Monday, 16 February 2015

Jack's Boomtown Picks - 4 acts not to be missed at this year's festival

A week or so ago the national media got all hot and bothered about the fact that there were just 100 days to go until the General Election, but for me there is more important event on the horizon – Boomtown 2015. If, like me, you are counting the days, I can tell you that at the time of writing, there were 177 days to go until the gates open and the craziest town in the world is open for business once more.

Last week May-Fair Avenue’s aristocratic overseers Mr and Mrs Fitz-Sloane released the full programme of performers for this year’s festivities, and bugger me sidewise with a magnum of champagne, it’s a veritable Who’s Who of Vintage Remix royalty.

Closer to the time I will do a more in depth post about the whole line-up, but for now I am going to pick out a few of the names which have already got my heart racing in anticipation and my ever-so-shiny dancing shoes twitching.

First off, it is hard to miss the fact that Caravan Palace, pioneers of the electro-swing vibe, are top of the bill. Having seen them perform in sweaty, crowded London venues, I am very much looking forward to seeing them in a festival setting, where hopefully the cooling Hampshire breeze will allow for some vigorous dancing. Their on-stage energy and ZoĆ©’s perfect vocals make them one of the unmissable acts of the festival. I can’t quite work out which stage they will be playing, but given how fast their shows sell out when they come to town, let’s hope its one of the bigger ones.

Another performance about which I am so excited that I nearly soiled my trousers (something which my tailor would be very unhappy about) is ‘Brass Band Remix’. Taking the concept of Soundclash to a place never before imagined are two of the biggest names in the Vintage Remix world: Dutty Moonshine and Chris Tofu. They have teamed up with the Temple Funk Collective and the Brass Funkeys respectively to create what may be the epitome of the electro-swing sound: Live brass bands remixed live.

Speaking to Mike from Dutty Moonshine earlier today, he told me that the Dutty Moonshine Big Band "is made of several existing acts. Hypeman Sage on vocals, Maria Laveau - a female singer and rapper of Oxford Jazz Hip Hop outfit Voodoo Collective - plus the seven-piece brass section and drums come from the Temple Funk Collective."

They have performed with this set-up only once before and like an idiot I missed it, but in my head it sounds (and looks) a bit like a lorry-load of drums and synths crashing into a marching band at 150mph (or should that be 150bpm?): loud, messy, and with the potential to cause serious, potentially irreparable damage.

There so many excellent DJs on the poster that I’m struggling to work out which is top of my list, so instead I am going to pick out two names I have yet to catch live: DonJohnston, the man behind the amazing video below; and Grant Lazlo, who is joining his fellow Frenchies Caravan Palace in hopping over the channel for the event.

For all the details and info on the MayFair Avenue performers, and those on the other stages, head over to the Boomtown website, and watch this space for more Boomtown related posts from me.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Jack the Cad's Halloween

The Christmas Lights are up on Oxford St. and that can only mean one thing - it's Halloween! It's one of the most popular nights of the year for a party, and whether you are heading out on the town or throwing a house party, I have all the tunes and information you are going to need to make sure that your weekend is a real scream (see what I did there?).

First, let's cover the parties you can go to.

Top of the list must be Carousel. Their now legendary themed events always have a mystical, magical atmosphere, though glitter and unicorns are more the order things than werewolves and fake blood. To give things a darker feel for Halloween this event is subtitled "The Rocky Horror Ride". The other important thing to note is that this is not so much a club night as a mini urban festival, running from Friday October 31st until the small hours of Sunday 2nd November. In addition to the DJ skills of Birmingham's foremost swinging scratch perverts Mr Switch (who has just bagged his 4th, yes 4th, world DMC title) and C@ in the H@, you can catch the mash-up monster who goes by the name of DJ Jimi Needles and the sounds of Elle and the Pocketbelles collaborator Mista Trick, and Dirty Honkers.  Carousel are famed for the immerse nature of their parties so expect plenty of bizarre perfomers, burlesque and circus acts. The dress code is, unsurprisingly, Rocky Horror, so get out your suspender belt and stockings, lever yourself into your corsets and get ready for a night of twisted transexual titillation and, naturally, great tunes. Tickets are available here:

Next up is The Feast of the Dead at Passing Clouds Dalston on 31st October. Running from 7pm, through the witching hour and on until 4am, they promise a night of spooky goings on, walkabout theatricals, circus performers, glitter and, of course, a tasty helping of swing and gypsy beats. The UK's premier electro-swing live act  Electric Swing Circus top the bill, with support from The Old Hat Jazz Band, Big Swing Soundsystem and DJ Sacha Dieu. I especially recommend catching Big Swing Soundsystem, who feature Kaptin is Dead, music programmer at Boomtown Fair. It's also worth noting that Sacha Dieu is responsible for one of the most played Vintage Remix sets on Soundcloud, with 223740 plays at the time of writing. The dresscode, somewhat confusingly is, "Tim Burton designs a pagan Samhain production of Jack the Ripper with a touch of Day of the Dead."
223740 playsI am sending one of my minions along with camera and notebook, so make sure you come back and check out her review after the event - you may even see your phizzog in these august pages, if she deems your costume suitably horrific. Tickets are available on the door but get down early to avoid the queues.

If you don't happen to live in Londontown, the pick of the events is undoubtedly Madame Electrifie's Bizarre Safari, taking place at the Charles Bradlaugh in Northampton on Saturday 1st. Madame Electrifie is one of my favourite people in the whole Vintage Remix world, and she throws great parties. This one's fancy dress theme is, obviously, Safari/Animals, and there will be plenty of animal/jungle themed tracks. In addition to the eponymous Electrifie you can catch the UKs hottest hip-hop duo Too Many Ts who are currently touring their new record and have supported the likes of Wu Tang Clan and De La Soul (yup, really) - highly recommended. There will also be a DJ set from Back to Basskicks resident F-block who will be rocking things with his own blend of breakbeat, reggae, swing, drum ‘n’ bass and hip-hop. If you feel inspired by the flow of Too Many T's you can take them on at their own game by signing up for Hip-Hop Karaoke.

If, on the other hand, you feel like throwing a house party, Jack the Cad is here to help. Often such shindigs end up with the very worst of the house's music collection on the soundsystem, or with a battle between fans of different genres changing the track halfway through. In an act of selfless public service I have curated some of the best Halloween themed mixes and tunes so that you can concentrate on the important business of drinking and generally being stupid. Stick them on the speakers and watch the party unfold. Happily two of the chaps playing at Carousel have produced promo mixes, so you can recreate the atmosphere in the comfort of your own home. Let's start with them:

C@ in the H@ - Rocky Horror Ride

This mix has a great tracklist, staring strong with DJ Shaddow's legendary tune 'Organ Donor' then working its way through some Rock Horror samples and some great Vintage Remix tracks. Slightly less bassy than the C@'s  usual offerings, but chock full of humour, horror and hedonistic beats - an early evening party starter.

Mista Trick - Rocky Horror Promo Mix

Mista Trick takes us on a rocky ride through some of the best swing'n'bass known to man with this 45 minute, high-tempo mix. There's plenty of supernatural flavours in there - a good one for when things start to warm up a bit.

Slamboree - Arcadia Firestarter Mix

Slamboree always defy definititon - their own tag 'Pyro Circus Rave Massive' seems to do a pretty good job, and they have called this mix's genre 'Raveogeddon'. This is a recording of their set on the now legendary Arcadia stage at this year's Boomtown Fair. You may think that a festival set is not really appropriate for Halloween, but when you take into consideration that Arcadia is a giant robotic metal fire-breathing spider it makes more sense. My speaker is currently struggling a bit with the bass, so keep this one for the small hours when it will cause the neighbours most grief.

Also worth mentioning is this excellent new EP from Kid Kasino. 'Trick or Treat' is a spooky four track offering produced with Kid's typical verve. The standout track is undoubtedly "I Wanna be Evil" which has such a great groove that I have listened to it at least four times since starting this paragraph and keep getting distracted by dancing away from my keyboard.

If this ain't enough for you, have a look at this post from a few weeks ago: 10 Soundcloud Mixes you should download RIGHT NOW