Southport Weekender: The Big 50 – highlights
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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