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Review: Theo Parrish, The Ritz, 15/07/14

Theo Parrish at the Ritz, Manchester on 15/07/2014

My summing up of Theo Parrish’s show 2 Tuesdays ago will seem ancient in a world of real-time news and opinion. However in the world of people bumping into each other on the weekend and in the street to chat, I still think I’ve some valuable points to add to what’s become an interesting mini-debate for Manchester music heads.

Theo Parrish’s latest project, a 3-date tour of his first live show in 10 years, was hosted in association with Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA). RBMA is a quality seal of approval for some, especially considering the names  (Moodymann, Larry Levan block party, Masters At Work, Erykah Badu) it’s been associated with in the past.

RBMA made a good choice with their latest addition to their list of  modern music gods. Highly revered, experimental artist within the genre? Tick.  A dedicated audience? Big, fat tick. So the show was absolutely flawless, atmospheric and soul stirring? I’m not sure. Oh…

I was shocked to hear the audience still in pre-show mode in the middle of his first song. I’m not sure whether the crowd wasn’t listening because they were being rude or because his stage presence wasn’t as captive as say, when you see him really giving it in his sets.

The producer and artist covered some soulful classics and brought a soulful and melodic edge to some of deep house and techno based cuts. Despite knowing Parrish was with a full band, including singer/songwriter/keys player Amp Fiddler and a beast of a drummer in Myele Manzana, I found it strange to hear the richer sounds coming from the stage. I’m so used to a stripped-back sound from him but, I knew what we were in for, it’s was a case of taking time to accept the fact.

‘Walking Thru The Sky’ and Soul Control’, two of my absolute favourites of his, just didn’t get me going. I’m annoyed looking back at these moments, as  I should have moved towards the front. I did do later, to find the sound was much better. Finally, I could get a sense of  a connection and respect the band members had for one another.

I’m not entirely sure that respect translated to the audience properly and at times it did feel more like an experimental jam session instead of a professional live performance. I would have preferred to hear more backing singers sharing the vocal responsibilities and seen less of the dancers; who by the last 4 songs were visibly tired. This was a bit of a shame as the band really did get going by then, receiving a rapturous reception for his recent release ‘Footwork.’ I feel like the dancers had their big moment with that song and I just don’t feel they were able to give it their all.

People I’ve spoke to since, all had something to say about the show. Some were unhappy, some indifferent and some loved it. Regardless if they were bored, disappointed or overjoyed, I have to say that the majority reaction was of happiness and pride; particularly as a well-loved member of the deep house community just gave his all for a performance that many critics couldn’t even imagine to have a go at.

Overall, there were sections and areas to be worked at and revised but I think that’s something all performers go through. I believe that with a little polish of the raw talent Parrish possesses will go a long way for his future shows.

 

 

Manchester Afro-Caribbean Carnival, 19th/20th July 2014: Sound system picks

The parade, main stage performances and food are the main attractions of this free annual, family event, which is taking place at its temporary home of Plattfields Park this weekend.

What swings it for me, however, are the sound systems, pumping out good vibes and happiness to the sunshine crowd. Here is a quick run down of some of the things you can expect if you fancy a dance at Carnival 2014:

Inna Deep/Community – Saturday and Sunday

This is the house music sound system, hosted by Inna Deep promoter Wayne Mantrax and Community main man Irfan Rainy.

Basically, it’s the biggest and loudest one there. Some may already know the music policy and understand their party-hosting skills after attending their events around the city, but just in case you don’t: it’s amazing.

 

Red Bull Music Academy Sound System - Saturday only

RB_manchester_carnival_final

Now this is a bit fancy, in a ‘Ooo, carnival is becoming more recognised’ kind of way. It will be the first time that, I’m aware of, carnival will host a bass-heavy stage with nationally recognised head liners.

DJ Hype is an established favourite on the d’n’b scene, Gone Out favourites Murkage will turn up the levels to a point where if it went any further, it would be socially unacceptable, and Mancunian legend Chimpo will bring even more madness. And that’s just covering 3 acts from 10. I tenner bet you that the word VIBEZ will be the buzzword of the day.

Sound System Culture

This Huddersfield sound system may or may not be here this year – I’ve not seen any confirmation of it. Even if it’s not here, with it’s amazing wooden speakers, no doubt you’ll see a different one.  What’s carnival without a reggae, dancehall and soca soundsystem?

 

Keeping my fingers crossed for dry, sunny weather! See you there x

Northern soul dance class, Night and Day café, 16/07

Northern_Soul_Dance_School

Northern soul has always been part of my life as my parents identified as mods in their teens and 20s. Maybe I’ve got a more honed radar for the genre because of this, but I’ve noticed that it’s always in and out of the media spotlight. Most recently, Pharrell Williams and the Manchester Northern Soul Dancers paid homage at the BRITS but the Northern Soul Dance School’s upcoming workshop will give newcomers the opportunity to discover there’s more to the genre.

The school is already a festival favourite; party goers at Kendal Calling, Lunar Festival and Festival No. 6 have enjoyed the classes.

Manchester dancers will now get the chance to spin, kick and maybe flip (it’s a beginners class) around the Night and Day dance floor to classic tracks from the likes of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and Al Wilson… you know, the guy who sang that Snake song on the Lambrini advert.

Wed 16 Jul, Night and Day café, 26 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1 JNN. Tel: 8 to 10.30pm, £4, http://www.nightnday.org/event/northern-soul-dance-class/

More info: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Soul-Dance-School/103626973044669

Not Your Man (feat. Thabo) – Professor Green

 

I’m not a massive fan of Professor Green so ‘Not Your Man’ would have usually passed me by but for Thabo.

He’s the front man for Thabo & The Real Deal, who are great. Thabo carries this track in my opinion and I hope that he’ll get further attention he deserves, through this mainstream feature.

Check out World War Free from Thabo & The Real Deal, here: 

 

 

 

DJ Spinna (NYC) and Rahaan (Chicago) take over Manchester this June

I’m getting all MTV with my ‘takeover’ talk about these 2 parties. That’s where the similarity ends because some will agree how the quality of the programming for Rag Tag/Soul Flute and Better Days is much more talented than what’s on the aforementioned television channel right now.

There’s just over a week to go before New York hip-hop and house producer and selector DJ Spinna plays at Dry Bar basement, Dry Live, on Friday 14th June, while Rahaan’s boogie, disco and funk skills will be more than welcome at the First Chop Brewing Arm on the 27th.

DJ Spinna and Rahaan both possess quality skills which can keep the dance floor moving all night. Even Stevie Wonder turns up to Spinna’s parties. If it’s good enough for Stevie…

 

 

DJ_Spinna

 

Tickets for Rag Tag and So Flute hosts DJ Spinna are available from Skiddle.com.


Rahaan_Better_Days

 

Tickets for Better Days hosts Rahaan are available from Skiddle.com and Resident Advisor.

Theo Parrish (rare live performance) – The Ritz – 15/07

Theo Parrish Manchester show

 

So this sounds a bit good.

The Detroit-based techno, soul, jazz and house legend is taking to The Ritz stage for a rare showcase of Sound Signature label classics and recent tracks, with a full live band.

Parrish, on beats and keys, is to be joined by Amp Fiddler (keys), Akwasi Mensah (bass), Duminie DePorres (electric guitar) and Myele Manzanza (drums).

Demand for tickets for this is likely to be high, so get yours here. See you there.

 

This weekend I would most like to… celebrate the life and achievements of Maya Angelou

 

I’m going to use the time to consider what Angelou has done for women, her culture and literature this weekend.

I wanted to post a deep mix of  the recently departed poet Maya Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Women’, which I had on a mix tape some years ago.

I came across this instead. ‘Still I Rise’, over Butch’s ‘Sweet In The Morning’. Very nice.

R.I.P to a truly phenomenal lady.

 

New album: Mark de Clive-Lowe – ‘Church’

Broken beat and nu jazz veteran’s Mark de Clive-Lowe’s latest long player ‘Church’ is out now.

Check the exclusive behind the scenes taster of the New Zealand born, LA via UK-based producer’s release, which was crowd-funded via Kickstarter, here. Loving the jazz flute vibes!

 

With the same name as his LA/NYC club night, ‘Church’s’ 3 main components are live dance party (obviously), jazz club and electronic remix experiments (such as going to a club and watching them create beats from scratch).

It features collaborations with Nate Smith, Duane and Robin Eubanks, Jamire Williams, Nia Andrews, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Low Leaf, John Robinson and theeKIDICARUS.

Download ‘Church’ on the MCDL bandcamp pagecheck out artwork and the track by track descriptions on the MCDL website.

Theo Parrish – ‘Footwork’

 

The bit with the car.

The beetle.

The reflections and shadows.

And Theo at the end.

LIFE.

From Theo Parrish’s upcoming album, American Intelligence, out on Sound Signature now.

Southport Weekender: The Big 50 – highlights

SPW50.jpg

There’s so much to do at Southport Weekender but the 50th celebrations, which ended yesterday morning at 2am, were even busier. There were so many artists there I wanted to see plus the 2 additional stages since my last visit in 2012; the Funkbase Dome and The Inn On The Green, made it an even bigger event.

 

The Southport wall

The Southport wall

 

I’ve worked out that I partied for approximately 24 hours over the 3 day weekend and that’s hard work, even for someone who’s been 8 times. I fought through the grumpy moments, the ‘my legs feel like they’re made of lead’ moments and made the most of Southport Weekender 50. Once I get on the dance floor, all of those negative feelings disappear. Friends new and old are there to give you the biggest smiles, take photos, laugh and joke while the most amazing performers and DJs play out some of the best sets/performances around. Perfect. Missing out on Tall Black Guy, Osunlade and Exist (At Jazz and Karizma) wasn’t cool though.

Check out some of my pictures and highlights below. If you were there, I hope it brings back good memories! And if you weren’t, make sure you’re there for the next party.

Suncebeat Dome

Suncebeat Dome

Suncebeat Dome

Who I saw: Ben Brophy, Kenny Dope, DJ Spen, Rainer Truby (Sunday after party), Lay-Far (Sunday after party), Souldynamic (Sunday after party)

The Suncebeat Dome was the first place I set foot into on Friday evening, to catch up with friends from Preston. My friend and I intended to go straight into The Funkbase to see Omar but the detour was much welcomed and Ben Brophy set us nicely for the evening ahead. We also bumped into Omar in there later on in the evening (or was it Saturday?) and I got a kiss on the cheek after congratulating him on his performance. Yeah, I’m showing off.

Kenny Dope’s 2am house set on Friday/Saturday didn’t disappoint. The dome was packed to the brim and he brought it. Kenny Dope is a must see for me – he was one of the first DJs I heard at my first Southport (SPW 40… and one of the first ever ‘proper’ DJs too) and I’m still absolutely in love with the way he knows how to put a set together. It was full of bass, soul and fantastic vibes. Just amazing.

The dome was also the last place I visited at the Sunday after party. Souldynamic played a beautiful string-laden deep house track filled the air (track ID, please) so I closed my eyes for a moment and all was at peace.

Favourite track:  I Don’t Know Why (I Love You) – Kenny Dope mix – played by Kenny Dope

 

Beat Bar

Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle

Who I saw: Alexander Nut, Marcus Valle, Ronnie Herel (Sunday after party)

I was all set for a Friday night session in here but instead I got to see Alexander Nut for 5 minutes. Gutted. I’ll be ensuring I catch up him with him, Tall Black Guy and Fatima & The Eglo Live Band when I get the opportunity.

Sunday was a more fruitful day. Marcos Valle’s bossa nova vibes were perfect for the most chilled day of the weekender. His music (except the track below) is new to me but ever so welcome, especially as I got to do some samba dancing I’d learnt from my Brazillian fitness teacher. I love how Southport Weekender provides the capacity to see trusted favourites alongside providing a musical education.

Later on that evening, I enjoyed what was rare for me that weekend. A full set. I can’t fault Ronnie Herel and I have to say props to him for his knowledge of music, skills and fitting ‘Lay It Down’ by Bugz In The Attic into a classic r’n’b set. He made me slide across that dance floor. What a guy.

Favourite track:  Marcos Valle – Crickets Sing For Anamaria

 

The Powerhouse

The Powerhouse

The Powerhouse

Who I saw: Terry Hunter, Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, Kerri Chandler & Friends, Basement Boys

The Powerhouse has always been a favourite for me but it wasn’t as much of a base as it has in the past. I managed to have a dance session on Saturday though, catching the last of Seth Troxler, plus The Martinez Brothers and Kerri Chandler & Friends.

Kerri Chandler & Friends

Kerri Chandler & Friends

Hands in the air moments go to the 15 minutes I enjoyed of Terry Hunter’s set and Kerri Chandler’s talented new band. There were guest performances by Robert Owens (who dedicated ‘Tears’ to the recently departed Frankie Knuckles), Arnold Jarvis and the guy that sang on Kerri’s remix of ‘You Are In My System’. I’m so sorry I don’t know his name; he raised our spirits at 5.30am, for sure.

The Basement Boys (DJ Spen, Teddy Douglas, Karizma, Thommy Davis) reunion on Sunday evening is there in my top moments. The ultimate joy of gospel house, disco, deep house and soul was there in abundance. So fabulous; I danced for 2 hours straight and couldn’t have cared less who was watching.

Basement Boys

Basement Boys

Favourite track: There are loads I don’t have the track ID for; a mix of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, Seth Troxler’s last track and Terry Hunter’s gospel vibes but I have to say when Basement Boys played To The Rock by VMC (DJ Spen & The Muthafunkas mix), I lost my mind.

 

Funkbase

Spinderella

Spinderella

Who I saw: Omar, Spinderella, Faith Evans, EZ, Miguel Migs (Sunday after party)

I was so impressed with Omar.  It’s testament to his longevity when he can sing a classic like ‘Nothing Like This’ alongside the recent release ‘It’s So’ and get the same euphoric reception. I loved his performance, especially his super duper voice.

I was pleased to catch a little of Spinderella, who played some hip-hop classics from the likes of The Fugees, but after a 6-hour journey to Minehead earlier that day we were starting to flag at this point and it was bed time.

EZ had me feeling like a 17-year old again on Saturday afternoon. I genuinely forgot of how much of a garage queen I was and a couple of us in our group had stories to tell of our past clubbing lives while we danced along. Such a good set; he had the crowd in the palm of his hand and it was absolutely packed with old school tracks and a few newbies such as SBTRKT. Vibes alive!

Favourite track:  Y-Tribe – ‘Enough Is Enough’ (played by DJ EZ)

 

Main stage

Chaka Khan and Incognito

Chaka Khan and Incognito

Who I saw: Incognito and Chaka Khan

It was an absolute privilege to see this lady perform with Incognito. She sang ‘Ain’t Nobody’, ‘I Feel For You’, ‘Through The Fire’… they were all in there. My absolute favourites were ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘ I Know You, I Live You’. If anyone wants to know, she’s record perfect even after all these years. Plus she’s absolutely stunning and has a great stage presence. Every kinds of perfect.

Favourite track: ‘I Know You, I Live You’ performed by Chaka Khan

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