Monday, 11 May 2015

Species 2015

Well, another month and another festival report. I’ll say straight off the bat that this is not going to be an objective review or anything, Species is now particularly special to me as it marks my first festival appearance DJing`(2nd + 3rd times doing it live in front of an audience). I had tremendous fun preparing the sets and got real buzz performing them. This was the first Species, indeed the first weekend-long festival by and for the Goth / Alternative subculture to be held in Ireland. Whitby, Infest etc. have been running successfully in Britain for some time, WGT is largest and best known of the various festivals of its type to run in Europe but up until now, in spite of small and reasonably active scenes in various parts of the country, nobody has attempted anything like this here. In the past the site has played host to the Alien Vibrations festival as well as various private gigs and parties, which have all run successfully and become fixtures of the scenes this events cater to. The promoters Illiocht and Harriet are both Goths of the old school and wanted to do something for their own subculture this time. Rather than just a straight up gig or rave of the sort the site has seen in the past this was meant to be an Arts Festival that would of course contain music as an important component but also be a showcase for different types of Art work, performance art, dance and poetry. As such I would say that it was a brave effort to do something new for the scene in this part of the world. While not everything went according to plan it was certainly fun to be a part of and observe and I reckon that a good few lessons have been learned for the next one.

Alright, before I get into it I’d like to get the few negatives out of the way first. There’s two types of weather that you get at camping festivals, the type you want and the type you definitely don’t want. The weekend of Species saw two solid days of the sort that you definitely don’t want, in fact it was some of the worst weather that the site had seen since the height of the winter. Rain-storms overnight, drizzle when it wasn’t lashing, high winds that knocked over the graffiti wall that had been erected for the festival and the Marquee that was intended for the Gothic tea-party on the Saturday afternoon. I’ve seen some bad festival weather in my time and this was up there with the worst. I was staying in the performers cabin so I luckily didn’t have to get wet but those camping were not so lucky and a lot of people left after the first night and a good few people who had been intending to come down on the Saturday ended up not coming. To be fair, it did give the extremely beautiful part of the Irish countryside we were in a bleak Wuthring Heights-esque ambience appropriate for a Gothic Arts festival, but picturesque though it was – that’s not what you want at a camping festival.

Aside from that the organises also had a bit of bad luck early on when Facebook’s fascistic algorithms that decide whether people are using their real names or not flagged the account of the co-organiser Harriet and decided that her facebook handle was too flamboyantly Welsh to be that of a real person. So aye, Facebook is essentially racist against the Welsh, either that or it thinks they’re a mythical race like Tolkien’s Eldar or the Riddlers. The upshot of this was that the events page which was in Harriet’s name ended up being shut down on the eve of the event which no doubt cost the organisers a few punters. The equipment on site was put fairly through its paces too. There were a few issues with the decks and some of the other hardware, which led to the schedule slipping a bit on the Saturday night.  That said, Ambrose the sound-tech struggled manfully with the various pieces of kit and kept everything pumping along almost single handedly all weekend and any sound problems that came up got resolved sharpish.
So aside from what were essentially teething problems and things well beyond the reasonable control of the organisers it was a pretty good weekend.  The site itself was amazing. We were right up in the mountains in Leitrim and the few times the weather cleared up you could see for miles around you. The Great Hall of Illiocht - the converted barn that serves as the main stage - had a new wooden interior to stop the bass rattling the corrugated metal walls of the hall. Like rest of the site it was kitted out with artwork and served as a showcase for the artwork of the co-organiser Harriet as well as other local artists from amongst their crowd of friends such as Belfast underground art-scene veteran Andy Brown. The rest of the site was bedecked with wall paintings and objet d'art. Artwork was also provided by some of the attendees, aside from Harriet's paintings and Sculpture about the site, walls and surfaces were made available to artists to decorate for the occasion.
There was also a small market place from the Saturday afternoon onward with prints, stickers and books featuring original art by Harriet, cupcakes, and alternative clothing and apparel by Bella Muerte.

The music was a mixture of the various branches of the broad church of musical styles that come under the banner of Alternative. As such it was an eclectic and enjoyable mix. It all started off suitably weird with the first act I saw on the Friday, a Belfast based producer called Monty performing as BendingWrongs. The first thing I clocked as he was setting up was an Aphex Twin logo on the back of the laptop he was performing off, which I immediately took as a good sign. He played a set of industrial-y glitch IDM, all of which he’d producer himself. I found it very enjoyable, I particularly liked the last track which started with the vocals from Energy 106 classic Discoland that descended into chopped breakbeats and acid bleeps.

After him was more original productions, this time from festival organiser illiocht as his dark ambient / horror core musical project Kraven Brainz. That was good fun, all spooky noisey sounds and horror samples (and a few Adventure Time LSP ones in the last arrangement for the crack). The next act I saw were Sugarplum Suicide. Apparently they had a few technical issues at the beginning of their set with their laptop / drum machine. I didn’t catch any of that and what I saw of them was great. 

After was Venus de Vilo, Gothic singer songwriter. It was good fun like Amanda Palmer doing cabaret on a sort of tongue in cheek horror-pops tip. the tunes were quirky and amusing and she was very good at engaging the crowd. Would definitely go see her again if she played Belfast, just sorry didn’t get any better photos. There were a series of DJs playing old school synth classics and some club-industrial the ret of the night. One on the friday I particularly enjoyed was Alex who played a lot of industrial dubstep and a couple of Igorrr tunes. In terms of the DJing that was the highlight of the Friday for me. I didn’t stay up too late to see any of the DJs who were on later as I had some work of my own to do the next day.

Saturday was my day. I had two sets to perform, my 2nd and 3rd public appearance DJing. Prior to the event after being booked I messaged Illiocht through the events artists page on Facebook to ask what time they were thinking of putting me on at, saying I could play a relatively chill / ambient set if I was on early or a harder more rave one if I was on later on. Next thing the first schedule goes up and I have two sets, one on the saturday afternoon and another midnight Saturday night / Sunday morning. Well played.

I was actually in a little bit of a panic when I saw that at first because it was like twice the amount of prep to do. In the event it actually worked out well, I didn’t have time to meticulously plan every track progression and every mix like the last time I’d played out on Halloween. I just about had time to get together a collection of tunes that I wanted to play and I felt sounded good together. Which was good because that's really what you ought to be doing, and along with being able to beat match and read the mood of the room and play accordingly, what the art if DJing actually is. I knew with each set how I wanted to start, some tunes I’ve always wanted to hear through a proper sound system and a notion of how I wanted to finish. I also had a good idea of what to do with some of the harder tracks to mix out of and what would actually just mix well enough with anything else.

The early set at 3pm in the afternoon was a selection of tracks I felt would be appropriate for a civilised mid afternoon goth disco. I started with a little of what I would call Urban Gothic. Urban Gothic isn’t a genre of music that currently exists as such, Its just how I like to characterise a range of the stuff that I like and like to play when given the chance. Its anything fundamentally dark, moody and / or industrial thats also conspicuously based on 4/4 beats. It covers the darker more industrial ends of UK Bass music, some of the slower and more sombre ends of breakcore (i.e. End.users more hip-hop tempo stuff) and the breakbeat-y / Glitch / IDM music coming out of the industrial scene from lables like Hymen, Tympanic Audio etc. So the set started with a little of that (Ambient into industrial hip hop breaks into Gothic vocal-dubstep into a really deep sub-y Scorn remix of Glory Box) and followed into some 4/4 beats and kept it there. I played a few classics from some of the pioneers of the genre, dropped an acid techno-y danceable remix of LFO’s Industrial / EBM track Tied Up as a small personal tribute to the legend that was Mark Bell (sadly taken from us last year), some Gloomcore and some new stuff thats only been out in the last couple of years. This all went down extremely well, the crowd in the Great Hall that I could see were extremely appreciative and as it wasn’t particularly windy at that point the music was carried all over the festival so loads of people who weren’t actually there but did hear my set came up to me after to tell me how much they enjoyed it.

Spurred on by this initial success I was well in the mood for my later set, but that was hours away and I enjoyed catching some of the other stuff that was on in the meantime. Deathness Injection were properly class. They do industrial noise off live hardware while playing out a performance piece that is like a live Tool video. Thats about the closest I can come to describing it, you can check out some of their performances from their youtube but they don’t quite do the live experience justice.

Tragedy Vampires
Also awesome but completely different were the gothic rock outfit Tragedy Vampires. They were great, tight musicians, the lead singer clearly loving being able to smoke on stage. I had a great time bouncing around to their harder punk-y numbers, they were also good crack after, hang out and spoke to me and my mates and give us some of their CDs. They’ll be playing the Distortion Project in Belfast next month along with some Psychobilly and horror-pop bands, if that sounds like your cup of tea it’ll be well worth checking out.

It was at this point that hilarity ensued with the equipment, one of the decks malfunctioning and the proceeding were pushed forwards. Among those were the gorgeous Deby Discosue performing as DiScoSwitch who gave us an LED assisted dance routine to some dark industrial beats, which looked amazing.

Ambrose aka DJ Flesh the sound tech followed with an all vinyl set of old school electronic Post-Punk and New Beat. It was great to have an all to rare opportunity to hear this stuff on a decent rig and he finished on Joy Divisions Disorder which is a long standing personal favourite of mine.

After that it was time for my second set.

So having requested a late set if they wanted me to bring some heaviness and been given one I took that as leave to go for broke with my hardest stuff, which I did. I broke out a lot of powernoise tracks that I’ve personally been busting to hear over a rig since I started getting into that style of music, mixed it in with a lot of Industrial Techno, hardcore and breakcore. As with the last set I had a bit of an idea where I wanted to start but kept it loose enough and only decided the opening track going through the playlist I’d assembled about an hour before I went on. Appropriately enough since I was rocking one of his “Keep Industrial Weird” T Shirts it was a Caustic tune. Of the three times I’ve played live no this one was by far the most fun, I was able to get properly into it and I think that comes across in the recording. The very last track I actually threw in at random, the ending I had envisioned I came to a little ahead of time leaving me enough time for one more and it was just like ‘what do I want to hear, what could I just drop on here that would sound amazing?’

I was buzzing coming off stage, I felt like I’d one well and I got a lot of positive feedback from the people i spoke to after. One girl told me her brother is a hardcore producer and having a familiarity with both that and the industrial scene she had never heard anyone else mixing them together in the same set and really enjoyed it.

It was quite late by the time I was finishing but the nice thing about small festivals in the middle of nowhere is the informality of the proceedings, a lad from Dublin DJ Annatar came on after me and played a set of aggro tech and club industrial, haven’t really been into that stuff for a while but i liked a lot of the tunes he was playing, that Neuroticfish “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Ha!” cover is another long standing personal favourite and hearing it actually gave me second wind and enough energy to power through into the next morning.

After that Ambrose had caught second wind and me and the last couple of people that were still knocking about at that time sat up and bopped about to him playing through some of the rest of his extensive vinyl collection into the wee hours.

My lift left early enough on the next morning and the event was only on until the Sunday afternoon so theres not much more to report. All I can say is that i had immense crack playing and enjoying the rest of the fun on offer. Illicit and Harriet have no illusions that this is going to mushroom into a Glastonbury or even much beyond the site capacity of a couple of hundred people but they will be doing it again next May bank holiday. I look forwards to this quite intimate arts festival for the goth community turning into a fixture of the Irish alternative scene and will be interested in seeing some of the plans for this one that had to be put aside due to the weather come to fruition and what it’ll be like after some of the lessons have been learned from this time around and teething issues have been ironed out. I’d recommend next years to anyone else in the scene who is interested in supporting something local and a bit different.  It’s a great opportunity to touch base with the scene on the rest of the island, we have such a diverse alternative scene here with such an array of very talented people who’re a part of it but it’s also so fragmented that it’ll be good to have something to draw it all together and that this has the potential to be just that.

So aye, Species 2015, amazing crack. Will be back next year, watch this space.

(Net stop, Forbidden Fruit)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bangface 2015

This was meant to be a status update but it was so long it actually fucked up Facebook.

Good it'll fucking well tighten it the blue smarmy cunt.

Mash up de place!

BangFace​ 2015 - the awesomeness never stops, like literally 5-10 minutes after that last status update I'm standing in the queue to board my flight home to Belfast and I bumped into these Dutch guys I'd met knocking about on the sunday morning hanging out outside their chalet smoking and listening to Plaid on their way to get their flight.  They were all happy to see me too.  That morning we'd been chatting about music for ages and they seemed to really know their stuff. Somehow I appear to have given them the impression that I knew mine and just after I left them they had apparently been running around for ages looking for me to get my email or some other way of keeping in touch but had given up, so when they saw me in the airport on there way home from the festival they were properly buzzing to see me and actually get my email.

They have it now and no doubt they'll be in touch with me soon.  I met quite a good few sound interesting people over the course of the weeekend myself and took down details of their soundclouds, facebooks etc to check out when I got home to civilisation from the internetless black spot the Pontins resort was in and I've given myself a good bit of homework, some of which will make it to my feed over the next couple of days.

So aye, Bangface 2015, where to start?  I had such a great one and so many people were part of it.  I feel full of love for the world and greatfull towards everybody in it for just being there.  Actually nah thats a pure spoof and some hippy bullshit, like c'mon I wasn't at a Psy festival FFS.  No I actually feel full of love for Bangface, the rave and this years festival and full of love just for the very specific people that were part of it with me this year.

Well first off, big ups to the 290 Hard Crew Shane​, Kevin​ and Ram​ for being such amazing chalet mates all weekend.  Its great being around people that get the same buzz off relentless gabba that I do.  I actually had prior to this Bangface only met any of these guys a couple of times, I remember Shane from the 2011 weekender but just had never been on each others social radar that often so we'd only bumped into each other a couple of times since.  Kevin and Ram I know from knocking about the techno scene and ending up at the same house party on a few occaisions, most notably the time we all ended up together on Con Mc Allister​'s birthday after seeing Karenn in the Limelight.  It was on that occaision that I discovered that, 1. they were good mates with Con and Mel, 2. they like Breakcore and Gabber, 3. Kevin could take an almighty Cornelius - patent slegging, all 3 of which I believe speaks highly of a persons character, which leads us to 4, that they had a Bangface chalet with a space they were looking to shift and were happy to take in 2 installments, which was great for me as I was unemployed and broke as balls at the time and wasn't likely to be able to shell out for a whole one any time soon, but I was still busting to go.  As decisions go this turned out to be up there with my better ones and as inevitably happens at Bangface you form a hard bond with your chalet mates and I dare say we'll probably be all seing a lot more of each other in the future.

Next, a big we nah run dem to all my UK festival / partying family that made it to this one, Jazz, Ben Wall, Carolyn, the living legend that is Scottish Chris, Tommy Palmer, Cathal, Drew Davis and the rest of the Geordie crew from 303 (Ghettotech!) Efz whose crew played a blinder on the Saturday morning in the Queen Vic (more on which later).  Like I may only see any of you guys IRL once or twice a year but its always a good one and its just good knowing yous are out there on the off chance one should ever have occasion to visit some strange foreign city across the sea, like Bristol or manchester or somewhere wierd and foreign like that with no veda loafs or Buckie.  Neither of which affect me in anyway since I couldn't ingest them if I wanted to, but still - wierd.

Some extra-special love to the Manc-Irish ex pats and their mates, Jessica, who's been like near enough a member of the family since we were teenagers, Sarah, Samantha, Gary "Fucking" Sloan whose surprise entrance on the Saturday was one of the non musical highlights of the weekend and my boy Joe Griff - UTH ACAB. Need to get over to visit some time soon, one of them Relapse Manchester nights or something else suitably mental. (BTW, does Myles do Facebook? If so could someone please PM me his facebook and / or soundcloud or Myles if you're reading this now please add me).

Also, our lot, the Northern Irish hard crew, cause we are actually hardcore as fuck each and every one of us.  There was way too many of us to name and I didn't get around to partying with or even just catching up with everybody I'd have liked to so please don't feel left out if you don't get tagged.  Firstly, strong contender for the soundest person in the world and one of the best people you could ever go to a festival with: Chris​ Maginto and his piece of stuff the amazing  Roisin​.  Ciara​ who did me an invaluable service on the Sunday morning (which I'll get to) and Tommy O'Rourke​ who gets the crack, dissonance is truth, angry distorted electronic noise is the sound of the real, and if it has breakbeats chopped up to fuck and you can dance to it is fucking amazing.  And heavy metal is fucking sweet too.

Jane,​ absolute legend in her Bemo dress, actually one of the best things I saw all weekend, Jennifer​ who is a fucking good mate and someone I'll forever have a lot of time for.  My top bitches Toni and Helen.  My man Kyle Tek​, on his first one, Matt -​ Bangface chalet Fam '2012 represent! And as with Myles 2 paragraphs up, if anyone knows if Pete Acid or/and his mate Yanos have facebook could they link or suggest friend me them or lads, if either of you are reading this yourselves, add me.

Love to Marty and Ceri's chalet and all who sail in her.

Nate and his crew, I hardly saw ye all weekend, totes not on purpose or anything.

Serious props too to Alex Fractal Vortex​ and Kathy​ you're stars the pair of you.

I know that theres lots of other people from home I'm missing but I'm tired and I still have a good bit to go, so if you're feeling left out comment below and you'll either get a sincere apology or slegged by me or someone else depending on how amusing you are.

Lastly a huge fucking stinking Ghettotech high five to my sister Catherine, who after all brought me to my first Bangface Weekender and has just been a cont, a cont, a cont, a cont, a continuing source of inspiration ever since (sorry, new laptop seems to have devloped a stutter, hopefully that'll work itself out).  It is actually class having your sister as one of your best mates.  That was another successful adventure for the McV children, bringing the gospel of Ghettotech to all sorts of Geordies and other random people.  They fucking well know now what time it is (no, please don't start...).

Oh and one last one before I forget... bollocks I was actually about to tag Amy Flex there and try and get her to pass my contact details to Terry since I remember talking to him about exchanging email addresses and numbers so we can keep in touch since he's no longer on Facebook.  Now I've found Amy has done hers in too, unless she's just changed her handle on here, in which case if anyone knows it please pass it on to me.  But if anyone knows how to get in contact with Terry from Dundalk who used to be called Turry Jah Bless  Four Eyes on Facebook and would like to do me a we favour, either PM me his or ask me for mine and pass it onto him for me.  Same goes for Amy*.

So, adventures, "lovely" people and missions all round.  But like this is sort of meant to be a music festival so I should probably try and talk about the music.  No mean feat in this case since literally everything I saw was fucking amazing (so, no I didn't go to see Squarepusher finish in the main room :)).  Serously the only remotely negative thing that I witnessed all weekend was during The Teknoist​'s set in the Queen vic on Saturday there was some random technical issue that stopped one of his turntables working, but he handled it like a pro and there was just an akward couple of minutes while him and the sound tech sorted it out, then he dropped Lion Girl and it was all good.

So much good stuff, and I managed to spend most of my time down at the arenas so I ended up seeing loads, like I'd reckon I saw more stuff on any given day of this weekender than any of the other two combined.  Funny that.

So much great music that cutting it down to a few highlights isn't possible so this next bit is going to be fairly long.  You've been warned.

So I saw a good bit of the In The Face takeover (bassline!) in the Queen Vic while I was waiting for Shane and the lads from my chalet to show up.  I'm not entirely sure who all I saw, I remember asking Nate​ and fair play to him he actually told me who each of them where but that was like ages ago now and I've completely blanked it.  Meh, I'm not sure who I saw but I don't think I saw Hadean because I'm fairly certain Hadean is a girl and all the DJs I saw at that thing were guys**, though they did play a good few of the tunes I've enjoyed from the various Hadean sets I have on my iPod so it was all good.  Actually hearing songs I particularly enjoy on a proper rig for the first time ever would become a sort of mini theme of the weekend.  After meeting up with the rest of the 290's hitting the chalet and dropping off cases, sorting out sleeping arrangements and what not we headed back down in time to catch some of the Jungle Syndicate before hitting the Face Room for one of the most anticipated acts of the weekender.

Anklepants was absolutely fucking mental, as you'd expect.  I'm sort of sorry I didn't fight my way to the front for a better view as I'm certain I'd have probably have enjoyed it more if I'd have seen him prancing about doing wierd shit and flexing his huge pendulous penis-nose in time to the music (btw if you're reading this and you don't know what Anklepants is and that just sounds like absolute glue, just go on the internet and look him up, or if you'd you'd rather not and just take my word for it, sweet).

After Anklepants came Igorrr, Catherine caught about a minute of that, heard the first thrash metal rift and was like "fuck that shit" and left.  I stayed for all of it, and it was class and all but I like the ones where he has a live opera songer doing the vocals on certain tracks (there are a few youtube videos of these) and I would have liked to have seen some of that but like I can hardly complain.

The Hard Way was some pretty serious dark banging shit.  There was one wierd bit where Thrasher (who was on on his own, I thought it was supposed to be the three of them) stopped playing records to complain about some guy mugging him off from the floor or something.  Now I didn't see see what the guy was doing from where I was so I don't know if the guy was being a complete dick and it was all perfectly justified or whatever or if Thraser was just being a fucking huge primadonna .  So if anyone whos reading this actually saw what happend and can clear this up for me it would be much appreciated***.  And anyway, Thrasher​, never mind that random cunt, what about my fawk'n hoodie?  Yous told me on a facebook post your hoodies were 100% cotton then when I bought it from the PRSPCT online merch store, costing me about 40 fawkin quid it turns up and its a fucking cotton poly blend!  WTF?  Am I ever getting my money back, what about all the fucking emails I've written you cunts about this?  You fuckers should be glad someone like me in a country with no Industrial Hardcore scene is willing to spend £40+ to represent your brand on his person, in fact actually you should be paying me.  Wheres my fucking money???

(btw that last bit about the hoodie is actually all true, and one of my few regrets about the weekend was not taking the opportunity on the first day when I saw Thrasher to take it up with him in person).

Counterstrike​ were solid enough, they dropped the Current Value remix of Donny​'s Symptomless Coma (Jam samples ftw), but I thought whoever that was was on after Pet Duo pissed all over them (says High Rankin on the programme, but I'm sure that they're Dubstep / Drumstep-y, this guy was bouncing around loving life tearing out black hearted rinsing Industrial DnB).  Actually one of my favourite sets of the weekend, would be nice to know who he was.  Again if anyone knows and can enlighten me please do so below.

I didn't make it to Hellfish or Kanji as my legs were buckling under me in that last set.  Managed to get my head down for a good while on the friday night, got up got showered and had a few adventures with the rest of my 290 man-dem, and headed down for the music again in time to catch the beginning of the Love Love takeover in the Queen Vic.  Love Love is an indie Breakcore lable run by Efz, one of our London crowd whose house myself and some of my mates have stayed in on occaision, a very sound head, who is clearly quite smart and into some very intersting shit and whose  occaisional trolling of the IDM facebook group is a work of art.  The label itself does some class music.  He had a few of his lables best up, Scrase, Beatwife and The Abominable Mr Tinkler who banged out some sick breakcore.  The last set Efz played himself with an MC who is by far the best MC I have ever seen in my entire life and more than likely ever will see, the Prophet Zebadiah Obidiah of the Al-Zebabist Nation of OOOG.  A huge brown skinned gentleman of indeterminate race (but definitely not fucking white) in a Daishiqui who opened with "I see a lot of new faces tonight, a lot of WHITE faces in the crowd tonight, you are not welcome here, if you're white GET OUT!".  And he just kept it up chanting ironic pan-arab-african-nationalist-Islamist-Anti-Colonialist-reverse-racist slogans at the crowd.

Yeah so novelty comedy satirical MCing, there were some class ones:

"Renounce your white skin, embrace your melanin!"
"Legalise Heroin!  Legalise Dog-meat!  Fuck Broadstairs!"
"The White Man was created 8000 years ago in a laboratory"
"Fuck Farage"

and so on.  Which obviously I was absolutely loving, especially the bits when he was cussing out British Imperialism (yeo!) then he started actually going for it and spitting bars over this mad chopped ragged ragga breakcore Efz was blasting out on the decks and it was wasn't just some novelty act he was actually quite good.  In a weekend of highlights this was definitely a contender for highlight of highlights.  Not that I could ever choose just one.

The Queen Vic was where it was at the rest of the night, except that the dancefloor just got too packed at Shitwifes set so I bounced into the Face Room and caught a good bit of Distance instead.  That had been a clash that I'd been agonising over so I was actually sort of glad that it basically sorted itself out.

I caught about the first 25 minutes of Remarc bouncing around the right hand side of the Face Room with Jessica and Al from Squire of Gothos.  Thats probably one of my abiding visual memories of the festival.  If you don't know my mate Jess she's reasonably petite and has quite brightly coulored strawberry blonde hair and Al is this incredibly huge guy with long arms and legs.  Jess and Al are good friends and you could see that in the way they were moving around in relation to each other.  Between that, the physical disparity between them and the rinsing Amens flying around the room that wee moment there was something just really fun and cute and there was also something completely bad ass about that wee moment in there it was just pure Bangface.

Big Al is quite a sound fella himself. Everytime I see him at gigs or festivals he always recognises me as one of them mad Belfast ones and makes a point of saying hello.  I came down on the Sunday morning to the Queen Vic to catch a bit of Kushti McParty's set.  As the only Irish DJ still active this side of the Irish sea actually playing at Bangface he put up this thing on facebook to try and get all the Irish at the festival down for his set.  I'd bumped into a bunch of his mates in Southport on the Friday morning before the festival started and hung about with them for a bit and was looking to catch up with some of them, and a few of the Northerners had requested tracks on the page so I was expecting to see a couple of our crowd but nah, by the time I got down there at half past I was the only Irish of any type there.  Al was there though, he saw me and he come up an said hello and complimented me on my taste in films.  I was a bit taken aback by that for a second, like I do have an amazing taste in films like but like how did he know?  Then I remembered the film group on facebook run by my mate Kris, who is a promoter and has booked Squire a good few times to play in Belfast.  Then we just got chatting and stuff. He pretty much summed it all up "I've just been listening to sick beats all weekend". Right enough man.

I left about halfway through Remarcs set then went into the Queen Vic for Satan, found that the dancefloor had thinned out a bit and you could dance in certain parts of it, or if you fancied go down to the front and Mosh.  Now I'm obviously hard as fuck but I just didn't feel like like a mosh at that point so I hung back and danced about the middle in the general vicinity of Ben and Carolyn.  Satan dropped some great stuff, last tune was a really sick heavy-er remix of Bjork's Mutual Core.  I need to put some research in and find that tune, I need more of that in my life,

Then there was the Teknoist who aside from the wee technical hitch I mentioned earlier banged out some serious industrial hardcore, didn't play much off 'Hurricane (I wanted him to play Full Metal Teknoist because I still think its hilarious that its a remix of a Linkin Park track) but the stuff he was playing was all sweet.  And by sweet I mean breakbeats, gabber kicks and distortion, obviously

After that I was considering heading back to the chalets because up to this point in the day I hadn't seen Catherine at all and I just wanted to check in and say hello. I was just about to leave the main entrance when Cathal came in gave me a hug and was like "here, c'mon seee a bit of Ram Jam with us".  Now I've read up on my history of bass music and sound system culture and I know how important David Rodigan is to the cultural history of the world and everything so I have much respect for the man.  I saw him in Belfast at the CQAF in the Black Box January before last and he was dynamite, like older than old school, no beatmatching or mixing or any of that new fangled shite, got up introduced the song and banged it on.  And it was class as much because it was him and he was clearly loving life, he had more joy in his heart about this music than any smooth cool techno / house seemless beatmatching DJ ever could have and you could feel it radiating around the room.  In Belfast he dropped all the oldschool reggae classics, like pretty much any of the most famous reggae songs you could think of he played, and obviously his own one of a kind dub plates where the recording artist has re-recorded the vocals on the track to include them bigging up David Rodigan (and why not, he's a living legend, or better than that, living true cultural and social history) that was amazing.  Then he dropped a Damien Marley Dubstep remix at the end that I loved but seemed to confuse and annoy all the people over 40 in the room, which was like the majority of that gig and I suspect he might have just done it on purpose to clear the floor because the bouncers and security were giving him the death stare from across the floor at that point as he was like more than 25 minutes past their supposed closing time.

Anyway, I was sort of under the assumption that he would probably play that sort of thing again so it would be sweet if I missed a wee bit.  Like one of the original DJs and party promoters, one of the greatest in the world wouldn't know how to play to the crowd.  Yeah I can be a fucking idiot sometimes and this was one of those times, and if I hadn't bumped into Cathal things could have gone totally wrong.  He was absolutely unreal, banged out all sorts of dubstep, Jungle and D&B and guess what he had one of those one off Rodigan dubplates of?  Dub Phizix motherfucking MARKA!  When it started coming in I was like woah, nah that isn't, no actually yes it fucking well is -




Again, a long standing personal favourite ever since the first time Alan Grimshaw played it for us at a house party shortly after its relase that I've always wanted to hear but never actually heard on a proper club sound system (because you'd be lucky if you ever got anyone playing that sort of stuff at a gig in Belfast) blasted through the huge rack of speakers in the Bang Room, the sub bass tearing through the room.  Then when I heard Strategy's vocals in the second set of bars insert a wee sneaky Rodigan reference in the place of the usual lyrics I was like, yes they did that one just for him, fair play to them and fair play to him.  True masters of the arts know their history and rever the originators of the craft.

He kept on that tip, Dubstep, contemporary bass music and played a couple of quite nice recent subtle remixes of Bob Marley at the end.  Actually I think the last one was just the original cut of Is This Love?  Which seems to be a popular choice these days, Mala did it last track in his set at Life last year, Nightmares on Wax played it early on in his set in Aether & Echo​ earlier this year.

After Rodigan I dropped into the face room for Broken Note.  I've seen Broken Note three times.  When they played the Belfast electronic festival I missed a lot of their set, they started a bit late and we left early because Catherine had a splitting headache.  I saw them again at Boomtown and again at the Bangface Rave of the Pheonix.  So I've seen them a good few times but I saw the programme and saw they didn't clash with anything important so I thought aye sure why not?  I do love them and everything about their sound (Industrial bass music!) and in all fairness that one time I did DJ last year I dropped three of thier tracks in my set so yeah, I'm fan.  There was something about this time that was just different, or a little bit special.  I've never seen Tommy move around behind the decks like that bouncing around absolutely loving it, loving being at Bangface really giving it stacks.  And he dropped the 16 Bit Remix of Machine Gun by Noisia.  Again, I love that song, have been listening to it for years, used it in my own Dubstep mix (which is up on my Youtube Channel and Mixcloud) never actually heard it in a club.  Amazing track, it just sounds like the end of the world, the music of devestation, the Robot Uprising, that drop is probably what the last human hears coming at the end.  Sick fucking tune.  They played a lot of their other rinsers too, the sort of ones that the other guy that used to be in Broken Note (and 16 bit at one point) used to take the lead on the production of - or so I've been led to believe.  Tommy was switching it up and down seamlessley between two step industrial bass into the drumstep-y stuff into the rinsers throuought the set but that was pretty much going on continuosly.  He played The Fury at the end, a personal favourite that I've only actually heard before the once on a proper rig, and that was the time I played it last halloween in the Catalyst second to last tune of the set.  The relentless raining snares on the drop again just sound powefully apocalyptic.  Absolute devestation.

After Broken Note​ I went into the main room to see Ed Rush.  I can't remember if Shane and Kevin had been with me for Broken Note (possibly at the end?) but they were with me for Ed Rush.  I remember explaining to Kevin that like a good few of the artists on the lineup this year the guy they were listeing to was considered the originator of the genre of electronic music he's known for producing.  In this case Techstep.  I've never seen Ed Rush before and I heard he was still on great form these days, and I do like a bit of Techstep, you knock about with Kris​ long enough you do tend to get the bug, its infectious :)  Actually in all seriousness thinking back on it, I remember back a good couple of years ago just when I started making the transition from knocking around the goth scene to going to the odd ravey thing hearing Kris play Techstep at his own nights and that time he opened for Black Sun Empire at the End Club like before I'd even properly met him just hearing that sound and not really being able to articulate exactly why or what it was in it that I liked but just knowing it was great.  It was something that opened me up to wider electronic music culture.  So aye I've come to embrace the techstep.

Ed Rush absolutely smashed it, just solid Techstep rinsers, flying breakbeats and basslines for a solid hour.  By this time unfortunately it was quite late and I was beginning to flag.  I reckon I might have been sitting down at the back with Kevin for at least 20 minutes of the hour set just raving the bit out from the waist up.

I was definitely up for the last bit though when he spun through a couple of modern Techstep classics, Upbeats and Messiah (I think it might have been the Noisia remix but I always get it and the original confused).

Following him Alec Empire, again an artist I've seen a couple of times, Once at a fucking terrible festival in Belgium called Tribes Gathering, once in the Black Box in Belfast (I thought he was alright that time but Cathal had seen him a good few times up to that point and he wasn't impressed) but this time was by far the best.

I think this was the set where me Shane and Tommy Palmer were knocking about just the three of us.  One of the few photos of the festival on my phone camera (yeah I never think to take photos when I'm out, like I never even got one of us four from the 290 kill squad all together) was of me and Shane taking turns wearing some random Cyber Goth Flourescent dreads on a hair band.

Shane stayed and caught the beginning of Producer but he was flagging while my tactical sit down rave at Ed Rush had given my legs back the energy to keep on it.  Again, Producer was on banging form, but then who has ever seen DJ Producer play a bad set? he's legendary for being one of the most consistent DJs in any genre of electronic music.  And apparently for being sound as fuck.  You see that Mr Funk and Mr D James, just because you are the best in the world at what you do doesn't mean you have to get on like a twat.  Can't remember who I was with but I wasn't on my own, I think Joe at one pont.

Anyway at this point I had bumped into Tommy and Ciara, none of us really felt like going to bed at this point so none of us quite felt like sleep so I asked if I could call at my chalet to grab something or other and then we'd bounce around and see who else was up.  I'd had a good saturday at Bangface and just the only thing missing was that I hadn't seen my wee sister all day, but then it was quite late, I didn't think she'd got much sleep on the friday so I'd imagined she probably would hve gone to bed by that stage and was yp for doing a mission to hers to check but wasn't holding out much hope.  So, knowing the other lads would be sleeping when I came in I asked Tommy and Ciara to wait outside while I grabbed whatever it was I was getting.  When I came out Ciara was like, here, I think I've just seen your sister head into that chalet there, number 303.  In my head I was like actually I remember sitting with her last night talking to a guy who was mates with one of the Irish ex pats going on about how chuffed him and his mate were at getting chalet 303 Aciiiiiiid!

So we bopped down, knocked the door and there she was!  Saturday was then absolutely made compete, much thanks to Ciara because without her I'd have missed Catherine crossing the courtyard into that flat.

So we then spent a couple of hours hanging out with the 303 Geordies, one of whom I'd met at the last two Boomtowns the rest of the guys I didn't know but they soon got to know us.  Through the medium of bass, beats and sexism that is - Ghettotech!

Catherine cut a sweet deal with them, she would come to thier chalet with a portable speaker and play some music for them as long as she got to pick the tunes.  They were ameanable to this, which is probably just as well as if they hadn't been the same thing would likely have happened, and that thing?  Yes, Ghettotech!

So that was how we had our fun that morning.  At one point Catherine was lamenting the lack of any Ghettotech being played at Bangface, which actually wouldn't be unheard of, Godfather had played at the 2011 weekender after all, and I was like, hang on isn't Dave Shades playing the Queen Vic tomorrow, Checked the programme and indeed he was.  (Bassline / Breakcore hybrid)-Ghettotech!

At some point I went to bed for a power nap and set my alarm to get me up in time to see Kushti McPardy​ in the Queen Vic.  I've already said how that one went.  After that I went for a wee dander and met some people, including the Plaid loving Dutch guys I talked about at the beginning of this post, which seems like a long time ago now doesn't it?

Came back in at sixish PM saw my Sister in the smoking area with the 303 Geordies ran round gave her a hug and headed back into the rave.  At the front right of Bass Clef I found Fred, one of the 303-ers that I'd spent a good bit of time speaking to in their chalet last night.  I wasn't actually for stopping but he was saying Bass Clef was playing unusualy upbeat dancy stuff, so I stuck around and raved the bit out with Fred. It was all great stuff, Bass Cleft was still knocking about throwing in bits and pieces of live intruments to the mix but all the stuff wasn't the sort of chill dubstep he's known for, it was like fast world-music-y rhythms and beats.  I'm not over familliar with Latin Freestyle, or Moombahton or some of the other national trad deriviatives coming out of South America at the minute so I can't say what it was exactly but I've a feeling it was one of those.  Again if anyone reading this was there for or has heard Bass Clef doing this type of stuff before do comment because I'd be interested in knowing.

So after that it was time for Ghettotech! (Or well near enough).

So I went to Queen Vic to hear Dave Shades just starting, took a look around no Catherine, I was concerned that she might be missing the Ghettotech so I took a tour round all the rooms and reception and there was no sign, I was just at the back of the dancefloor on the Queen Vic wondering if I should maybe take a quick run up to her chalet or stick around here and resign myself to the possibilty of her not showing up on her own when I saw a familliar Jake The Dog yellow Hoodie appear out of the corner of my field of vision.  Ghettotech!

"Dave Shades is amazing, its like Bassline and Ghettotech fucked and had a mutant baby".
~Cat McV c.2015

So we found a good spot at the top left of the dancefloor and me and her bounced around to Dave Shades, loving it.

On the way home in the bus station that takes you to the airport I was chatting to another Bangface attendee and I asked him what his favourite thing had been this weekend and he didn't talk about any of the Djs or acts but about the sunday morning when him and his mates went down to the beach to watch the sun come up over the sea.  Now I didn't do anything quite like that but it made me think about "Best" in terms of the experience and the emotional resonance of the moment rather than just the aesthetic, because the music was just un-real all weekend.  I caught the last half hour of X&Trick by accident because of the way the shedule was arranged, never heard of him before, and had no idea who he was, blew me away with a couple of his productions, like the one that I'll be trying to find when I get this post done, the one that uses the Ghost in The Shell music.  But back to my original point.  When thought about what your man said and I assessed things in terms of being meaningful us two bouncing aroung in the Dave Shades set was the first thing to come into my head.  So the best set I would say that I saw all weekend was probably Dave Shades.  As much for personal reasons, as for the tunes.  Not that you could fault the tunes like, he played Bassline Ghettotech hybrid stuff with similar production to what you'd hear in Off Me Nut tunes but Ghettotech rolling rhythm and his own very random hip-hop vocal samples, incluing one which I particularly enjoyed that used the first line from Wu Tang Clan Shame on a Nigga intercut with BBC News storys about Chris Huhne, into some Vengaboys which actually went off into some heavier stuff into the last 15-20 minutes of the set which was mostly Ghettotech-Gabber.

After the set Catherine went off for a bit, I dandered around and ended up watching Reeps One in the Bang Room with Joe Griff.  That was fucking sick and impressive watching this guy just make this music all these other people had rocked up at this festival with stacks of equiptment to make just out of his mouth.  All the complexity of beats and basslines going at the same time like just out of the interaction of his mouth and a mike dropping in and out of genres, bass music, drum and bass, techno, glitch hop hardcore even.  Definitely a contender for most impressive thing of the weekend.

After that I was like fuck Roni Size, fuck Spongepusher, I was never a fan of Mr Size and I've been reliably informed that Squarepusher​ is fucking shit these days, and arguably never was all that anyway (and he's headlinging loads of festivals, enjoy it peasents!).  So I said to my chalet mates that we'd just be better heading to the Face room for Audiotist and Wan Bushi. They were somewhat invested in the notion that Squarepusher wasn't going to be fucking terrible (ah, was I ever so young?) so they said they'd come along for a bit anyway then check out a bit of Suarepusher.  So we did, as I mentioned catch, by accident, catch the last half of X&Trick really class, Acid-y 303 driven hardcore beats, almost like happy hardcore but not quite.  Audiotist was amazing, hadn't heard of him before I saw him on the lineup and checked out some of his stuff, and it was indeed good. Some of it was a bit Novelty-Breakcore but with Squarepusher in the other room, it does ye.

About this point I managed to lose my keys.  I was sitting at the far end of the face room talking to this girl and her mate. She was telling me about having teddys when she was a kid.  I took my keys put of my pocket to show her the Gizmo from Gremlins on my key chain, which I have because when I was a kid I had a Gizmo stuffed toy that was like my main teddy for years.  That led us on to talking about films and we ended up talking for ages, we exchanged phone numbers and I took down their names on my phone to get in touch with them through Facebook.  Later on I realised that my key was gone I went back to the face room where we'd been sitting and they weren't there.  I went to security and spoke to lost and found, gave in a description.  Eventually when I got back to Belfast I finally got my phone back on charge I got loads of texts and messages through, including mixed calls and text messages including one from them telling me that they found my keys and were looking for me.  I texted them back immediately asking what had happened and they told me they'd given up looking for me and handed the keys into security.  Sweet, Wrong-tins best have my keys when I call them in the morning or shits going to fly.

Anyway after the music was over I managed to find Catherine again, ended up with her, Joe and some of Joes Chalet mates, blasting Ghettotech into the wee hours.

So that was it for another year. The check out process was all sorts of fucked up compared to the last couple of years.  Getting off site after a festival is never exactly pleasent but this was an absolute head fuck.  As I said at the time "Sort your fucking shit out".  At one point I was queuing with Shane, but he asked me if if he could just split back to the other guys and our bags since there was no point in the two of us queuing and He'd done all that melt to get the keys when we where checking in (back in the day when I was illegally entering the queen vic without a wrist band, grooving to bassline and loving life).  That seemed entirely reasonable, and in retrospect it actually was.  However I came to rue my generousity of spirit, like in all fairness I doubt that him being there would have made the situation any better I was losing my voice and too tired to be any crack anyway, but at the least I could have the pleasure or watchimg another human being suffer, as I have suffered!

But aye that fucking deposit retireval system needs sorted for next year, considering how delicate you get after a three day breakcore festival I'm surprised there weren't any freak outs, attempted suicides or just actual shite-attacks.  Or at least there hadn't been by the time I got off site, I wouldn't rule it out.

Bangface never really even ended near enought all the way home, at every stage of the public transport system all the way back to the airport and even up to the departure lounge there were other Bangfacers milling about or sitting down.  I met Fred 303 again in the train station, got talking on the train to some guys from London including a Breakbeat Punk-Jungle producer called Tom who makes music as Doctor Colossus who apparetly knows my mate Matt​.

So yeah, that was pretty much the story of the weekend, with certain details that were not meant for public consumption redacted.  Looking to the future, I have potentially two gigs playing Industrial music at home potentially happening subject to me being able to get the dates required off work and other circumstances. A new laptop with enough RAM to handle  TRAKTOR​ 2.0 with minimum fuss and a halfway decent job that will allow me to afford a decent ish USB controller of my own.  My skin is still in too delicate a state to do camping festivals so Boomtown is still fucked (which is a bit of a shit one, because Forbidden Society, Noisia​, The Bug and Flowdan, Dillinja and a load of other artists on my "I need to make this happen" list are already on the lineup) but on the upside I always said Machinefest looks like my perfect festival and I said I'd go if I could ever find one other person I knew that was going. Susan Blue​ the amazingly class woman with blue hair from Sheffield I met when I was covering Infest for Decompression Magazine​ (RIP) last year who was also a Bangface regular goes, I know her and she said it was cool if I tagged along with her this time around and was nice nice enough to fill me in on some of the festivals details like what people do for accomodation and some of the other practicalities when I got speaking to her over the weekend so thats definitely on the cards and it'll be interesting to see who else I might get to go with me.

So onwards and upwards.

Does Ye!
Fuck Broadstairs!


*Update 9/4/15, am now in touch with Pete, Amy and Terry

**Update 3/4/5 - Hadean is not a girl

***Update 25/03/15

The Thrasher thing explained-