Tag Archives: review

Motor City Drum Ensemble & Young Marco @ La Belle Electrique, Grenoble

Two of the finest selectors around gathered in Grenoble’s La Belle Electrique last weekend so we thought we should pop by.

Young Marco has been making a name for himself this year as an unpredictable crate digger as likely to play industrial techno as intergalactic disco. The enthusiastic Dutchman decided to open and close the night, throwing out Fatima Yamaha and Floorplan classics mixed in with this unbelievable piece of Brazilian Funk from 1977:

The pattern of obscure world music would continue unabated as Danilo Plessow tagged in for the small hours. He provided a lesson in joining the musical dots between funk, disco, house, soul and pretty much everything else. Some highlights included funky house from Bosq of Whiskey Barons and the finest in Estonian afro-house from Ajukaja. Tuck in to a snapshot of our evening.

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Beacons Festival 2013

There are those who say that there are too many festivals in the UK these days. Certainly the last few years have seen the births (and, in some cases, the deaths) of many a ’boutique’ summer shindig and, as Adam Buxton tells us, the experience is unrecognisable from what it once was. But our problem with festivals isn’t the quinoa salads, childcare facilities and wacky fancy dress.

It’s the rampant commercialism that means paying through the nose for watery Red Stripes and inaccurate programmes, and being treated like David Miranda whenever you have the temerity to move from one area to another. Beacons promised to be different – with its reluctant booking feesencouragement of public transport, and talk of local ale houses. And indeed it was: the setting was spectacular, the staff were accommodating, and the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed than many of its competitors.

And then there was the music. T Williams is one of our favourite live acts at the moment and he delivered again here, kicking the weekend off in style with a barnstorming Friday night set on the Red Bull Music Academy stage (well, truck). Resident Advisor’s tent played host to crowd-pleasing sets from John Talabot and Dauwd, and the main stage was treated to intense performances from Gold Panda and SBTRKT.

There were even guitars on show, with Local Natives impressive in the headline slot and Dutch Uncles proving a captivating spectacle (mostly due to frontman Duncan Wallis’s unbelievable shapes – for more on them, head here). And culture too, in various guises – including a screening of the amazing ‘Made of Stone’, with a Shane Meadows Q&A and everything.

Rodigan & Iration Steppers rounded off the weekend with a reggae-themed Sunday, sending the crowds on their way and warming them up for Notting Hill Carnival the next weekend. A top weekend, then, and props to the organisers for doing things a bit differently. Roll on Beacons 2014.

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The Stone Roses: Made of Stone

“Don’t these times fill your eyes?”, asks Ian Brown in the chorus to the track from which Shane Meadows’s documentary takes its title. This triumphant documentary certainly does. It would have been easy to be cynical about the project when news of it first emerged. We have already seen the documentary about the band who “thought it would never happen” but then put personal differences aside to reform and conquer the world. The Blur documentary, ‘No Distance Left to Run’, is this documentary (and it’s excellent, incidentally).

But where ‘No Distance Left to Run’ focuses on Blur the band and their relationships with each other, ‘Made of Stone’ is (at the risk of sounding trite) all about the fans. That’s not to say it doesn’t look at the relationships (there’s some amazing archive footage of Brown and John Squire racing mopeds as kids) or the music (an extended live version of ‘Fool’s Gold’ is mesmerising and a rehearsal of ‘Waterfall’ is possibly the best scene in the film, which is saying something). But the main subject of Meadows’s documentary is the people for whom the Stone Roses meant everything.

A key moment occurs when the band offer tickets for an intimate warm-up gig in Warrington to the first people to arrive at the local box office. What follows is astonishing, as we see hordes of people drop what they’re doing and charge across the town’s previously quiet streets to get in line. One builder has abandoned a half-built house, an office worker has lied to his boss about a death in the family, and a father has bought his newborn baby to wait with him in the queue.

There’s something melancholy as well as brilliant about the accounts of these fans: most of whom have grown older with the band and are now in middle age. Looking at the footage of the Roses from the late 1980s, they clearly feel that they are invincible. On top of the world and at the top of their game, they can do anything and take on anyone. Their fans no doubt felt the same. Both are different now: older, with faded looks and fast-growing children, and perhaps a sense that they didn’t quite achieve what they might have done, that they weren’t invincible after all.

And that’s what makes this record of last year’s events so powerful. Meadows may have avoided asking his heroes the difficult questions, but that’s never what this was about. As the film builds to its climax at Heaton Park, he uses as a backdrop the Roses anthem, ‘This Is The One’. For the band and their fans (Meadows included), it couldn’t be more apt.

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Sound It Out

“Men like music. Men like collecting. Men like travelling the country collecting music.”

Having grown up in the area, Jeanie Finlay decided to make a documentary film about the last surviving record store in the North-East town of Stockton-On-Tees. The end result is a heart warming work which we suggest you do all you can to see as soon as you possibly can.

It’s essentially a detailed account of why people collect music, and why the shop in question holds a very special place in people’s hearts.

Even though the high street is the widest in Europe, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say the sparse streets of Stockton don’t offer much more than a less-than-healthy Saturday market and a pretty decent concrete jungle for a wide range of activities on wheels. Based on this premise, Finlay beautifully shows how a love of music, and everything that surrounds it, can come to define someone.

Although the film is littered with music memorabilia, cultural references and has an excellent, eclectic soundtrack, the film is less about the music and more about the listeners. Through several endearing characters (all male except a jukebox ownin’, meatloaf lovin’ lady) we get a sometimes brief, sometimes extensive insight into what gets people hooked.

It goes without saying that music can offer people something extraordinary. Whether it’s a break from the mundane, a source of hope or a sweet memory deep inside that refuses to wilt. But it is the myriad ways it can affect people that is documented so expertly here. At some point in all of our lives, a tune, an artist, an album or a tour has moved us in a certain way and this film wonderfully shows how important these experiences and connections can be.

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