Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Two Times

Maybe the illusion didn't change into something real, but I'm wide awake thinking about everything that's happened. Her hand in mine, and we went to places; and as the morning became the evening I was in other spaces. Another one bites the dust but why can I not conquer trust? Anyone that's chased two rabbits will know that you risk losing them both. Too many metaphors and not enough substance. I can't do that. Take a second and think about the children.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back To Basics: New Years Eve

Now that the curtain has come down on 2014, before the dust begins to settle and the events calendar begins to take shape for the next few months. Following more influential venue closures; Plastic People and Trouw being the latest venerable institutions to bring the curtain down, there’s time to reflect on another roller coaster year for Back to Basics. The UK’s longest running club night being no stranger to venue closure, having seen the Garage close without warning last November. The search for another building continues, which we're told will consist of a music academy for emerging talent and clubbers can expect at least two music rooms. Whilst Basics seeks its new full time venue, they've enjoyed some memorable nights around Leeds since September, with Wire emerging as a popular choice. The venue hosted the recent ‘Back to Basics Gets Wired’ parties. On December 31st, Basics returned to the venue for a special New Year’s party with One Records label manager Adam Shelton.

Arriving at the venue, we filtered into the queue and were greeted by Dave Beer who assured us that he would have everyone inside before the countdown. Once inside we were soon down the front with James Holroyd warming things up at the start of the night. As Denney stepped up to the decks, Dave Beer appeared, taking the role of Master of Ceremonies and advising the crowd that if they can’t understand him, it was because he’s from Yorkshire. His words were greeted with a huge cheer and as the countdown approached the party really got started. Steve Lawler - House Record being the track that started the year, the new release from Hot Creations providing old school house with a modern twist. Denney has an upcoming Hot Creations EP, with Low Frequency being played recently on Skream’s Radio 1 show. Adam Shelton was next on the decks, providing a track selection of raw underground music with a strong influence of acid house and techno. Really enjoyed hearing Willie Burns - Waste Your Time played at Wire. Shelton had said earlier in the week that Basics' has been a staple source of inspiration, being a meeting place for some of his best friends. Since moving to Leeds, this is something I've also discovered and the reason I travelled up from London earlier that evening.

Basics resident James Barnsley is another selector that keeps things real and underground. His music working the dance floor and sound system. Barnsley’s productions have received a great amount of support and Mystery taken from his latest release The Magician EP being another strong offering. The night concluded with a back-to-back set from Aden Konrad and Josh Plews, who were joined by Dave Beer to combine experience with exciting new talent. The Basics head honcho playing Syclops - Where's Jason’s K, which is a personal favourite through to recent releases from Hot Creations. It’s been an exciting year for Aden Konrad and Josh Plews, having gained recognition for pre-parties at Distrikt, they're now closing Back to Basics with their signature sound. The bass from Junior Jack - Thrill Me being a classic piece from early 2000’s house music. I've really enjoyed these underground sessions, the New Year’s party providing an incredible party atmosphere. Basics has developed quite a soft spot for Wire and will be returning there at the end of the month with successful DJ, producer and Dame Music label owner Bloody Mary. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

She's Electric

Well the morning was complete. There was tears as the music fade ― I tried to change the beat. She was the soundtrack to my summer and back then I didn't need any competition because I had everything. This blog should be overflowing with stories about our shared experiences but a dream you dream alone is only a dream. In the beginning there were complications but regardless of what had gone before this should have been a different outcome. So often we ended up talking over each other, not allowing ourselves to let down our guard and see things from the others’ perspective.

A few mistakes ago I travelled to Manchester where I was introduced to her younger sibling at a festival. I wanted to make a lasting impression and we became friends, but this eventually created a problem. I'm too protective and can't ignore a cry for help, especially when they're alone. Curiosity becomes a heavy load, will force you to be cold. I started this weekend attempting to win some prizes playing bingo. I had a few lines and came close to completing a full house game. The night continued afterwards and the following morning I slept through my alarm and missed the coach to Leeds. I had other ideas but decided to honour the original arrangement. Apollonia were incredible that night. She was amazing too but we were soon tearing apart the ties that bind. Is this the beginning of the end? The coach pulled away from the station and disappeared around the bend. I have tried to do what's right and didn't want to hurt anyone!


Friday, December 05, 2014

Basics All Stars

Back to Basics, the UK’s longest running club night, celebrated its 23rd birthday at the weekend. Reading commentary in the build up to the night, it’s clear that there’s a real sense of loyalty and respect with what the Leeds based institution has achieved. Basics remains a pioneer and continues to push boundaries to achieve the best clubbing experience with audio-visual entertainment. This year’s birthday celebration was held at Beaver Works, featuring a plethora of talent and the 3D visual installation from Haydn Robinson, Simon Fong Wah and Zeon Sam on the production that was popular at the previous event.

Basics All Stars were advised to dress for the red carpet, the theme for the event being superstars, movie stars and all stars. We arrived in costume and true to word the red carpets were out and we made our way inside the venue. Tinsel town had come to Leeds, Beaver Works being transformed to represent the glamour and extravagance of Hollywood. With four rooms of quality music we were in for a memorable night. The Bar Room reminded me of a drinks reception, guests gathering for a few glasses before being taken to their seats for the ceremony. Dave Beer and everyone involved behind the scenes had delivered in converting ideas into reality, something Basics has achieved for over two decades.

The Bar Room provided the early entertainment, Maurice Fulton proving that he’s one of the true originals with his enviable back catalogue. George Benson’s smooth sounding ‘Love X Love’ being a personal favourite in the opening stages. Heading into the Main Room for Crazy P (Live) and the 3D projection mapping that encased the DJ booth was incredible. The audio-visual experience passing my expectations with a blistering set from Crazy P which provided so many great moments. Andre Bratten ‘Trommer Og Bass’ being one of the highlights of the night. The extensive birthday line-up included so much top underground talent, mixing experience from veteran Ralph Lawson, with a new wave of talent eager to make an impression. Down in the Basement Room was Circo Loco regular Clive Henry, joined by residents Laura Jones, Burnski, Frenchy, Jon Woodall, Gavin Herlihy and James Barnsley. There was a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed listening to the DJs playing back-to-back and serving up some great track combinations. We then moved back to the Bar Room as head honcho Dave Beer was closing out his set to receive much-deserved acknowledgement from the crowd. Aden Konrad and Josh Plews followed, both making their debut at the venue and proving that Basics is still uncovering exciting new talent. After a turbulent year, Back to Basics proved why it has been around for so many years and provided a memorable night for everyone involved.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bugged Out 20th Birthday

Carling British Cider is the official Cider of the Warehouse Project this season. The award winning Cider view the Warehouse Project as being at the cutting edge of clubbing and electronic music. Regarded as the 'spiritual home' by both fans and organisers - tickets to the return to Store Street have been like gold dust. It's refreshing then, that Carling are offering fans the chance of winning two guestlist places to every night at the iconic venue. I was announced as one of the winners, here's what happened when I travelled to Manchester ―

Located underneath Manchester's Piccadilly Station, the one-time air raid shelter was home to the Warehouse Project for five years before moving to Victoria Warehouse. This season the venue opens its doors for a one-year residency and I was excited to be returning thanks to Carling British Cider. Bugged Out! were the host returning to the Warehouse Project to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Arriving at Store Street, we made our way inside and after fighting through the crowd we ordered some Cider. After having a few drinks, I noticed that the tempo had gone up a level and displaying a blatant disregard to his set time; Erol Alkan played a 10pm like it was a close. Generating a huge response with Andre Bratten 'Trommer Og Bass' and Josh Wink 'Talking To You', before finishing with his closing track 'A Hold On Love / Only Love Can Break Your Heart' (taken from the acclaimed FabricLive 77).

George FitzGerald followed, making his debut at Store Street and clearly enjoyed the atmosphere in the main room. Heading over to the second arena, I was eager to catch Moon Boots (French Express) having missed out on attending the MixMag Lab event on Friday afternoon. Moon Boots has been on the French Express' UK tour - alongside Jonas Rathsman and Isaac Tichauer - but tonight was his last show in the country for a while. There was a great vibe by this point and we moved between both rooms absorbing the atmosphere. It was heaving in the second room by the time Skream took to the stage and he played a rousing set. Returning to the main room, Paul Woolford had everyone moving even the security personnel. 'Fly Life Xtra' by Basement Jaxx is a popular track with my friends and it was great to hear that played. Green Velvet closed proceedings and a section of the crowd lifted up someone in a wheelchair to get closer to the action. Incredible scenes in Manchester and thanks to Carling British Cider for a memorable night.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2014

I recently entered the Wells and Young’s ‘Barclaycard Mercury Prize’ giveaway. The competition which was announced on the Estrella Damm Facebook Page, required participants to tag one friend in the comments section of the original competition post. The winner received two tickets to the Barclaycard Mercury Prize and complimentary Estrella Damm (four per person). Estrella Damm is a pilsner beer, brewed in Barcelona, Catalonia. Estrella means "star" in both Catalan and Spanish. It's apt then that Estrella Damm were sponsoring the Mercury Prize, considering that the shortlist shines a light on future stars that could benefit from the exposure. I was announced as one of the winners, here's what happened that night...

Arriving at the Roundhouse entrance with my date, we were given the red carpet treatment which included a drinks reception. After having a few beers, guests were taken to their seats for the live performances and ceremony hosted by Nick Grimshaw. All the shortlisted artists receive a specially commissioned 'Album of the Year' bronze trophy. The overall winner receives a cheque and a special winner's trophy. I've seen live performances at the Roundhouse before during the iTunes Festival. Most notably, performances from Bombay Bicycle club, The Courteneers and Phoenix. The iTunes Festival is an annual, month-long music concert series which takes place in September. Bombay Bicycle club were one of the big names shortlisted tonight alongside Damon Albarn, with seven debuts and three jazz artists.

I was eager to see FKA Twigs and Jungle perform at the Roundhouse, having listened to the majority of the albums when the shortlist was announced. All the live performances were impressive and in a shortlist in which there was no obvious winner ― I believed that either FKA Twigs or Jungle would be announced as the winner. Dinner followed the live performances and guests were treated to a mouth-watering menu. Nick Grimshaw returned to the stage afterwards to run through the nominations for this year's award. Then came the announcement that Scottish hip hop group Young Fathers had won this year's Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize for their debut studio album Dead. Young Fathers then took to the stage with the shortest acceptance speech: “Thank you. Thank you. We love you all. Thank you!” The aftershow party beckoned but we decided to be sensible and head our separate ways. This proved to be an expensive choice because my date for the evening slept through her stop and ended up miles away from her destination. Mouth open you're. . . getting a cab home from Coventry! A massive congratulations to Young Fathers and thank you to Estrella Damm for an amazing night!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Close Shave

I have experienced so many grand days out this summer and on several occasions I have worn the wrong trousers. On 18th September, I completed the hat-trick of Wallace and Gromit short stories when I opted for a close shave at the #ShaveMeSir Barber Shop. Facial hair has seen a rise in popularity in recent years. November has become synonymous with growing a moustache and I have grown several in an attempt to raise awareness of men's health issues. Last year I chose to grow a goatee for Halloween, the inspiration being Walter White from the drama series Breaking Bad.

Beards, dodgy moustaches and sideburns were commonplace in the seventies and they have made a triumphant return. Facial hair has become more popular than ever and I have been focusing on growing a fine mane. This prompted the visit to the Barber Shop. Man Made is London’s finest Gentlemen’s Grooming Room and they collaborated with online grooming shop Yes Sir to provide the #ShaveMeSir Barber Shop in the heart of Marylebone Village. At the pop-up shop a shave and a haircut cost you nothing more than a tweet or Instagram photo.

The barber started with a face wash and scrub to unblock pores and remove excess oil. Then a face mask was applied to help soften the beard, reduce sensitivity and reinvigorate the skin whilst a head and neck massage was performed. Hot towels infused with essential oils were then used in conjunction to the steps along with a shaving oil, cream and the sharp blade. The beard was also hair dried, which was something I have never considered doing before the appointment. I will definitely be returning for more once the beard needs maintenance.

This summer there have been several themed events for the bearded men of London. The Kopparberg Urban Forest was a pop-up bar that provided a mix of live music, mouth-watering food and drink behind the city streets of Dalston. They invited bearded men to get involved in the latest trend for floral beards. I attended the event and had a variety of flowers weaved into my beard that afternoon. It’s hard to identify who started the trend but if we ever go to San Francisco, we'll be sure to wear some flowers in our hair.