Thursday, 16 August 2012

Live Review: Boddika, Huxley & Mickey Pearce (BidoLito!)  (page 28)

Selective Hearing & Abandon Silence Present: Mifest Weekender (Liverpool)
Huxley – Mickey Pearce
The Hold, The Shipping Forecast
Saturday, 11th August 2012

When it was announced that Abandon Silence would be collaborating with Selective Hearing to curate a stage at Mifest, the biggest surprise was that they hadn’t done this sort of thing more often. The likes of Eliphino, Joy Orbison and young heavyweights Bondax made it one of the best dance line-ups of the summer, only increasing the disappointment when it was cancelled due to bad weather and a “less than friendly local council”. In a remarkable turnaround, the three days were divided across three venues in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool for an astonishingly cheap £7 per night.

Swamp 81’s MICKEY PEARCE gets things started, easing us into the evening with the sharply programmed drum sequences and lurking bass lines that has had recent 12’’ Don’t Ask, Don’t Get on repeat all year. Midnight passes and The Hold is already overflowing, with door staff turning people away in their dozens and kids literally leaping over the gate to get in (seriously, one guy actually did this, people clapped and cheered and I’m pretty sure we all hugged). Make no mistake; a sell-out for a local night outside of term time is mightily impressive even with the help of MiFest and Selective Hearing. Next up is Tsuba’s HUXLEY, whose unique blend of UK Garage and Contemporary House has seen him become one of the UKs most sought after producers this year. Within minutes of his set it’s easy to see why, launching into highlights from the brilliant Out The Box and Let It Go EPs, shaking The Hold to its core with some robust baselines and layers of infectious synths and abrasive percussion.

Last up is BODDIKA. Now on his own after he was originally scheduled to play b2b with Joy Orbison, the London based producer had a lot of hype to contend with. Any fears were allayed as he responded with one of the best sets Abandon Silence has ever seen. Being surrounded by 200 revellers punching the ceiling with excitement has become a well-earned tradition for Andrew Hill’s night, but it has rarely seen anything like this. In the midst of all the chaos, Mickey Pearce and Huxley stand alongside Boddika in awe at the atmosphere they have created. Its far too hot, you’re drenched in your own sweat and the lad next to you has knocked his third beer over your new shirt and it’s impossible to care. As the crowd erupts in “Boddika’s a Scouser” chants (still trying to work that one out), the night comes to an end and the exhausted crowd drags themselves back up the stairs and back to reality. This was unbelievably good.

This is what you get with Abandon Silence. Whether its Julio Bashmore, Boddika or just the residents, everyone is there to completely lose themselves in the music and dance themselves into the ground. With “big changes” promised for the new season, it seems inevitable that it will outgrow its current venue. What’s certain though is that no matter where it is, it will take all those hundreds of beaming faces with them. Local producer Mele recently called it his favourite night in the world. Not going to disagree with you there, lad. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Preview: Bestival 2012 (Waxxx)

Waxxx Magazine - July 2012

Bestival 2012 - Preview

Bestival is the one you always go back to. Having spent the whole of University listening to insufferable students compare their BeStiVal tiMeZ, it’s clear that people hold a deep and lasting affection for the Rob Da Bank curated weekend on the Isle Of Wight. Bestival has grown from 10,000 people in its first year to nearly 60,000 in 2011 and is filled by a cross section of festival goers from the whole summer. From the inevitable mankini sporting wanker to your mates mum who thought everyone slept in heated tipi’s, Bestival’s come-one-come-all attitude earns its reputation as the friendliest festival around.

Then of course there is the line-up. The most staggering thing about Bestival’s line-up is just how vast it is. By the time you reach the end of the poster there will be steam coming out your ears, not least because of soul legend Stevie Wonder. The festival has grown in the last few years but make no mistake about it, landing Stevie Wonder is a remarkable achievement for the organisers. I mean, even when he was announced as the Glastonbury headliner in 2010 people were shocked that he even knew what it was. New Order’s inclusion as the other headliner does go some way to emphasising how much his booking may have set them back, with the absence of an increasingly friendless Peter Hook in the reformed line-up offering little consolation.

As always, Dance and Electronic Music takes centre stage at this year’s Bestival. After 2012’s masterpiece Fin, Spanish House producer John Talabot and his flawless build and release sounds will challenge the likes of Julio Bashmore and Soulwax as the weekend’s best dance act. Nero on the main stage will draw all those rave painted bro-steppers and their £2 pills away from the dance tent, allowing you to enjoy the likes of Scuba, Blawan, Four Tet and Ellesmere Port’s very own Evian Christ without worrying about getting your head kicked in. 

Despite looking and sounding like your drunk uncle (if you replaced the alcohol with a lifetime of drug abuse), Jason Pierce and his psychedelic wall of sound Spiritualized must not be missed. Imagine hearing the swoon of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space as the sun starts to set – oh man. There is plenty for all you sensitive souls out there too: Sweden’s First Aid Kit will warm your heart with their simple folk melodies that made this year’s The Lion’s Roar so disarming, and if the hair-raising vocals of Elena Tonra of 4AD’s Daughter don’t bring a tear to your eye then you’ll need to accept that your black heart will probably be alone forever. Those looking to get their funk on will need to get themselves to Brooklyn hipsters Friends and Lewisham producer Kwes, whose infectious rhythms will have you shuffling in your converse until your Supreme cap falls off. 

Bestival is quite unusual in that is has the scale and ambition of the likes of Reading and Leeds, whilst retaining that charm and modesty that we love most about our small festivals. Desperately resisting the urge to use the term ‘melting pot’, it’s a place where the metal heads from download, the pill-heads from Creamfields, the Stevie-Wonder-Who’s from V and the people who don’t give a shit either way can come together with their sights set on ending the summer in style.

Bestival Is On The 6 – 9th September