Alestorm – Alestorm

I’m not sure I’ve ever posted any Metal up on here, so let’s remedy that right now with the new single from Pirate Metal band Alestorm. They’ve been on my radar for a while (being called Kaptin, I have an extensive collection of Pirate Music) and I was keen to book them for the Jolly Dodger stage at Boomtown, but sadly that was never to be, however what I wasn’t aware of was the wealth of other Folk Metal bands out there.

I was out in Dublin last weekend (at the Irish Dance Championships no less) and my cousin was schooling me on many different bands from across the world fusing their own local Folk music with Heavy Metal. I’m afraid most of the names were pretty tricky to remember but if you dig this track then maybe it’s a world worth exploring.

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This photo was taken a year ago next week, during the final set of Big Love at Baskerville Hall. It was Matt The Hat and I behind the decks and it went from being less than 10 people in the room to a full house, easily one of our favourite sets of the season. It certainly helps that this particular extended mansion party is run by our mates Stu and Badger and we know a fair amount of the crowd that attends, but to be honest it’s such a lovely atmosphere there I think anyone who played the final set would have had a similar reaction and left feeling just as pleased with themselves.

As time goes on I definitely find myself gravitating towards the smaller, more intimate gatherings (at around 1000 people ‘festival’ doesn’t quite seem like the right description), and if you’re the same then I can’t recommend Big Love enough. It’s bang right at the start of the season (next weekend – the first May Bank Holiday) and so nearly everybody is itching for a huge party, the crowd are super friendly (mostly Cardiff and Bristol), it’s in a big mansion house that has seen such parties as Fantazia, Big Chill and Green Gathering, not to mention Recydrate The West, the forerunner to Boomtown. On top of that, the music (largely programmed by another good friend of mine, Matt Aitken) is top notch for the size. Here’s my choice picks from the line up…


By far my most favourite rapper growing up, yet it took me til this year to see him live (though I played the BDP Live album to death)! He’s still got masses of energy and so many hits dating back 30 years that his show is no filler. An absolute Hip-hop legend.

Horse Meat Disco

I reckon these guys are the perfect vibe for Big Love and I can imagine much glitter and sparkles coming out for their set. An uplifting blend of Disco and beyond that generally mixes up the big tunes with some real hidden gems. They also do many of their own edits so it’s guaranteed to be different to anyone else. In fact treat yourself to their 3 hour Boiler Room mix above to give you a taste.

2 Bad Mice

Starting way back in 1992, these guys were a massive influence on Drum N Bass and Breakbeat in general, and they’re still going strong. They’re playing as part of a Fantazia takeover that also includes Slipmatt (one of the all-time greatest DJs – playing a 3 hour set) and whole host of other names from my youth. Once arguably the biggest and best rave promoters of all time, Fantazia actually hosted their own nights at Baskerville back in 1991. There will be so much history in that take over that everybody should go and get a lesson in where much of the music that we all love today started.


Although I haven’t give their music nearly enough of the time it deserves, I do remember seeing them at Glastonbury one year and they were bloody brilliant. Psychedelic goodness for the soul.

Johnny Cage & the Voodoogroove

Probably the quintessential Cardiff rock n roll band. I’ve seen them so many times but I still love every minute of their shows. As most of the crowd at Big Love seem to be from Cardiff, it’s always going to be a great atmosphere at their set too.

Junior Bill

Another great band to come out of Cardiff. We’ve had them at Boomtown a number of times and although I feel they’re yet to realise their full potential they’ve got a solid show and some great songs.

Check the video below for more of a taste, and there’s still some tickets left which you can buy here.

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Although I definitely want to spend some time discussing some of the younger MCs on Poco Loco, I think because Vamos and the kind of House and Techno you’ll find inside are relatively new to the festival, it’s worth just giving a run-down of some favourites there, starting with an epic gathering of well-respected selectors who shall be taking on the whole Sunday.

Ben Ufo & Mr Scruff & Joy Orbison

I honestly wish I was able to spend the whole of Sunday in Vamos to listen to what comes out when these guys get together, it could really go anywhere but let’s face it, wherever they venture is bound to be brilliant: Mr Scruff is well used to a lengthy session and I’ve spent the whole night on the floor to his sets on numerous occasions; Ben UFO has never played a similar set twice at any time I’ve seen him and is one of the few DJs to reach international fame without being a producer also, based largely on the quality of his DJing; Finally there’s Joy Orbsion, whom even as a teenager, before he could mix properly, his uncle (the legendary) Ray Keith recognised his skills as a selector.

I wouldn’t wish to detract you from all of the wonderful things to come on the Sunday of Boomtown, but if you really want to revitalise your soul ready for heading home, I’d say making a day at Vamos would be a good call.

Dave Clarke

One of the first DJs I thought of when we first decided to invest a little more into our Techno line up and easily one of my favourites, so I was incredible happy that James has booked him in for this year. Again maybe it’s partly the experience factor, having been in the game for over quarter of a century, but I think there’s an underlying passion for the music that has burned strongly since the beginning that many of the new generation simply can’t seem to match. If you’re unsure, just take a listen to this set from a Dublin club last year, absolutely delicious devilry at work.

Carl Craig

It took me a while to notice that at Techno heavy festivals such as Bloc, I always seemed to gravitate towards the Detroit DJs. It certainly wasn’t a conscious thing but there’s a warmth to their work that is often missing in artists from elsewhere and there’s a musical palette they seem to draw from that sits easier with my background. It could also have to do with the fact that my first experience with the music was ‘Techno! The New Dance Sound Of Detroit’ – a compilation that I borrowed from my local library in the late 80s. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that Carl Craig is as Detroit as they come and is also one of the greatest Techno Djs that ever lived, such a coup for this line up.

Carl Craig is also due to release an album of his classics in symphonic version next month that will undoubtedly be worth a visit. You can check a full concert of the material here, it’s pretty magical.

Boys Noize

Somebody we’ve been wanting to bring over for some time! An artist who certainly won’t get tied down to one style, but somehow manages to have a cohesive back catalogue that remains pretty much consistent in its ability to excite. Although treated as a Techno artist generally, I’d say that Chemical Brothers would be the closest act to him, if you had to make comparisons, plus Boys Noize only gets better with time, last year’s Mayday was an absoluter monster of an album and hearing any of the tracks from that played at Boomtown would certainly be a delight.

House Gospel Choir

This makes so much sense when you really think about it. So much soulful House is influenced by Gospel, that it was only a matter of time before the influence would switch the other way. Imagine the power of a full Gospel Choir singing all of those classics! I’d say even if you don’t think you like House, this is something you should witness before fully making that decision.


It’s been a pleasure to watch this pair grow from the very beginning, into one of the best House acts around right now. So much House music these days misses the very groove that laid its foundation, but although these guys are covering a multitude of different styles, they’ve never forgotten that important factor, plus I love their sets so much that I once spent part of my Glastonbury festival, simply dragging anyone walking past in to see them, like a heavy-handed bar promoter in Ibiza.


I was always a fan of Mrk1 in the early Dubstep days and perhaps it’s that musical grounding that really catches my ear in his Solardo productions. That said, in a culture where music is not always the first priority, it could just be the added value of experience, as many of today’s new DJs and producers struggle to excite on the dancefloor (surely the number one requirement of Dance music is that it makes people want to dance, but you’d never know it much of the time), but these guys don’t seem to have any trouble in that department whatsoever.


Another artist whose skills as a DJ match his production prowess, I’ve seen him play a straight up party set to a tiny room in Cardiff or a dark techno set in an Ibiza super-club, always with seemingly effortless ability to control the room.

More recently he seems to have taken something of a step back from production, to concentrate on his Nonplus Records label, very much worth keeping an eye on if you’re a fan of interesting Techno. Here’s a track from their most recent release.

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Morgan Heritage ft Kabaka Pyramid & Dre Island – We Are

Absolute monster track from Morgan Heritage with 2 of Jamaica’s leading artists from the recent Reggae revival. Both glaring omissions from my latest mix, but that was because both had been a little quiet recently. Good to see such a strong return together and an exciting first taste of the new Morgan Heritage album ‘Avrakedabra’.

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Gemmy – Bamboozled

I recently played just after Buggsy here in Bristol and had just enough time to ask his DJ – Gemmy, if there was any of his own material forthcoming. As there’s been nothing since 2013, I was pleased to hear he had some new releases in the pipeline and here’s the first taste.

Due out on his own World Of Wonders label, this is the title track from the Bamboozled EP, not a million miles away from the ‘purple’ dubstep sound that he pioneered alongside fellow Bristolian – Joker.

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Murlo – Tired Of You

There’s a new Murlo EP due on Mixpak in May and this is the first single. I’m always a sucker for great animation and the track, which is largely Grime and Techno influenced, carries some great energy also.

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Lady Wray – Underneath My Feet

Lovely bluesy Soul vibes from Lady Wray, who I’ve only just found out is late 90s RNB singer Nicole Wray, briefly signed to Missy Elliot’s Goldmind label. I used to love her single ‘Make It Hot’, but have to admit this is a lot stronger.

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