I nearly began this post saying I have a love / hate relationship with London, but that wouldn’t be true. I have a love / love relationship with London. Yes sometimes it can be hectic, expensive, pretentious and even cut throat but the benefits far out weigh the bad in my opinion. Prime example is the weekend just gone, which saw me extending a Big Swing Sound System trip to London Remix festival into a whole triple day header of activities. I’m gonna tell you about it for 3 reasons: one – because I want to recommend some things to you; two – to help me piece it all together; and three – because I hear a lot of people running London down unfairly.
Friday was a friend of mine’s birthday and so a bunch of us headed to see a show by Gideon Reeling, a’Purveyor of Bespoke Interactive Theatre Experiences’ in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall. It was under the guise of a Christmas Party (or Startyy as it was labeled) organised by the WC (Women’s Committee). Myself and Matt The Hat were put into the ‘Little Baby Jesus’ group for ‘Wake & Shake’ first but unfortunately I was never to properly find out what that meant as after some initial twisted carols, such as ‘Little Wonky’ (see above) I had to pop round the corner to Rich Mix and check out a Columbian / Belgian band called Chiva Gantiva who had been sold to me as a cross between Manu Chao and Gogol Bordello… sadly a bit of an oversell on the description but a fantastic and fun Afro Latin band nonetheless who managed to get the squarest and stiffest crowd this side of Westminster moving just lovely.
Then back to Shoreditch Town Hall for an impromptu DJ session with Matt.
Saturday was London Remixed Festival organised by my good friends Chris Tofu and Sophie from Continental Drifts. We were playing our Big Swing Sound System set at the Vintage Remix area (Strongrooms) but I also managed to drop a solo Reggae remix set on their Silent Disco outside. Heard a number of people say that the whole Vintage Remix night was the most fun they’d had in London for ages and we certainly enjoyed our set, made even more lively by Hypeman Sage who joined us for the 2nd time to truly live up to his name.
Although I didn’t manage to catch anywhere near the amount of bands I wanted to afterwards, I did however, catch Gentle Mystics whose new video I’m loving at the moment. Always put on a good show too.
That was about it though I did also catch a bit of Renegade Brass Band from Sheffield, kind of like a UK Youngblood Brass Band and certainly worth checking out. Check out this track they recorded with UK Hip-hop stalwart Rodney P and new Tru Thoughts soulstress Harleighblu.
Sunday I managed a whole tour of London. South (Camberwell) for Breakfast, East (Walthamstow) for Roast Dinner (and pick up my lost garments from the night before), West for the incredible Punchdrunk show ‘The Drowned Man’ – which I won’t give any spoilers for but if you’ve not seen it yet… go while you still can; then finally North (Camden) to check out Reggae veteran Cornell Campbell performing with Soothsayers in the Jazz Cafe. Lovely show which aside from tracks off their new collaboration album, included a few classics such as Mash You Down, 100 LBS Of Collie and The Gorgon which he dedicated to the track’s producer Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, the original ‘Gorgon’ himself who happened to be enjoying the show from the Jazz Cafe balcony (it was Lee who first introduced the two).
Although Cardiff will always be my home and Bristol currently has my heart (and house), there are few other cities in this world I rate higher than London. It’s a shame that many people who live there don’t feel the same way.