Prepping for Berlin

I’ve booked a last-minute trip to the German capital and I’m pretty excited. When I get the chance to travel, I grab the opportunity with both hands.

Top of my to-do list, of course, is clubbing. House nights to be precise. I might be a bit stuck seen as, according to every travel guide I’ve read, techno is the dominant genre in the city. I don’t mind a bit of it here and there, especially Detroit style, but it’s just not my go-to. I mean, I could just go to a night to ‘experience’ it. But as I’m meeting with up with a friend who’s independent and may have other plans apart from seeing me, the debauchery isn’t exactly suited.

It’s apparent that, after doing a little more research, Berlin’s music scene doesn’t begin and end with techno. I’ve already found 2 deep house nights taking place on the night I arrive.

J.A.W , Floating Points, Sadar Bahar and Andrew Ashong are playing at basement club Prince Charles, while Deep Fried hosts Jovonn and Arnaldo (from Manchester!). Even Berghain, the club many consider to be the utopia of techno, is showcasing dub gods The Bug and Mala while I’m there.

I’ve heard that Salon-Zur wilden Renate is a good club to go to for less techy vibes from Berlin-based DJs. It’s good to check out the local talent and I love this mix from Couleur, who appears to play there quite regularly. If this is anything like what’s in store when I visit Berlin, I’ll be more than happy. Get me there, now.


Introducing: Tanzlife


Ahh Stockholm, the home of lots of beautiful things and even more beautiful people. It’s also got a pretty nice party scene going on and Local Talk is a leading name.

I’m loving their latest mix, courtesy of Polish DJ, promoter and producer, Tanzlife. So nice. A great way to keep the house vibes alive after my extended weekend of partying at Southport Weekender’s Camelot party.

Want more? Check out Local Talk and Tanzlife on Soundcloud.

Southport Weekender presents: Camelot – 30/08


Camelot, Park Hall Hotel, 2pm to 6am, Saturday 30th August

It was a quiet August bank holiday, filled with grown up things like DIY and free street festivals.  I’m not complaining though, because I’ve energy and money to party this weekend.

I’ll be making the short journey from Manchester to Park Hall Hotel for Camelot, an 18-hour party ran by the organisers of Southport Weekender.

The line up is an impressive mixture of local, national and international names. The likes of The Unabombers, Dimitri From Paris and Ron Trent stand side by side with Afro-Coalition DJs, James Morgan from Liverpool night Hustle and Stretford Dogs Club of Development fame.

Another highlight is Jasper Street Company’s live performance with The Basement Boys, who will no doubt be providing a sequel to their all-conquering Sunday afternoon performance in May. 

It’s a fitting end of summer celebration for the Southport Weekender family, who’ve hosted and enjoyed Minehead’s Southport Weekender and Suncebeat in Croatia this year.

Check the link for the full line up.

Don’t miss out on your ticket, which are available online until 8pm on Friday 29th August and on the door for £5 extra. Hotel rooms are available separately.

Saturday 30th August-Sunday 31st August, 1pm to 6am, Park Hall Hotel, Park Hall Road, Charnock Richard, Lancashire, PR7 5LP, £45 adv, £50 on the door, room prices are separate.

Hot ticket: Now Wave presents FKA Twigs at RNCM – 04/10

Don’t forget, tickets for FKA Twigs at the Royal Northern College of Music are on sale from 12pm on August 15th.

It’s a great venue for a performance from the Young Turks artist, who did a sold out show at the Dancehouse just over 2 weeks ago. She’s also garnered national attention; releasing her debut album, LP1, at the beginning of the week (11/08/14).

I’ve been a bit late to the party; I only heard Two Weeks the other day. But the moment she hits that note, I knew she was worth the hype.

Be quick. Now Wave have a great reputation and in the Manchester gig world, it usually means a sell out.

Buy tickets here.

Saturday 4th October, 7.30pm, Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, M13 9RD, £12 adv.

Wednesday Woe: Silk Rhodes – ‘Pains’


Melancholy mid-week vibes from Silk Rhodes, a two piece consisting of vocalist Sasha Desree and producer Michael Collins.

This soulful, stripped-back debut single epitomises the whole concept of beauty is pain, in my opinion. Or is that pain is beauty?

It’s just been released on vinyl by Stones Throw Records.

Find out more about Silk Rhodes, here.

Seven Davis Jr. – ‘Friends’


My Monday so far:

Dropped a pot of yogurt on the kitchen floor.

Bad hair.

Demanding individuals.

But it’s all okay. Because I can’t stop listening to ‘Friends’ from Seven Davis Jr’s latest LP, out on Classic Music Company. I think almost everyone can relate to his tale of friendship.

The 3 track release is pretty solid in my opinion, check it out on Soundcloud.


Chuck D feat. Mavis Staples: ‘Give We The Pride’


Talent without compromise. It’s a rare occurrence these days but I’m glad these two amazing artists have it nailed with ‘Give We The Pride’.

Chuck D’s observations are on point (as usual) while the legendary Staples’ vocals take it to another level.

It’s a great track. I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

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


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 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,

More info: