Thursday, 31 October 2013

Feature // Skiddle November Electronic Listings

My listings for all things electronic in the North this month is now live over here for Skiddle! My pickings include the likes of Wet Play, Mount Kimbie & friends, Baths, Jam City, James Holden, Rene LaVice, Zed Bias and my golden ticket which goes to Evian Christ's trance party over at 2022NQ. Purchase yourselves some tickets and I'll see you on the dancefloor!
Words By Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review // Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The lovely people at Domino sent me to watch Arctic Monkeys on their AM tour last week, I'm obviously biased and almost cried three times but in all seriousness, my boys have still got it. My review is now live on Artrocker here or you can cop a sense of the amazing show below!
Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The re-branding of Manchester arena’s usually canary-yellow exterior, transitioning over to project immense logos’ of a certain mobile phone company famous for it’s hand-signalling jingle, was always going to be a strange sight to get used to- yet, this is corporate branding and advertising at it’s peak and what else did you expect? Look around, simple cotton t-shirts hitting the twenty-five pounds mark (And that’s from just tonight’s opening act The Strypes…) and if you’re after a pint during one of the gig’s intervals, you better be prepared to que for half an hour, hand over that crisp fiver and not expect a shrapnel of change back. If only the old Sheffield boys could see themselves now…
Entering the venue though the city’s Victoria Railway station, as thousands upon thousands of individuals pool in and enlist themselves into the nearest snaking que, there isn’t just the usual sleek femme fatales and bowl-cut boys polishing off their mac coats for the occasion, as we spy. Amongst the plethoral swarm lies families with children in attendance that look as if they were actually born post- ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’, along with the expected congregation of leather-clad fashionistas and the odd Dad on hand to chaperone, hopefully leaving their unappreciated dancing at the door. Even before we’ve taken to our seats, there is no denying precisely how much Arctic Monkeys have blossomed and adapted, in a formative seven years since their debut release.
With three-quarters of the quartet gracing the stage suited and booted (It’s ok Matt, we imagine it’s quite the challenge drumming in a double-breasted number…), quad screen set-ups with individual portraits of each member horizontally span, accompanying a swaggering, brooding and bold introduction of ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. Before the astronomical audience, phones in the air bouncing to every beat get straight into ‘AM’ mode, renditions of ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’ really do deliver as electric and strikingly rolling, as they did upon their first listens of yesteryear. ‘Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair’ urges the audience to coo a range of ‘Oooh’s and ‘Yeah’s, whilst Alex Turner cheekily sculpts his greased-up quiff initiating the Macarena, whilst Helder’s lightening beats blister out from behind his 0114 duct-taped kick-drum. See that’s the thing about these ‘Monkeys’, they may have been arena-worthy for what feels like a lifetime now, yet they never have yet forgotten to bring their personality to the forefront, with Turner’s light cockiness sometimes being construed for arrogance, but does it really matter when they write, perform and interact better than ever before?
Latest single ‘One For The Road’ is elevated with a whole new stronghold of elegance and croon-ready slickness, even if that is a noticeable American twang we can hear sneaking on through- and as one spectator in front of us exclaimed “This is better than seeing John Lennon on ice!”, we really couldn’t agree any more. As ear-splitting encore roars present themselves, the bulb-dotted sky-scraper initials that tower over illuminate, to welcome in a shoo-wopping rendition of ‘Snap Out Of It’ and a semi-acoustic interpretation of ‘Cornerstone’, cheekily altered by ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ come its execution. As metallic ticker tape rains all over the mammoth venue, our favourite Yorkshire boys we realise, have really only just hit their peak. Listeners’ of the Arctic’s music cannot simply request their indie classics over and over again and by managing to expand, flourish and experiment whilst never straying too far from their formula that works, it is an exciting sight to behold as they strike record number five off their lists with pride.

Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 28 October 2013

Feature // 55DSL - 'Once Upon A Time In Italy'

55DSL- 'Once Upon A Time In Italy'
One of the most prominent fashion visionaries in the world, Diesel, have recently released the third installment from their ‘Kids In Italia’ flagship series, in association with Vice and Forever Pictures. Directed by rising duo Charlie & Joe, who can also reel-off clients such as Toddla T, SBTRKT and Topshop, ‘Once Upon A Time In Italy’ tells the story of artistic adolescence alive at the heart of Italy but of individuals whom feel lost and almost defeated, when it comes to mapping out their futures. Amidst all their challenges, our Italiano's conjure up the character of Carlo as their projected anti-hero, finding success despite the obstacles that twenty-somethings’ face in a true ‘Eureka!’ moment, inspiring watchers to take control- both metaphorically through their created character and by the excitement amplified from casted roles.
 “55DSL's film series, 'Kids In Italia' has always been about giving brilliant, talented young creatives a global platform to share their vision.”, founder Andrea Rosse told us. “When I talk to young people who live in Italy, they are disillusioned about the lack of opportunities here, especially for creative types -and I felt the same way when I was their age. It is important to me to communicate that it is up to the next generation of creative talents to think outside the box and to establish their own opportunities here, instead of moving abroad” he continued on, passionate in promoting a brand that is urban and free-thinking, for the active DIY youth of today.
For more information and to watch the other previous installments in the series (and to get your hands on 55DSL's new A/W collection, of course), head over to their website here.

Words by Yours Truly / Image c/o 55DSL, Vice and Forever Pictures X

Friday, 25 October 2013

Review // Indy Man Beer Con @ Victoria Baths

On a very rainy sunday, Georgia and I headed down to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention over at the phenomenal Victoria Baths to sample some ales. My piece will be live soon on Quays News but until then, you can read it below! Special thankyou to the lovely Jamie Hargreaves for hooking a Sister up!
Independent Manchester Beer Convention @ Victoria Baths
As a first-time attendee of the Independent Manchester Beer Convention this year, one could be easily reprimanded for their naivety in assuming that these events were awash with stodgy ales, poor pub nibbles and a population of middle-aged males' nursing their beer guts. Yet here in Manchester, the teams behind Common, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle have joined forces to present a four-day extravaganza of unique high-quality beverages, live music and an apex of local street food traders, to help soak up all that liquid indulgence. Held in the striking setting of the grade II listed Victoria Baths, the IMBC team managed to bring an element of alternative class, turning the Edwardian-era converted swimming pool into a bustling maze of interest.
With periodic features flowing rife alongside flags and bunting streaming wall from wall, we were nothing short of being blown away by the kitsch presentation, excellent organisation and brilliant value for money offered. With over ten tastings of your choice available for a mere ten pounds, we joined in with the noticeably unconventional crowd of attendees’ for the Sunday leg of the occasion, after a run of preceding sold-out developments. Being welcomed inside with a ‘grab-a-glass-and-jump-right-in’ attitude, as a multitude of locally and nationally-praised breweries presented their goods, specialists’ were also on hand to offer tasting sessions and an ear of advice for those of us who were uneducated in knowing the difference between the Kvasss’ and Weisses’ on offer. 
With mouth-watering offerings permeating their way through room two, the likes of smoky barbeque brisket, creamy mac’n’cheese and venison parcels for those with taste buds tingling for a more upmarket culinary delight, showcased that this event ran deeper than most in order to support resident companies, within the business. Take for example the stalls from Manchester native award-winners’ such as North Tea Power (roasting the perfect coffee to shake off those hangovers on the event’s final day) and winners of ‘Second Best New Brewery In The World 2012’, Magic Rock Brewing, hosting within the treasure trove of Turkish Baths; the variety available was mind-bogglingly impressive- and the entertainment didn’t terminate there. One of the country’s most burgeoning free publications, The Skinny, curated the weekend’s music portion, over in room three.
With DJ’s such as Andy Carroll and Rob Bright spinning the likes of Nouvelle Vague, alongside other continental delights, in order to get feet shuffling way into the evening, students of the Royal Northern College of Music also staged impromptu performances, injecting a sense of anticipation into the affair.
 What the Independent Manchester Beer Convention managed to exceptionally pull-off, was the forward-thinking approach and demeanour of something much grander than being presented on this scale, whilst also remaining loyal to it’s niche and breaking down the commerce to customer barrier. Sourcing every minute detail down to a tee, whether the full-of-character merchandise from artist Steve Hockett over to the intricate programmes provided free of charge, IMBC effectively bestowed elements of this ever-growing industry in a fresh and approachable light, overflowing with charm.

Words and Images by Yours Truly X

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review // Rudimental presents... @ WHP

I attended the Modeselektor / Rudimental double weekender at Warehouse recently and reviewed the latter for Artrocker! My flatmate also met Andy C and nearly cried with joy but that is for a whooole other time; it was fun, sweaty and warpy- you can read my words over here or scroll below!
Rudimental presents... @ WHP
2013 sees the now world-celebrated line-ups of Manchester’s Warehouse Project, still only in infancy at it’s Victoria Warehouse Old Trafford home, hit an all-time high- but it’s not as if we expected anything less than superiority. With note-worthy bills uniting music legends and fresh faces off the block, we here in the Artrocker camp headed off to our first official outing of the season where love-ins, Craig David and see-it-to-believe-it talent supervened…
Wriggling into the massive five-thousand strong capacity venue , security has always been a high priority on the agenda here and in light of recent headlines (That shouldn't be the be-all-and-end-all to tar seasons with, may I add.), I personally, can say I've never felt so safe nor welcomed in the past. With security staff tripled (and armed with hilarious conversation), sniffer dogs multiplied and free water for revellers, there is a cooperative sense of wholeness between everyone involved and whether it is your first or fiftieth visit, excitement and anticipation still runs rife. These nights are where stuff of legend materializes without warning or pre-conception.
Cryptic London duo Snakehips were first on our schedule in the ambitiously colossal main room with their balmy electronica, fusing remixes for next-up Bondax and late-nineties’ r&b classics (Kp & Envyi, anyone?), enrapturing 80’s Vice City-esque visuals of blunts and bling sculpted across a multitude of screens throughout, for a fully-immersive audio-visual experience. Yet Snakehips’s early releases are where their production flairs really shine through. ‘On & On’ accumulates with waves of plush, glossiness thanks to George Maple’s vocal callings, whilst chopped beats sound drenched as if they stem from a warmer climate than the duo’s native Camden. Then there is the hyperactive ‘Make It’ with super-speed impressions sampled from Mary J Blige’s ‘Just Fine’, wrestling with punchy bass-heavy beats to create rousing proficiency. They aren't exactly trying to innovate an already saturated genre of tinged “future bass”, yet adding their individual catchy imprint is undoubtedly party music to take notice of.
Adorning the stage with their ever-amplifying presence next up was the Lancaster coupling of Bondax. This particular ‘Rudimental Presents…’ evening revealed itself as one of the first across the calendar to sell out and the age old debate (Not to mention uncomfortability) of whether the in-house organisers’ had actually over-sold the event cropped up across many attendees’ we spoke to- and was an attribute of which was highly noticeable. As the one-way system became increasingly swelled a little after eleven and entry into the main room became something of an unbearable task, we managed to maneuver ourselves in just in time for these now-seasoned producers to blow us away.
 Playing out re-fits of close collaborators Aluna George’s ‘You Know You Like It’ construed out into an indescribable influx of marathon dimensions, an almost unrecognizable yet brilliant melancholic presentation of Brandy & Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’ also spiralled off, as the fact that these boys perform way older than their years has been widely reported- and rightly so. Scoping our way through to catch DJ EZ’s set albeit at an early rate, we unexpectedly stumbled into Buraka Som Sistema’s DJ set, booming out of a vibrating room two. The usually African-influenced Portuguese group span an admirable wave of UK Garage including Artful Doger’s ‘Re-Rewind’, causing an upsurge of rapture unlike any other- yet- of the night.
Spot-on midnight garage aficionado DJ EZ took to the decks to completely smash the titanic crowd ensuing. Fusing the benchmark of Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ with current cheeky French Montana releases, as well as a whole load of cleverly spun indie anthems that exceeded at least 110bmp, EZ not only held his own among the evidently unfamiliar crowd, yet managed to completely blow the roof off and astound visitors to the site.
Here is the thing about us writers- opinion does form some critical reception, to suggest otherwise would be blatant fiction, no matter how much we try and deny it, it’s in our human nature. Yet one thing is for certain; I’m no drum and bass fan but there is no one as unrivalled, prestigious and technically talented in the genre than Andy C. The Ram Records head honcho bought GQ along to assist in keeping the on looking “warriors” parading the front row into a militant throng of pounding limbs and stamina. Caning drum-&-bass-meets-jungle Friction remixes of Jonny L’s ‘Back To Your Roots’, A quint of Chase and Status smash-hits and a whole host of Shy Fx and Wilkinson; this was literally a paradise of go-hard proportions. Enlisting renowned multiple deck strategies, lengthy sets and an appreciation for not only the tracks projecting out but also his fans, all collectively assist in confirming the attributes of which ensure that Andy C remains at the pinnacle of dexterity.

Words by Yours Truly / Images by WHP (via here) X

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Feature // Skiddle October Electronic Listings

Hi! I'm now very pleased to say I'll be writing monthly columns for Skiddle on what (I believe) are the best electronic events going on here in the North-West, in the hope of tempting you all to buy tickets and come party. You can read my first installment for the month of October here featuring picks including Murlo, DJ Q, Floating Points and my golden ticket here in Manchester, from Clouds. Enjoy!
Words by Yours Truly X