited, as it matched the pissed-up indulgences of the clubhouse and alluded – if only slightly – to the Caribbean wing of the franchise. Cricket was not taken seriously by the public at large. However, the England team has improved in recent years and now they are on the cusp of a meaningful victory. The press, if no-one else, will make a big hearty meal of it.

So bet on the producers changing tone, to the chest-out, emoti-rock of Foldclay , David Gray, Doves or Elbow, next week. Snow Patrol and U2 have been ruled out, unfortunately, because they are Irish; Oasis because their brand of working class hedonism is not suited to the long room of the Lords (the girl next to me in the office loves all this Heart/Virgin fayre and it’s polluting my ears RIGHT NOW). Producers will know such basic indie-rock also goes well with the stench of defeat, so it’s a good hedge either way.

Of course they might not bother because they’re losing the coverage to Sky soon…

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