Tag Archives: music

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Mind blown by the Renegade Master!

After years of waiting, months of planning and weeks of listening to his songs as I drive to work each morning, I finally had the opportunity to see the man himself – FatBoy Slim DJ live at a top London club on the very first night of his brand new tour. Just typing the words gives me goosebumps all over again because not only was it an incredible gig, but it was one that I had been waiting a lifetime to go to. As a huge dance music lover, I have had my top ten list of DJs that I simply have to see play live in my lifetime (I’m sure we all have that same list for whatever music you might prefer), and FatBoy Slim was top of my list.

For anyone who grew up in the nineties and loved music, fair enough I may have only been about five when some of his tracks came out, we still grew up listening to his tunes on the radio, hearing them played at school discos, on Top of the Pops, mum and dad singing along… The list goes on. Whether we were aware of it or not, unless you lived under a bridge, FatBoy Slim, like the Chemical Brothers and Oasis were a huge part of nineties culture and therefore our lives. I always think that the music of the time plays a part in shaping the future lives of individuals and I think listening to this type of music as a youngster (yes I loved the Spice Girls as well!) is part of the reason I love live DJs so much now – this makes me worry for the generation growing up listening to the rubbish churned out by the likes of One Direction and Miley Cyrus.

Anyway, back to the gig. I headed to XOYO for the first time with a bunch of boy mates from home and my boyfriend – all of us ridiculously excited for the night ahead. My boyfriend and I already had tickets for the Basement Jaxx gig at Brixton O2 Academy the following night so had decided to make a weekend of it. We were staying in the Restup Hostel (a five minute walk from the Elephant and Castle tube station) the first night, which was perfect – close to the club and cheap – helpful since we would barely be in the room! Heading into the club, we made for the bar for a quick whisky to warm us up and then went on into the main room. The venue was great – dark, smoky and underground – just the way I like them. It was the perfect basement, gritty setting for the gig and the room was already busy as the house DJs warmed up the crowd. We headed through the crowd and found a good spot where we soon cut loose and started dancing as we waited for the man himself.

He exploded into his set with Renegade Master and everyone went wild – it was amazing to know that everyone there was as excited as we were to experience not only a gig, but the opening night of the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour. Everyone was dancing like their life depended on it, not just with their friends but with everyone around them. A few songs in, he dropped Free Mandela which was an incredibly powerful moment as we had heard on our way into the club of the great man’s death. The whole crowd punched the air and sang along – it was incredible and just shows you the power of music to unite people and express extreme emotion – something that I’m sure many would judge as lacking in a DJ set. I could sit here and list every amazing song that he played but there would be no point. It is important to say that he played a great set spanning his whole career from the earliest songs right through to his latest release of Eat Sleep Rave Repeat – and that one certainly got the crowd bouncing. FatBoy Slim also made sure to play loads of other amazing tunes that have basically been the soundtrack to my summer, with hints of Disclosure and others.

I was so utterly impressed by his set, which proved that as a DJ he truly is as relevant as ever, despite those who commented to me when I bought the tickets that isn’t he really old now? Well after seeing both FatBoy Slim and Sven Vath DJ, I can safely say that age is just a number and great music is not only a talent but one that lasts. The fact that I have now seen him live once has simply proved to me that I must see him again – perhaps next time in a festival setting to see how his set compares. I would fully advise any dance music lovers out there to take any opportunity they might get to see the godfather of dance rip up the DJ set, purely so they can see where it all began. This is definitely one of my top three gigs of the year and I had the most amazing time. I was so glad I could share it with so many of my friends and it will stay in my memory forever. If you look in the picture above, I am the fifth person along from FatBoy’s knee! Woop!

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‘When you and I were forever wild’ – The beauty of The Great Gatsby

On Friday I decided to treat myself to a copy of The Great Gatsby on DVD to watch that night. Having seen it at the cinema, I was wholly impressed by the quality of the film, cast, production and soundtrack – all incredible and I would expect nothing less from Baz Luhrmann. Although we saw it in 3D at the cinema, we watched it on our huge TV at home and it still had the same incredible effect. The songs gave me goosebumps and the words, cleverly constructed into the storyline by F Scott Fitzgerald all those years ago, gave me shivers.

After studying the book at school and university, I cannot help but look at the film and book in terms of the class differences and the commentary on society. The line that still gets me every time is said by Daisy, played by Carey Mulligan, when she says:

“I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

The implication of this line in relation to the treatment of women and the objectification of women, by women themselves, is horrifying and the characters resigned to it, preferring to live out the fantasy than face or fight the truth.

This is the first adaptation of a novel to the screen where I believe that justice has been done to a great novel. With others over the years there were always bits missing or parts were not presented in the way I felt they should have been – for example, The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, was a particular disappointment. However, Gatsby was a magnificent representation of the roaring twenties that are pictured from reading the book, the flamboyance of the characters, the parties, the clothes and the music is perfectly executed on screen. The soundtrack brings the film bang up to date, while enhancing each scene – whoever put together the soundtrack and matched it to the scenes did an amazing job.

The actors chosen for each role were perfect, Carey Mulligan was exactly as I had imagined Daisy to be, Leonardo DiCaprio perfectly embodied the character of Gatsby and I loved Tobey Maguire’s dry and detached commentary of what was happening around him. My favourite scenes of the film had to be the party scenes, the day where Gatsby and Daisy are reunited and finally the scene in the hotel room that sparks the final demise of each character. Finally, my favourite part of the whole film has to be Lana Del Ray’s version of Young and Beautiful, a song that pierces my heart each time I hear it and brings a tear to my eye. Not usually a huge fan of Del Ray, I often find her music a bit heavy going and samey, but this track is stunning and flawless. Her voice is truly beautiful and the song perfectly matches the mood of the film, it shows the shades of darkness of the characters mixed with the light and hope shared by them for the future.

I love the line of the song, towards the end, that goes:

“He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds.”

It just captures the feelings shared between Daisy and Gatsby so beautifully, a feeling I know well, that one look from the one you love can set you alight and bring you to life. Stunning all around. I love this film and I love the fact that this film has made by boyfriend, who has never really like Luhrmann’s films, think again.

Only problem is that I need to win the lottery in order to fulfil my wish of hiring a mansion or stately home to hold a fabulous twenties-themed Gatsby party with everyone I know. I want to have everyone dressed up in gorgeous flapper dresses, feathers and beads. Everyone would be swing dancing all over the place with my friends from Swing Patrol and the music would be big band and lively. Plenty of cocktails and sparkle everywhere. It really would be the party to end all parties, but how on earth I would put this on – why knows without the funds!

Who else has seen The Great Gatsby that has read the novel? What did you think of it?

 

But we like the noise!!

Once again councils have got involved with something that should not really concern them. For one weekend a year, in a few fields in the middle of nowhere, what is really the problem? Should we all tip-toe and whisper like librarians?

This festival was amazing last year and part of the reason why was because it attacked your senses, all of them. The bass was incredible, the sights were astonishing and everything else just blew your mind. Stop putting the kibosh on our fun.

Boomtown Fair licence under review over noise levels

Noise complaints investigated

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Thank god Lily Allen is back to represent young women

She has always been such an inspiring woman, unafraid to speak her mind and commentate on issues such as the objectifying of women, sexuality and gender roles in a way that is accessible to young women and that attracts the right kind of attention. I’ve really missed her contribution to the music scene in recent years, but the release of Hard Out Here and her performance on this year’s John Lewis advert proves she is back with a bang and here to stay.

I hope her parody of ‘musicians’ , and I use the term loosely, such as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke is a sign of more social comment to come on the treatment of women and the way that women themselves are increasing this sexualisation and behaviour in music videos. It’s about time that someone actually made a statement with their music, especially since Lady Gaga seems to have lost her way. So Lily, here’s to you! And plenty more of the good stuff.

Any other Lily Allen fans out there?

 

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Don’t worry ’cause the night is young

I absolutely love this music video. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships, how they are perceived by those within the couple and those outside. It astonishes me how many people out there think they have any right to comment on other couples when they know nothing about their personal circumstances or why they do the things they do. Luckily I myself have not really experienced this, but others I know have been subjected to it and I think that is very sad.

I loved this song before I even saw the video because it has that perfect combination of amazing vocals and powerful bass, but when I saw the video I realised that it is so well thought out. I love the video because it is such an accurate short film about what it is like to be in a relationship for the long-term. It is packed full of highs and lows, with lovely stuff in-between, but it is a damn struggle sometimes and it is refreshing to see someone depict both sides to a relationship in proportion and realistically for my age group. Too many views of couples my age is about them settling down, buying a house and getting married or having children – this is ridiculous! People need to live a little, realise there is time for all that later and to go out and be 23.

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‘I’m a child of sun and the stars I love’

On a bit of a music hype this week and this song is absolutely beautiful. It’s haunting but hopeful lyrics give me goosebumps and I can just imagine how incredible it would sound live in an open-air venue or at a festival. Powerful. It really suits my melancholy mood this week. I don’t know why I’m feeling like this, not down as such, but have been thinking a lot this week and making some decisions about the future..

I love the lyrics so much, here they are.. enjoy xx

Come down love
Berlin in the cold
All that fighting, all that snow

Sober nights
and byron on my mind
Tell me I’m not going home
and I’ll stop waiting by the phone

Bedroom floor
and silence in my blood
Sorry love I’m running home
I’m a child of sun and the stars I love

‘Music gives colour to the air of the moment.’ – Karl Lagerfeld

If Karl Lagerfeld’s words are correct, then the air above London’s Brixton Academy must have been ablaze with the red, yellow and green of the Jamaican influenced dancehall project, Major Lazer, on Saturday night.

O2 Academy Brixton – the calm before the storm

Known for their explosive performances and with fans across the world, the electronic DJ team created by Diplo has been on my must-see list for some time now. I love their eclectic and unique mix of dancehall, reggae, ska and heavy bass influences which were my favourite combination of sounds throughout the summer, epitomising my experiences of the music at Boomtown Fair in August. Their love of experimentation with sound is something that stands out to me against the blurred and quite frankly, now boring, background of pop music where the likes of Little Mix and Miley Cyrus either churn out the same rubbish or try to shock audiences with nudity or lewdness.

Major Lazer treat music as a growing and fluctuating thing, their performance clearly showed them working with the crowd and reacting to them – you could tell the show was completely unique and that every member of the crew was loving every second.

It was my first time at the venue and although I had been told only a couple of weeks before at a Sub Focus gig that it wasn’t a very good venue, I was more than impressed. The auditorium was huge and domed, which perfectly reverberated the sound of a fantastic bass system – I was impressed because so often the sound is not completely right at gigs and the bass is slightly too heavy and ruins the tone of the music. The roof of the building was incredible, the dome and the darkness of the ceiling made it looks as though you were in an open-air venue, but thankfully not because it was rather wet outside.

The show started with a warm-up by Martello and then Redlight, Sadly we missed the first act because of a mix-up with the tickets, but we made it just in time to watch the whole of Redlight’s set – I have now seen him DJ three times this summer. This was significantly softer than his usual sets, but we figured this was because the crowd was a more laid back one of some younger teens as well as the heavy bass nuts so he may have been keeping it slightly lighter. Not as good as his set at Boomtown Fair, but still a great set and certainly got the crowd up and dancing as they waited for Major Lazer.

The gig went pretty much to time and I was pleased because I was dying to see Major Lazer hit the stage, and hit the stage they did. It was like an explosion of pure reggae, bass, colour and personality had taken place right in front of our eyes with streamers, lights and boundless energy. I was instantly swept up in the crowd as they bounced to each drop of the bass and swayed to the reggae sections.

It was an incredible set, with plenty of the older songs from the group’s first album, Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do, that had the crowd singing along and dancing like crazy. But it was the songs from the newer album, Free The Universe, that really brought the audience to fever pitch. You’re No Good, Jah No Partial and Bumaye really had the crowd dancing, especially the latter during which Jillionaire got the audience to hit the floor and jump up when the bass dropped before running to the right and the left. It was such an active performance, not just for Major Lazer, but for the audience, which was great. It was incredible to feel like a part of the performance.

Going off!

Not long into the show, the group even launched a guy in a giant inflatable hamster ball out onto the audience and with crowd surfers heading all over the place, it was fantastic. Of course, they dropped the legend that is Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot to a rapturous response – I would have died if he had actually walked onstage and I had seen him for the second time! Later on, the group asked a bunch of girls to head on stage to shake it for Bubblebutt (I was told by people around me that I should have joined them but I was just having too much fun where I was!).

My favourite part of the gig had to be when they played my favourite song – Get Free – not just once, but three times and they even played two different versions! I absolutely love this song, I have so many incredible memories of hearing it on nights out and at festivals, and I think the reason I love it so much (like Tidalwave by Sub Focus) is that it features an incredibly powerful vocal followed by some strong bass. This seems to be the perfect combination for the perfect song. I loved that the group played not only the original, but teased us with it throughout the performance, then finished with the Andy C remix which is actually my preferred version with more bass.

The gig was just incredible and I have to say it was the best I have ever been to. I have never been to a gig where there was literally no trouble at all, and where people were all so friendly. In a packed venue, there was barely any pushing or rudeness, people queued for the bar and toilets patiently and didn’t go crazy if you accidentally stood on their toe. I was even more impressed to notice that the majority of the crowd seemed relatively sober, apart from the odd person who had wide eyes or had hit the booze a little too hard, but even they failed to cause any trouble. I did see a few people blazing up during the performance but  fair play, it was a Major Lazer gig after all!

To any reggae, ska, dancehall or bass lovers out there, or to anyone who is looking for music that is a little bit different and haven’t heard of Major Lazer before – I would highly recommend checking out their music. Trust me, no matter how good it sounds on your iPod, it sounds a million times better live. If you ever get the chance, don’t miss out on seeing these guys. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Bubblebutt

 

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Review: Sub Focus – why I will never understand the point of a mosh pit…

Sub Focus at UEA, picture by Jade Mynott

After a lot of excitement and plenty of waiting impatiently for October 26 to come around, I finally headed to the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, to see Sub Focus perform live for the second time. Now I absolutely LOVE Sub Focus, his music is exactly the type of drum and bass, dubstep and house combination that drives me wild when I hit the dance floor and often separates me from my friends who are not quite so excited by dance music.

Luckily going to Hideout Festival earlier this summer helped introduce me to some new raving buddies, while reinforcing for me how cool my current ones were – when going to gigs like these and planning to rave all night it is VERY important to choose pals that can keep up and will be with you until the very end of the night.

From left, clockwise, DJ Mark Malle, myself, Jade Mynott, Lizzie Russell and Vikki Kinnear

From left, Piers Walton, my boyfriend and his housemate Mark Wolverson, and myself – the three best Lil’s

I was partying with my number one raving buddy and boyfriend, Mark Wolverson, his housemate, Piers Walton, DJ Mark Malle and Vikki Kinnear – The original Hideout Festival crew, and two new additions in Jade Mynott and Lizzie Russell. All of us are big music-lovers and most of us prefer dance music and often attend nights like these whether at Fabric in London, Warehouse Project in Manchester, or anywhere else we can find – in fact some of us are currently making plans to go to Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium next summer.

I have to be honest and say that although a huge Sub Focus fan, I was not as impressed with the release of Torus, preferring the massive banger tunes like Tidal Wave, Out the Blue and Could This Be Real which feature strong vocals to an incredible beat – all three are powerful songs in their own way and the reaction from the crowd when they were played said it all in terms of popularity.

I think that Torus is a bit of a grower, all of the songs sounded so much better live than they did when playing in my car, but still not up to the high quality I expected – I wonder if perhaps this is a sign that Nick Douwma is changing his sound with the times and is perhaps losing some of the qualities that I preferred about his music. I actually spoke to a couple of people later in the night who had been at the gig and they said a similar thing, that they were really impressed with the gig generally but that the quality of the music was not as they expected.

Despite this slight disappointment at the change in sound for Sub Focus, I have to say that I still have my favourite songs on the new album and amongst these are the obvious Out the Blue and Tidal Wave, but of the newer releases I also quite like Turn Back Time and You Make it Better – they certainly got me, and the rest of the crowd, dancing.

Jade Mynott, myself and Lizzie Russell at the gig

Despite my slight disappointment at some of the songs, I was very excited by the huge crowd that had turned out to see the gig and the incredible show delivered by Sub Focus. You could tell that the last time I saw him it was very early in his career compared to his success now – money had been poured into the performance which even featured a bit of a light show that dazzled and amazed the ravers as the twinkling spirals revolved – see top pic.

It was very impressive and the show led on very well from support act, Fred V & Grafix, who I managed to catch the last 20 minutes of – they were great and another pair of awesome DJs to add to my list of people I’ve seen. I love their remixes and often realise after that a great version of a song was actually mixed by them.

Overall it was a great gig in a fantastic venue with a really good crowd – everyone was really friendly and genuinely just looking to have a good time. I didn’t see any real trouble and everyone left with a big smile on their face. But, as usual, there were the small group of people who felt the need to try and start a mosh pit in the centre of the dance floor and star shoving people about. I don’t mind people having fun, but I will never understand where the fun is in a mosh pit – especially after seeing a girl get her face split open at V Festival and continuing to smash about while she bled copiously.

It is a very immature and sad way to spend a gig – especially for those who then boast about it later on via Twitter and Facebook about how they elbowed someone in the face, used it as an excuse to punch someone for fun or lost their shoes. What is the point? Fair enough at a gig you are bound to get pushed about in a busy crowd, but why does this mean you have to shove back and cause trouble? I actually broke up a potential fight in the crowd that night and am glad I managed to or me and my friends could have been caught in the crossfire. Luckily most people around us could hold their own in terms of being pushed about and we all worked together to keep enough space to breathe and have a dance.

Despite this is was an amazing gig and I can’t wait for the next one – Major Lazer in two weeks time! After the gig we headed to my favourite Norwich club, Hideout, where the great music continued thanks to  Joshua Roberts, Dunny of Toolroom Records and Pete Graham for Sadiqi: Our 1st Birthday – a top event and we couldn’t stop dancing until the club closed and we were forced to leave. An amazing night with amazing friends at great venues.

Me and Mark in Hideout

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Thinking about next season’s festivals is giving me chills

I had such an amazing summer this year and before the dust has really settled from all those festivals, I am already going full speed ahead with plans for next season. The main festival my friends, boyfriend and I are hoping to get tickets for is Tomorrowland in Belgium – an electronic rave of epic proportions! The stages alone are immense and I am so excited at the prospect of being part of the crowds of thousands I witnessed on videos of the last few years at the festival. Watching this video gives me chills!

I’m also hoping that my status as Editor of This Festival Feeling will give me the freedom to claim free tickets to some of the following – WeAreFstvl, Secret Garden Party (if we don’t get tickets for Tomorrowland), Bestival, Shambala, Boomtown Fair and any others that come my way. I hope to make it to at least two on this list if nothing else!

Last year I went to Hideout Festival in Croatia which was billed as one of the biggest of the year with some of the most sought-after tickets – I’m curious to know which festival will be the same this year…

What festivals is everyone else looking to go to next year?

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Reliving my HUGE festival summer as the official videos are released

Hideout Festival 2013 on the Island of Pag, Croatia, was the biggest week of my year. I partied around-the-clock for seven days straight with my boyfriend and amazing friends from home and university. I even made some new friends while out there that have since become my raving buddies. It was a huge week and so much fun. I watched the sun rise and set every single day, I danced on stages, sand, in pools and the sea, on buses and boats and anywhere else I could find. I made incredible memories and can be sure I’ll never forget them. It’s amazing to see the final video, but to be honest this is a very tame version of the Hideout I experienced. However, I can’t deny that when I hear that beat and bass kick in, it’s like being back on Zcre Beach! If only I was, instead of in chilly old England!

Boomtown Fair 2013, in Winchester, was officially the craziest weekend of my life. I saw so much while I was there than my brain felt like it was melting and my eyes couldn’t take in any more. The festival was vast, the stages huge and the music was incredible. I loved every second, again went with fantastic old friends and made some new ones there. It was such a peaceful place and yet so intense and mind-boggling. The theatre acts and side-shows were my favourite because they were always what you least expected and transported you into crazy new worlds. I still don’t believe, and can’t explain half the things I saw there. It was like falling down the rabbit hole.