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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bye Bye to the Vic Bar

The Vic Bar, Renfrew St, from outside.

We have been having a countdown over at Menergy as we led up to our last party (and second-to-last public party EVER) at the Glasgow School Of Art's Vic Bar, and as I write this on the Monday after the party I have had time to reflect on the venue and what it means to me.

I have to say I fricken love the Vic Bar - I have been going since I got to Glasgow in 1997. I didn't attend the Art School itself, but the Vic and the Assembly Hall upstairs were by far the coolest student unions in a town with many. Being there I felt plugged in to the kind of vibrant youth culture I left Ireland to find. I would regularly attend Hi-Karate on a Thursday evening (where pints were only a pound and getting drunk was pretty compulsary), where a great mix of hip-hop, house and what was called "big-beat" was played. This was also back in the days when smoking was legal in clubs, and it's safe to say we smoked many joints on that black and white dancefloor, shuffling around people to dodge the security and their twitching noses. This is a tune that reminds me of those times:

Tim "Love" Lee - Again Son

Saturdays back in my day were hosted by Knucklehead upstairs and the mighty Divine downstairs (Divine are hosting the last ever public party at the Vic next weekend, and rightly so). Knucklehead was my first ever experience of proper "raving", as it were (oh listen to me - but I mean raving not just going out dancing. I had my first "drug" experience there, beyond simply smoking a joint. It was speed, it was cheap, nasty and the comedown was pretty boggin. Banging my foot on the floor for four hours while relentlessly chewing gum turned out to be not my thing really, but it was an experience from which some proper friendships were formed. And not in the ways expected.

Divine was much more my bag musically, opening my ears to the delights of funk, soul, and even some post-Austin Powers/Blue Note easy listening. The atmosphere was more mellow, and while Knucklehead worked in the big, empty, dark, dingy Assembly Hall upstairs, Divine felt like a little oasis in the Vic Bar. Here are some tracks I associate with both clubs, whcih should illustrate my point:

Thomas Schumacher - When I Rock

Ananda Shankhar - Jumpin' Jack Flash

Props too to my homeboys Mungo's Hi-Fi, who moved to the Arty after their legendary stint at the Woodside social club in Kelvinside. Many great Mungos have I had there, especially when they moved downstairs to the Vic and the bass became even more physical and intense in the smaller space. There were some immense gigs there, including the legendary Sister Nancy and Warrior Queen, not to mention the wicked Mungo's album launch party with Kenny Knotts and Mikey Murka - which managed to change my flat mate's mind about live MCing in a club context. It was at Mungos too that I could most readily see the generational shift in clubbing. It developed from (my own background of) ecstasy and house/techno to dubstep and ketamine, going far beyond the simple pleasures of dub/dancehall and weed which had always been my default favourites. NOw kids sway and brrrap as their pants slowly fall down and their guts wobble. I don't find it to be about dancing and it leaves me bored. But hey ho, I am old now, so maybe that's my job. Here's a Mungo's clip from the Assembly Hall:

Mungo's Hi-Fi, Kenny Knotts & African Simba - Please B Digital

Our Norave freshers party in the Vic last September was amazing fun, managing to draw in 200 people on a Tuesday night to listen to a mixture of indie-rock, post-crunk, stoner metal and abstract electronica. We got three live acts on that were all awesome - Hillary Van Scoy's wry and moving Blood Of The Bull, the brutally brilliant heavy jams of Holy Mountain, and one of my favourite producers, Joe Howe aka Ben Butler and Mouse Pad. It was at Norave in the Vic that me and Joe actually got to perfomr for the first time our collaboration "Infinite Capacity" and considering we had no rehearsals it went remarkably well!

Our Menergy tenure in the Vic has gone amazingly well too, better than I could have hoped for. We seem to have really made a connection with our crowd, musically and aesthetically. They lap up the gay disco we throw at them, and we have managed to create a safe space for people not to feel like freaks or weirdos, and where they can experiment with different sides to their personalities. Even when Menergy hasn't been super-busy we've still had a full dancefloor at the end with people braying for one more tune. This has really proved to me that what we are doing is the right thing, and that if we can do it there we can do it anywhere.

You'll have heard a bunch of Menergy mixes and edits by now on here and on Menergy.tv so here's my mini Norave mix from last September instead:

Bring The Noise Mix NORAVE PROMO by theniallist

It's safe to say the Vic holds a special place in my heart - I really will miss that chequered dancefloor, those rattly windows, the wonky PA and the watered down beer. Even though I am too old to really be in the loop now I will still miss meeting my mates in there, having a good dance, and hopping outside to smoke a wee bifter while avoiding the attention of the door staff.

It has been an honour and a joy to be involved in the Vic in the last year of its existence, and to take our Norave and Menergy ideas/vibes and see them work so well in what has been my favourite venue in Glasgow. Here's hoping that what goes up in its place is just as good!

Menergy door queen Peaches the worse for wear on the Vic Bar's steps

Monday, 30 May 2011

Joyce v Yamaha

So Joyce D'Vision played a set at David Hoyle's Beachy Head last night - unfortunately Noel Order's keyboard kept cutting out, leading to an unexpected turn of events. Here is the story in pictures:

Uh oh...

And the crowd went wild!

Except for No. 1 all photos by Lee Baxter at hip-replacement.com.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Dangerous Minds May 24th - 29th

Crazy days! Only ONE article from me on Dangerous Minds this last week! Travel + Menergy + Joyce D'Vision = hectasm. But back to normal service this week though.

Information Wars: Twitter versus English privacy laws

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Countdown to the LAST VIC PARTY #0 - Exclusive DEN HAAN Re-Edit

Cross posted from Menergy.tv.

To round up the countdown here is an exclusive re-edit of Den Haan by The Niallist - grab it while you can!

DEN HAAN Universal Energy (Niallist MNRG Re-Edit) by theniallist


Friday, 27 May 2011

Countdown to the LAST VIC PARTY #1 - Black Devil Disco Club ft Nancy Sinatra FREE DOWNLOAD

Cross posted from Menergy.tv.

Yes, those lovely people at Lo Recordings have allowed us to give away to our readers the current single by the amazing Black Devil Disco Club, featuring none other than drag heroine Nancy Sinatra! The queen of boots and the king of electodisco - both long time favourites of Menergy - what is there not to like?

Taken from the currently available "To Ardent" EP, this is a radio edit of the excellent remix by Grosvenor. Other remixes on the EP come from Logo, Vitamin Wig C and our good pals Horse Meat Disco. To hear the rest of the single (and to buy it, hint hint) go here - but for now whet your appetite with this free track:

BLACK DEVIL DISCO CLUB ft NANCY SINATRA To Ardent (Grosvenor's Radio Edit)

Nancy looking Fabelhaft back in the day:

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Still loving Beyonce

Thought Beyonce was over? Thought her crown was stolen by Lady Blah Blah? Well, sorry haters and doubters, just watch this and tell me she is not the best female performer on the planet:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Joyce D'Vision LIVE @ David Hoyle's Beachy Head

This Sunday!! Which is a Bank Holiday remember... At Platt Fields chapel, admission is only £6 and there will also be mermaids, hulahoopers, Will'n'Rick performing live, oiled wrestlers and US!

More details on Facebook. Be there

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Watchu lookin at?!

Love these pics! Photos of the street gang Joe assembled for his appearance on May The Best House Win (due for broadcast in December) featuring Joyce D'Vision, Kurt Dirt, Sheela Blige, Sahara Dolce and Les Akimbo.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Noughties - WTF Just Happened? 2002: A Golden Age

The latest chapter in my examination of the music of the last decade is up now on Weaponizer:

"2002, how shall we define thee? With dance acts or with rock bands? Because that's where my head was at the time - a child of early Nineties rock who had fallen happily in love with the dance culture of the late Nineties, and could now feel them both fighting for custody of my very identity. As a music producer I was heavily influenced by hip-hop and house, yet I was still obsessed with the careers of Lou Reed, Brian Wilson, Neil Young and David Bowie. However romantic those artists appeared to me I didn't want to follow in their paths, because sonically I was still entrenched in the dance music camp, having long given up on rock as bringing anything new and exciting to the table. And that was as true in 2002 as any other year.

Last year's hot new (old) thing The Strokes are still riding high on the crest of the retro-rock wave, but a new band of better dressed garage-rock scamps was coming up the rear to challenge their position. I first saw them on Later with Jools Holland and was impressed by their matching suits and bravura performance that included jumping into the (usually restrained) crowd. They were The Hives, and they gave good show. Signed to ex-Creation boss Alan McGee's then-new Poptones label, The Hives' first official UK release was called "Your New Favourite Band" and was a compilation of previously released tracks from their native Sweden. A Swedish friend informed me that they had been releasing and touring to growing success in Sweden for a few years already. I guess McGee saw that they had honed their act there and the time was right to launch them on the British market. It worked - for a while. The cheekily titled album had the effect it was meant to (converting a lot of new fans) but also bore with it the unwanted side-effect of making any subsequent release irrelevant. This pattern of only being relevant for one album was to be repeated throughout the rest of the decade in rock, and in music in general, reflecting the much higher turnaround of new acts and the shortening of the public's attention span. I'm not going to lay the blame for this pattern completely at their feet (hello Stone Roses?) but they are a pretty good example of it in action.

I managed to blag my way into a Hives gig at the Barrowlands in 2002, and while it wasn't bad, it irked me because they only played for half an hour to artificially drum up calls for an encore. They probably would have got a great response anyway, and to me therein lies their problem. The Hives aren't a bad band, but it seemed to me their signifiers of cool outweighed the actual coolness they had. And they did have it. Another factor in why I only liked them for a nano-second was that my Sweidsh friend passed on to me a cassette (which I duly copied onto Minidisc - remember them? Minidisc was my format for a good few years, I made all my early work on a four track Minidisc recorder) compilation of original '77-era American punk and garage. I still have it and I still love it, and it made modern rock of the period seem more obsolete than ever."

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, 20 May 2011

House Machine "1990" ft Loleatta Holloway

The last new tune of the week from the batch I finished up last weekend. This is a staple of my House Machine live sets but now comes with added Loleatta Holloway samples, which just seemed too good not to use. She was the REAL queen of disco to me, and one of the most sampled artists of all time. This is a recreation of that Strictly Rhythm sound from around the period of the title.

1990 by House Machine

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Niallist AKA LP: "I Like To Dance" ft Lester Greene, Tori Fixx & Bigg Nugg

Another updated version of an older tune, this time the hip-hop track "I Like To Dance" which now sounds like - guess what - 80's electro funk! Who'dathunkit? Featuring the excellent MC skills of Lester Greene and Tori Fixx, and soon to be joined by the Bigg Nugg himself:

I LIke to Dance by theniallist

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Niallist AKA LP: "Work It" ft Julius Seizure

Ding ding - round three! You'll have heard this one before, but now I have added a classic stuttering "work it" sample at the chorus:

Work It 2011 by theniallist

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Niallist AKA LP: "Needs" ft Ali Renault

Second song of the week from "AKA", this one was co-wrtten and produced by the excellent Ali Renault:

Needs by theniallist

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Niallist AKA LP: "Im Avoiding You" ft Mother Superior and Ben Butler

Everyday this week I will be uploading music from The Niallist's upcoming album "AKA". Here is the first track, the Le Trimm/JJ Fad influenced "I'm Avoiding You" featuring girl-pop supergroup MOTHER SUPERIOR (Camille Lorigo, Laura Charlotte Dray, Jellifur Funk & Hillary Van Scoy) on vocals and additional sexy synth flourishes by BEN BUTLER & MOUSE PAD:

I'm Avoiding You by theniallist

Dangerous Minds May 8th-15th

Very inquisitive this week - why do half these headlines end with a question mark?

From Heaven With Love: Download the best of Lizzy Mercier Descloux for free
Raver Kid reacts to Bin Laden's death
'She’s Mad’ - the worst song of all time?
Is 8 years old too young to get Botox injections?
Fucked Up - the best live band in the world deliver the single of the year?
‘Streetwise’ - excellent 1984 documentary about homeless kids

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Post Fucked Up pics

A group of us were walking back from the Islington Mill and I was carrying the Joyce D'Vision boombox when we decided to take some pics:

Friday, 13 May 2011

Fucked Up - the best live band in the world

Went to see Fucked Up last night and as per usual it was fucking awesome. Their next album David Comes To Life is sounding reaaaally good so far. I felt compelled to write this piece for Dangerous Minds:

Fucked Up are the best live band in the world right now. And you can take that to the fucking bank. Last night I saw them again, playing in Manchester, and even though I dithered about going all day, the second they launched in to their first song I knew I had made the right decision. Even the old ex-punks and the hard rock daddies agreed, showing their appreciation with beer-bellied body slams and hardcore dance moves they hadn't busted in 20 years.

Fucked Up are a band who inspire genuine devotion in their fans, a reaction that goes much deeper than than simply liking the music and thinking they are pretty cool. They connect with their audience at a primal level. Singer Pink Eyes spends about 85% of the show in the crowd doling out as many sweaty bear hugs as he can manage. Their moshpits are intense but friendly and positive. They don't hector their crowd or treat them like idiots, and they don't use macho posturing to prove any kind of credentials. They are inclusive. You don't come away from their show feeling weak and inadequate because some guy is over compensating for his white-bred privilege. If, as Richard stated the other day, Henry Rollins is the punk rock Charles Manson then Pink Eyes is the punk rock Santa Claus. And I'd rather get a present than get stabbed.

Matador are currently gearing up to the release of the next Fucked Up album David Comes to Life on June 7th (US, June 8th UK) with four digital releases available to buy or download for free at 192 kbps. David Comes To Life is a 78 minute rock opera set in 80s Thatcherite Britain and if these tracks are anything to go by this album is going to be really good - "The Other Shoe" is already a very strong contender for single of the year.

Fucked Up - "The Other Shoe" Download here

Fucked Up - "A Little Death" Download here

Fucked Up - "Ship Of Fools" Download here

Fucked Up - "Queen Of Hearts" Download here



For more info on David Comes To Life visit davidcomestolife.com, or check out the Matador Records blog. I have to be honest with you guys - I haven't been genuinely excited by a rock band in about, ooh, at least a decade. More. But Fucked Up are making me fall in love with rock music all over again. If you ever get the chance to see their shows, do it!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Supporting MEN on June 8th

Wait, what happened to the post I put up yesterday?! That's odd - well here it is again I guess.

W00t! I'm supporting JD Samson's MEN live at the Islington Mill on the 8th of June - I'm very excited about this as MEN are awesome. I'm gonna have tp put on a good show...

Tickets are £6, more info on the gig can be found here:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

More on Bear culture

Joe and I about to watch the bear tug o'war.

Recently my mate Richard Morris asked me some questions about Bear culture for a feature he is writing on the scene and how it has changed.

Richard writes for the website Soundblab and also has an excellent blog (and fanzine) called Bacon Zine. Both are really worth checking out.

To read my answers in full, click this ugly link/jump/cut thing.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hogmanay 2010

A couple of pics by Laura Charlotte Dray from last Hogmanay at the 85A party in Glasgow, with Camille Lorigo and Brian O'Neill. Good times!

Friday, 6 May 2011

New TRIPPY DISCO Soundcloud page

I've put the entire back catalogue of Trippy Disco productions up on Soundcloud for people to listen to. This includes the "My Summer Holidays" EP on Radius (inc Miami Playa), two releases on Little Rock, and a bunch more tunes that were slated for a Radius album release in 2007.

Trippy Disco by Trippy Disco UK

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Manchester Bear Bash 2011

So, it was Bear Bash last weekend here in Manchester. That means there were even more fat, beardy men in town than usual, more otters, more cubs, pandas, daddies and Santas, most of them congregating outside the Rembrandt on Canal St and making their way to Legends and/or The Eagle after dark.

I myself ventured to Legends on Sunday night for the Bear Bash Foam Party. It got messy. Literally. While my eyes were agog as I had never seen so many bears in one place before, for some unknown reason I found the whole thing to be distinctly unsexy. I don't know why that is. Maybe because there is no mystery? Maybe it's the sight of so many hard, butch-looking guys mincing around the dance floor to bad house from 1996? Maybe it's because when we all get together being a "bear" seems not like something to make one unique and different from the herd (what I like about it), but instead it becomes a physical signifier of pure conformity?

It was good to catch up with some bears from Glasgow, though from what I heard the music at the Fur Ball went down like a fart in a spacesuit. Having one room of music so no escape can't have helped, but it was also the choice of DJs that proved unpopular. Guys, I will DJ for you! :-D Apparently the numbers have been dwindling over the last few years, and from speaking to people it seems like it will continue that way unless Manbears (the organising group) do something special to pull it back together.

Whatever, I still had fun, tainted as it was with a slight whiff of Tragedy.

But I'm glad there is only one photo of me from Sunday, taken by Craig Parker. And you can't even see my face!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"AFRICA KWEEN" - a new project

L&G, we give you the township-funk ghetto rap supagroup AFRICA KWEEN! The look, the idea and the record sleeves are all done. Now we just need to write and produce some actual music.

Here's the cover for their first single, the club smash "Egypt" (ft Egyptian Lover remixes):

Here's the sleeve for their debut album "Kween Africa":

Here's a free promo shot (for press enquiries email africakweeeeeen@gmail.co.af):