A Winged Victory for the Sullen @ Cecil Sharp House
Monday 16 January 2012
The year started off on a supremely chilled note with this as the first gig I went to. The venue was small and intimate and the ambient sounds of the sullen ones were well appreciated. Being seated it was very much a "sit back and listen" evening which was perfect, this isn't exactly dance music after all.
Radioactive Man @ The ? Bar
Saturday 31 March 2012
Up next was something completely different at a small, sweaty, (literally) underground club in Stoke Newington. Radioactive Man did a great set dropping electro and breaks and getting a very enthusiastic crowd into some serious ass shaking. I had been out to two other parties during the day and evening but still found the energy to get down to the beats. Nice!
System with Vivek and Mala @ The Dome
Saturday 21 April 2012
System is a regular dub step night that has moved around various venues in London. This installment was at a large grimy venue up North near Tufnell Park and featured the talented Mala from Digital Mystikz. The focus was purely on the music with no lighting or frills, just speakers set up in two massive stacks that were so loud that at one point tiles came tumbling off the ceiling onto the dance floor below! Tear the roof off!
Kenny Dope @ East Village
Friday 11 May 2012
What better way to unwind after a long day at work than some seriously good hip-hop DJ'ing provided by Masters at Work's Kenny Dope and the always on point DJs from the London Doctor's Orders crew? Some of Hip-Hop's greatest tracks spanning the last 4 decades were dropped along with some funk, soul and reggae. A truly wicked night out.
Soundcrash warehouse party with Luke Vibert, 808 State and others @ Oval Space
Saturday 2 June 2012
Some serious dance music was very welcome after having being solidly rained on while cycling to the Oval space warehouse. A few hours of getting down to some old skool rave music dried everyone out and it felt about as close to the original early 90s Manchester scene as one can get in this day and age. Cycling home a bit before dawn with no more rain was a relief too ;)
Erykah Badu @ The Hammersmith Apollo
Wednesday 27 June 2012
This was the second time I've been fortunate enough to see Erykah perform live. She has a wealth of older material to draw on but also dropped plenty of tracks from her more recent albums and a few gems off collaborations with other artists (Liberation really stood out for me). There were plenty of quirky interludes and modifications to tracks that made the live experience noticeably different and it was a pleasure to be there.
Hospitality @ The Brixton Academy
Friday 28 September 2012
Hospital Records move their high energy night out around the UK and of course London features as a regular destination. With 3 dance floors playing Drum & Bass, dub, reggae and dubstep and a host of DJs, artists, vocalists and other performers there was plenty to keep the punters amused. By 3am I was pretty much danced out, but the party looked like it was going to continue to the wee hours.
MF DOOM and others @ The Kentish Town Forum
Friday 12 October 2012
I'm a huge MF DOOM fan but have been disappointed by both the previous times I saw him perform live with sub-par sound, an overly loud support MC and a bog standard live show that didn't stand out in any way from hundreds of other Hip-Hop gigs. So it was with a bit of reservation that I thought I'd go for "third time lucky" but fortunately it panned out as Doom seemed to be in a really good mood and had lots of energy. He pointed out he was dieting and had lost some weight, which is maybe why he didn't need his even fatter hype man this time. He ran through all the classics from Operation Doomsday to Take Me to Your Leader and Madvillainy and Born Like This. The night also featured loads of other performances, some of which were better than others. The biggest disappointment was Madlib who is great as a producer but live? Not so much.
Herbie Hancock @ The Royal Festival Hall
Monday 12 November 2012
This year's London Jazz Festival featured a rare treat - Herbie Hancock performing solo. We were treated to some piano pieces and improvisations as well as a track that he built up from scratch using various sound tools and instruments that he had on stage before he finished off playing a few of his classics on a very cool keytar. The man has still got it.
Flying Lotus @ The Troxy
Friday 16 November 2012
I've seen Flying Lotus perform about 4 times in the past but more than a year had gone by since the last time so I figured it was about time to see how his live show had evolved. There was a much bigger focus on the visual aspects of it with amazing computer generated animations being displayed on a screen behind him and a thin screen hanging in front of him which gave an incredible 3D effect. It took a while to get everything in synch and started but once on his way he delivered a superbly mixed set which went from lush chilled beats to frenetic stomping and back again a few times.
Rodriguez @ The Royal Festival Hall
Saturday 17 November 2012
The world's much belated discovery of Rodriguez thanks to the success of the "Searching for Sugar Man" documentary saw him return to touring with sell out shows all over the world. Being South African I've known his music since I was a teenager and I've always appreciated it even though the style was far outside of what I usually listen to. I never managed to see him the times he came to South Africa so it was great to finally have the opportunity. He is visibly old and frail and had to be helped on and off stage by his daughter but he was sharp when dealing with the crowd and his singing and guitar playing were still good. We found the sugar and it tasted good.!