Events

Fuzz for Freaks – August Bank Holiday in Brighton 2014

August bank holiday is synonym with the mod pilgrimage to Brighton, a massive migration of hyper accessorized and pimped up scooters, but this year something was lurking beneath the green tide of parkas and amongst the hip suited gents crowding the sunny little town: the fuzz sect was in for a blitzkrieg!

And I, was called, along with fellow high priests (introducing – George Martin  “Theme One”) Alexander Cozzi Lepri of Embrooks fame , Andy Roseaman and Our Lady Holly Calder of the Glaswegian Church of Lysergic, to celebrate the heretic ritual.

First act took place at the Volks, under the arcade on Brighton seafront. There was the usual buzz of mods gathering, some veterans of the night before, some others just arrived and keen to open up the weekend and start the prelude drinking antics in the warm afternoon sun.

To shake this nearly pantheistic idyll here they came, from south France, Les GriGris. Glowering under their fringes, a riotous gang of five took over the stage. Thrilling the air with their mendacious raw rhythm and blues, the way it was, the way it should be, these chaps made their sweaty set of classic covers and standards and, believe me, the word that first arose in mind was “Authentic”!

Singer was sporting a deerstalker hat, Don Craine style, and it was pretty obvious what they were going to deliver… harmonica fuelled stormers from the likes of “Baby what you want me to do” and “Maybelline”, the sort of trembling guitars and raucous vocals renditions that would make the Strypes cringe, and make the Pretty Things, the Primitives and  Wally Tax’s Outsiders proud parents; and with lead guitarist Romeo Kizmiaz casting  pure hendrixian virtuosity and staging raving stunts definitely the best R&B act since the Jaybirds ruled the 90s. Mods around gave their nodding and finger tipping appreciation.

So the first night of Fuzz For Freaks was due to start and, before getting changed I managed, with Ale to have our own initiation passage rite and see the deepness of the obscure knowledge that comes before or in other words a pizza dinner with our very own god of hellfire Berto ‘d Sera.

The Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, the venue chosen for the night, had a massive cellar complete with stage and a nice bar. At 9 the music was already on, with Lady Holly setting the pace and putting the beautiful people in the right vibe for what had to follow.

They say they hailed from Birmingham but they seemed more like being catapulted straight from the Middle Earth club circa 1968, ladies and gentlemen: The Exploding Sound Machine!

Organ propelled, these folks, who I already have seen at the Blues Kitchen in Camden, were just outstanding as both in the outfits and sound. You instantly got tripped up in a music journey, an all round whirlpool of psychedelic colours and kaleidoscopic noyze. Impressive in the use of all studio trickery, phasing and reverberation they built up the acid frame to inlay the rest of the night.

The venue was packed and the crowd we keen to sweat to the deceiving sound of the swinging sixties and shake their hair to garage punk stompers which the DJ crew was shooting at 1000mph.

At 3am we had to put the word end to the show, but the fun was yet to finish and we moved to the main venue, the Komedia and joined the rest of hardcore dancers till I dunno, but the sun was already up and the seagulls screaming…

No rest for the wicked, so after just a handful of hours I got back to the Volks, which if possible was even more crowded than the day before. The glare of the chrome on the hundreds of scooters in the sunset was epic. So it was the dinner later…one of those memories you always recall with affection, relaxed atmosphere and top, top people were sharing it with me (you know who you were). Back to the B&B to refresh before heading to Sticky Mike’s again.

Two bands were scheduled for the big final. Local band The Dials played an eclectic mix of genres from more gentle pop with a hint of 60s to stronger rock material. The atmosphere was a bit quieter compared to the night before, no matter the second band, The Hypnotic Eye, thought well to shake it up a bit, their way.

Keeping faith to their name, all the audience was indeed staring like they were hypnotized by the seductive vocals of their lead singer. Despite the frantic guitar riffs of Lindsay Murray, another devoted follower of the holy church of the Sixties Underground, I wouldn’t define them as a garage band they don’t fit the role of a revival band, but make their own sound which mixes well their ancestral heritage to the new millennium age.

Hipswinging tunes restarted just after the gig and despite the wreckage of the energies exhumed the night before, people seemed to be tireless so much that once again, captained by psychedelic Rambo Berto, strolled back to Komedia once again at 3 am…

Dr Rob was smoothly conducting the night upstairs and was relieved to see all of us back, and not lost through the Brighton alleys which given our state and the hour could have been a possibility…

If we ever needed to tone ourselves a bit more help was on hand from Mr Royston, who in his kindness, turned up at 5.30 am with a last serving of jagerbombs! We definitely wanted to make the final rush of the weekend at a cavalry charge pace and danced till death!

That was awesome and will be repeated next year. I personally wanted to thank all the night creatures that turned up, the New Untouchables DJ team and all those who managed to chat and put a wide grin on my face. May the fuzz be with you!


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carlosesto

Carlo Sesto is a witty and cheeky character and a mod scene darling from many years standing. He runs the Casbah Candy Records, a mail order shop specialised in mod sounds and beyond. He is the face behind the Italian “Impossibles” mod list and events like “A Hazy Shade of Winter”. An avid collector and an international DJ, his contributions are due on books and compilations.

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September 18, 2014 By : Category : Bands Clubs DJs Events Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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Euroyeye 20th Anniversary

Gijon, Spain- 31 July 4 August 2014

Hundreds of Mods and 60’s lovers from around the World have gathered in Gijon every summer for the last twenty years for this unique festival in the northern Spanish province of Asturias. This means a great deal to us so we put probably the best line-up in our history together to celebrate this milestone.

Thursday kicked off in style with a free live gig in the main square of the city with local Spanish Soul band Attica Revolution warming up the 4000+ people with a great mix of originals and covers before Motown legend Brenda Holloway hit the stage for the first time in Spain and blitzed the audience with a magnificent performance. Brenda played almost the same set as Modstock covering big hits ‘When I’m Gone’, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ and ‘You Made Me So Very Happy’ and underground hits ‘Reconsider’, ‘Starting The Hurt’ and ‘Crying Time’. Two encores brought the show to close eventually leaving many happy smiling faces waiting for more action.

In truth the festival already begun a couple of weeks before with various art exhibitions and 60’s cult films which are free to visit for a whole month visit the website www.euroyeye.es to view the full program. The first of four allnighters was a short walk away from the main square and after some tapas washed down with local sidra I was ready for one of the hottest bands around right now The Night Beats from Texas. A loud hypnotic beat pinned by the bass and drums with psychedelic guitars and a great front man whipped the crowd into a frenzy and all too soon for me it was over. The night continued with DJ’s doing a sterling job playing sounds from cross the 60’s spectrum.

Friday morning came around far too soon, the first Scooter cruise was a big buzz as usual. The scooters gathered at the open day at Laboral with Lambrettas and Vespas from all Spain (and a few from abroad including Marco & Steve Groves & Friends from Scooter Emporium) at midday to enjoy the live shows, djs, stalls and exhibitions. After the acoustic gig of Nolan Porter and Neil Jones the exhausts of more than 120 scoots begun to burn west towards what some said was the best sights they had ever had on two wheels. A couple of hours everyone came back to the LAB for the exper-i-mental  Rubayat live 8:2 set, something that has never been done before in our scene.

Doors opened at 10pm for the second allnighter with UK band Stone Foundation which many readers here are familiar with making their Spanish debut. Needless to say they won the crowd over with songs from the fantastic new album ‘To Find the Spirit’ before another US Soul legend Nolan Porter also making his Spanish debut joined them on stage playing his scene faves and choice covers. After the live music the allnighter was wild with two dancefloors and the best mod and 60’s music played by over a dozen DJ’s from around Europe.

Saturday morning at 11am we decided to meet at a fantastic new place, all the vintage scooters gathered in what we call “El Rompeloas” (“wave-breaking wall”), in the sports port with the luxury yachts and fishing boats making a great background for nice pictures. After lots of shots and beers the long love (and loud) caravan headed East towards a “walk & ride” called the Claretian Route, almost coming to a stop at very old pathways in the hills near Luanco. The ride finished at the posh Golf Club of Castiello for a vermouth and great Asturian lunch, price giving, raffle and yet more beers, wine and sidra. Lambretta Club of Spain annual meeting also took place with interesting news for members, some of them I know you will love and enjoy very soon (agree, Andy?).

Then it was off to The Battle of the Bands as Sala Acapulco. After watching 4 great bands the winners were Gamonides, they will record a single at Circo Perrotti studios for free as well as getting the support slot at the allnighter on Saturday night. The heavens opened with torrential rain from early evening into the early hours of Sunday morning making an interesting evening on the terrace at the Oasis. Our headline band from La Coruna Fogbound with Fernando from the Elephant band on Hammond gave a great performance with strong originals and great covers like the Artwoods ‘In the Deep End’ which was appropriate for the Oasis swimming baths. The allnighter afterwards was frantic and really crazy ending gone past 8am with lots of people asking for more… not me.

My brains showed me white flag on the Sunday so no scooter action for me. Any fragile souls will have had their bones and brain shocked to the core when Graham Day & the Forefathers hit the stage ripping through over thirty years of Prisoners, Prime Movers, Solarflares and Gaolers material. The Catalan support Los Retrovisores played a mix of US and Spanish Soul and Pop with clever covers and great arrangements of the scene classics. The last allnighter was a blast again with a short break for Mr & Miss YeYe which are always chosen for their party antics over the last four days. Worthy winners were Raul from Andalucía and Amanda from Brazil. Champagne popped and crowns and banners fixed and it was time to party like it was the last one ever at the Oasis. Dr Robert was scheduled to finish at 6am and after about 5 encores with Esther Phillips ‘Just Say Goodbye’ and The Animals ‘It’s My Life’ the songs I can remember, the party was over for another year.

A fantastic restaurant was booked for everyone Monday to enjoy the local dishes and Sideria before their journey home.

Join us next year from 31 July to 3 August 2015 for EURO YEYE 21.

Pictures by: Eva Lussina Lopez Guisaraga
More photos and news at: www.euroyeye.es

Many thanks to all sponsors and all the artists, bands, djs and everybody involved in the organisation or simply everybody that made it to the yeye in these difficult times to create this unique atmosphere.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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September 18, 2014 By : Category : Bands Clubs DJs Europe Events Front Page Music Reviews Scene Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , ,
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NUTs – August Bank Holiday in Brighton 2014

I think the first time I really had an idea about how big Brighton would be this year was sometime around the beginning of June. It seemed as if everyone I spoke to from that time, kept telling me they were going to Brighton. Social media was awash with people ramping up the anticipation and excitement as the weekend got closer.

Ticket sales for Komedia were sold out months ahead of schedule. The Volks Tavern nights were equally snapped up so a new third venue, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was opened more on that later. By the time we got to the week leading up to the Bank Holiday, there were barely any tickets left for any of the venues. There was no better indication of how busy it would be as Friday approached.

Friday 22 August

I was at my day job for most of Friday and by 11am, I had to turn the sound off and put my phone away, such was the activity on social media regarding Brighton. All day I was receiving updates from those who got there early and every message I looked at said the same thing: Maderia Drive was packed with scooters and mods from lunchtime onwards. This was unprecedented for a Friday afternoon. There were always some, but never packed! I arrived in Brighton at about 8.30pm and made my way to The Dorset. It was busy already. An hour and a half later and it was heaving. I left to help get Komedia ready for the opening night party. It never ceases to amaze me how the Komedia staff are so well drilled that within minutes of the comedy night ending, the place is transformed and ready for a modernist party. The upper room was hosted by the Ham Yard DJs, while downstairs in the main room was the NUTS team including Chris Dale, Lee Miller and Rob Bailey and special guest Graeme Very.

Mingling among the smokers outside, even at midnight, there were still people desperate to find a spare ticket to get in! Needless to say, it was some party in both rooms and a perfect way to get the weekend started. As the revelers headed for their beds at 3am Saturday morning, thoughts turned to what promised to be a special day.

Saturday 23 August

Arriving at the Volks Tavern on Maderia Drive was something of a revelation at 11.30am. It was the first time the full magnitude of the weekend hit me. I could barely believe my eyes at the numbers of people and scooters already in attendance. There is no more impressive a sight than gleaming Vespas and Lambrettas lined up along that road, with the sea and pier as the backdrop. As the stall holders set up and the market got underway, the Volks became a hive of activity and it didn’t stop all day. Once outside, I went up the steps to the balcony walkway which is a popular vantage point to get a panoramic view of the masses below and what a sight it was! As someone mentioned to me, it was Saturday, but it felt more like a Sunday, such was the turnout. By 2.30pm, it was time for me to introduce the first band of the weekend. I confess I knew virtually nothing about them, other than Dr Robert telling me he had seen them in Spain some weeks before and they were awesome. It didn’t give me much to work with, but I blagged it a bit and Les Grigris hit the stage. They have that slightly shambolic late sixties Pretty Things look about them, but by heck they can play! It was not long before more and more people crammed into the Volks to get a glimpse of this band and their barnstorming set. It’s not just that they sound great, but these boys really put on a show, wandering through the audience whilst playing their full-on r&b laced, garage, freakbeat repertoire. They played two 45 minute sets and I think it’s safe to say their performance has already gained legendary status. As I said at the time when I returned to the mic at the end of their second set; “I think we have just witnessed one of those ‘I was there’ moments.” And I stand by that statement. The afternoon wound down at 5.30pm as everyone went off to prepare for the night to come. Les Grigris were the talk of the town for the next few hours at least.

My evening started at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar where the Fuzz 4 Freaks session was held. It’s a perfect venue for our psych-loving friends, a basement room, low ceiling and a great acoustics. I was on hand primarily to introduce the Exploding Sound Machine, the Birmingham-based outfit that had the audience enthralled with their brand of rich, textured, early-Floyd inspired songs. If Les Grigris set the standard earlier in the day, Exploding Sound Machine matched them in quality of performance, albeit, in their own style. From Sticky Mike’s, I made my way to Komedia with Rob Bailey heading in the opposite direction. By all accounts the Fuzz 4 Freaks was rocking all night. It was the same story at the Volks Tavern. Sarge from Scootering Magazine told me he’d never seen the Volks that rammed and in full-on party mode. As for Komedia? Astounding. Both upstairs and in the main room. Just astounding. The dance floors were never empty and the DJs produced the goods time after time. The buzz was palpable.

Sunday 24 August

11.30am again at Volks Tavern and, although some were carrying hangovers, the mood was one of relaxed enjoyment. The sun shone and ‘family day’ was well under way. It really was like a family day, a mod culture family day. Children, parents, first, second, third and fourth generation modernists all mingled, chatted, laughed, took photos, made new friends and reacquainted with old friends. The scooters were admired, inspected and talked about. The spectators gathered as 2pm arrived and the scooter competition got underway. Rob Bailey was assisted by Gary Milan and Gary Wall as judges and what a tough task they had. Spectacular barely describes the turnout, especially the Lambrettas.

Finally, the awards were made:

Best Vespa went to Simon Neale from Leamington Spa with his Silver GS160 – Reg: 286XUT.
Best Lambretta went to Cameron McKinnon from Kettering with his Green and White LI150 and sidecar.  – Reg: VSY706
Best Mod Scooter went to Barry Hewes from Lincolnshire with his Red TV175. – Reg: 865YUA.

At 3pm, the rideout got underway led by Peter Edwards from the Bar Italia Scooter Club. There seemed to be some confusion on-route, but when you consider the estimates were that between 750-800 scooters took part, we will be looking for more stewards next year.

As the Volks afternoon wound down, there were already people asking about tickets for Komedia. The demand was staggering. And so to the grand finale of the weekend. I had the pleasure of introducing The Dials and Hypnotic Eye at Sticky Mike’s. For those that didn’t get to see them, you missed a couple of brilliant sets from two quality bands. I would have to say the NUTS team enhanced their reputation for finding top-draw live talent after this weekend. All four were outstanding.

As I left Fuzz 4 Freaks to head over to Komedia, I got word that Volks Tavern was in full flow again, which was good to know. However, the atmosphere in Komedia was unbelievable. The main room was hosting the Northern Soul night, while upstairs was pure mod r&b. A fitting end to a magnificent weekend.

Three nights, three venues, countless scooters and people and a brilliant atmosphere all weekend from start to finish. That in itself says as much about the people who attended the August Bank Holiday as it does about us as organizers.

Our thanks go to the management and staff at Komedia, Volks Tavern and Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. To our sponsors, Jump The Gun and Rimini Lambretta Centre. To the entire NUTS team, but most of all, to all of you who came to Brighton. You made it one of the most talked about events of recent times. Social media has been flooded with positive feedback and great photos. So here is a word of advice; don’t leave it until the last minute to book your tickets for next year. Subscribe for FREE to the NUTS network here  to get your early-bird ticket notification.

Finally, a date for your diary. 28-31 August 2015. That’s when we do it all again.

Photos by:  Carlo Sesto & Paul Boddy 


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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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September 3, 2014 By : Category : Articles Events Front Page News Picks Scene UK Tags:, , , , ,
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Modstock 3 Saturday Night 2014 Review

Modstock 2014: 50 Years of Mod

Saturday Night: Kenney Jones (Small Faces and Eddie Phillips (The Creation) featuring The Stone Foundation

Sat 19 April 2014 @ 229 Great Portland Street

So, another Easter weekender… only this time with a difference. Can it really be fifty years of Mod?  The fact the movement began before my birth, existed right through my youth, and continues unabated into my middle age, is flabbergasting. Also, while some talk with wry humour about how some Modernist culture can be viewed in 2014 as ironically quaint and/or retro, I would counter that like all things of substance, it remains timeless, and while other questions may surface (more of which later), tonight’s performances were a testament to that ideal.

House band the Stone Foundation (the best white soul act from the Midlands since Dexys) are not only a fitting warm-up, but an attraction in their own right: there’s an effervescence  about their performance and their own horn-laden, energetic material, particularly “That’s The Way I Want To Live My Life”, that even suggests possible potential in, horror of horrors, the mainstream market. And as long as they don’t end up sounding like Alice Russell in the process I’ll be behind them.

An interval precedes the arrival of our first co-headliner, the writer of the air-slashing riffs that shaped a generation, and the first guitarist to play with a bow, inspiring some geezer called Page in the process: Eddie Phillips (for ‘tis he) is an old friend of NUTs, but he’s also been inactive awhile, making his return more exciting for those who missed his last appearance. And what an appearance it is. Dapper, sharing powerful vocals with SF frontman Neil Jones, and still as commanding as in any vintage clip, he powers through whirlwind renditions of “Biff Bang Pow” “How Does It Feel To Feel” “Painter Man” and “Making Time” to our aural and visual delight: anthems one and all.

Kenney Jones has had less prior involvement with NUTs, but that in itself makes his appearance an event. Short of Ian McLagan guesting (which some were still hoping for up til the final notes) this is as close as it gets to a Small Faces show, and the crowd go bonkers to the opening strains of “Afterglow Of Your Love” accordingly. Therefore, it also matters not that his vocalist resembles not a Mod but a “Brother Of True Metaaaal”: he acknowledges as much in self-deprecating jokes anyway, quips about how he should’ve “had a haircut before coming out” followed by offers from Foundationers to “hold him down and get the scissors”. Yet ultimately, with flares, chest-length locks and mike-shaking attitood (dude), his closest resemblance is to Humble Pie-era Marriott, with the voice to a tee: close your eyes during “Tin Soldier” or “Get Yourself Together” and it really could be him. And at an event like this, surely that’s half the point.

Like Phillips, Jones also looks impossibly youthful, and, whilst other veteran drummers (Rob Townsend, Graeme Edge) now use secondary skinsmen to embellish their beats, he remains powerful enough alone, rolling across “All Or Nothing” like a barrage of friendly fire. He loses brownie points for not rehearsing an encore (“Rollin Over” “Song Of A Baker” “Itchycoo Park” – pick any from a prospective hundred) meaning the band play “….Soldier” a second time, but deserves credit for putting this together on the hoof.

Three rooms after the British Legends show and I head to the beat basement with Dr Robert and guests (including Carlo Sesto) spinning an invigorating selection, including an ear-syringing cover of the Moody Blues’ “Ride My See Saw” by Los Mustangs, several homages to the prairies of Texan garage, and an inspired choice of Turquoise’s “Tales Of Flossie Fillett” as the end-of-night anthem which I hadn’t heard since the old “two floor” days at Mousetrap. Yes, THAT long ago.

 


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Dashing Drewe Shimon

Dashing Darius Drewe Shimon, aka just 'Drewe' 'Druid' or 'The Shim' to his mates, was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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July 7, 2014 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Rob Bailey Fuzz4Freaks (Brighton) Interview

01. Tell us about the name Fuzz4Freaks and the new event in Brighton this year 2014?

As the Mod weekender in Brighton grew over the last decade the need for a separate venue playing fuzzy sounds become apparent as tickets for the Komedia were snapped up by the Mods. We used to host these sounds in the Studio Bar at Komedia but folks of the paisley persuasion couldn’t get in last year.

02. You have some great young live bands playing?

We have three great young live bands from all over the UK. On Saturday young Psych band from Birmingham, the Exploding Sound Machine are getting a great reputation and have recently played a local festival with legends Donovan and Arthur Brown with glowing reviews. Check out their interview here for a better idea on what to expect from them.

I discovered local Brighton lads the Dials driving home listening to Radio 2 at 3am after Zoo Zoo one evening and heard this song which sounded like the early Floyd. The song finished and the DJ said that is a track from the Dials new album. The next day I got up and googled the band and found out they were from Brighton so it was fate that they should play, I am really excited to see these guys. Check their interview out on here also.

The Hypnotic Eye will add plenty of fuzz to the party proceedings with strong originals and some choice covers. All the bands have products available over the weekend and we recommend you save a few quid and support these acts.

03. What about the Venue?

I planned to use it last year but it never worked out. As soon as I saw it I was sure it would be perfect for this event. It’s a basement venue with low ceiling, wooden dancefloor, stage and well stocked bar at reasonable prices for a club. It’s reminds me very much of a Mousetrap but with a live music set up as well.

04. Can we expect a full on trippy lightshow?

You can expect kaleidoscope visuals and fog in the true psychedelic tradition.

05. What kinds of sounds will we hear? A top 5 perhaps to wet our whistles?

I picked a good cross section of DJ’s who all have their own style, cover a wide variety of underground sounds and will make everyone happy. Expect the party choons alongside new discoveries as well as the current in demand biggies.

Check out some of the other DJ’s profiles on here and our facebook event page will have regular songs posted HERE!

Here are 5 choons you can expect to hear from me over the weekend.

Black Lightening Light – The Shy Guys

Polka Dotted Eyes – The Snaps

High Flying Around – Legay

Now I Know – Met & Zonder

Lucifer Sam – Pink Floyd

06. Where can folks get their tickets from?

We got 200 tickets up for grabs each night and almost half have gone already. You can get your tickets HERE!

07. What is the current ‘Fuzz’ scene like and how has it changed?

There is a great mix of youngsters and scene stalwarts, always a friendly vibe and exciting times. Music is always amazing!

08. What kind of clothes will folks be displaying? Will it be quite ‘Dandy’?

No dress codes as some folks just dig the sounds and not the entire lifestyle but there will no doubt be plenty of dandy’s and dolls strutting their stuff.

09. Why Brighton and why this particular weekend?

It’s a great town easily accessible from all over Europe with great restaurants, a very continental café culture and plenty of accommodation. You can also travel back to nearby London throughout the night by train.

10. Any advice on places to stay?

visitbrighton.com for a range of accommodation to suit your budget. There is a student residence at Sussex University a short bus ride or taxi ride from the centre with a variety of rooms available from £18-£35 per person a night some rooms are also en suite HERE!

11. What about daytime things to do?

We have free daytime events both days from 1-5pm at the Volks with a mix of 60’s sounds, a market and live music on Saturday afternoon. Brighton is also great for shopping check out the various clothes and record shops in the lanes including the fab Jump The Gun. You also have all the tourist attractions like the Pier, Brighton Eye, Miniature railway and copious great restaurants all over town.

12. Will Fuzz4Freaks appear in other places at some point in the future, maybe even a Tour?

Who knows? Watch this space…

Web Links:

newuntouchables.com
newuntouchables.ning.com
facebook.com/thenewuntouchables

Next Events 2014:

Sat 6 September: MOUSETRAP ALLNIGHTER ‘Fuzz for Freaks’ @ Orleans 259 Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury Park, London N4 2DD (10pm-6am) Primest Garage/Freakbeat and Psych on the planet! DJ Dr Robert & guests

Sat 11 October: CROSSFIRE Allnighter London, 9pm-6am @ 229 The Venue,
Great Portland St.

Sat 13 December: MOUSETRAP ALLNIGHTER ‘Fuzz for Freaks’ @ Orleans 259 Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury Park, London N4 2DD (10pm-6am) Primest Garage/Freakbeat and Psych on the planet! DJ Dr Robert & guests


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admin

Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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July 4, 2014 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Interviews News Tags:, ,
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Modstock 3 2014 Review

Modstock 3, 17 – 20 April 2014

What a weekender Modstock turned out to be! Even those of us lucky enough to be part of the ‘on site’ team here at Nuts HQ had no idea just how great the event would be.

It all began with Squire, The Apemen and Secret Affair headlining on the opening night on Thursday 17th

229 The Venue looked spectacular after its recent makeover. The sound quality in the main room has improved no end and the stage looks even more imposing than it did before.

As the doors opened to the sizable queue that waited patiently outside, you could sense something special was about to take shape. It wasn’t long before our MC and DJ for the evening, Eddie Piller, arrived on stage to introduce the first band.

For those of the ’79 Mod revival era, Squire were just one of the unsung heroes of that time. Their brand of catchy mod-pop may have gone un-noticed by the mainstream at the time, but it certainly gained a large and loyal following throughout the 80s.

Frontman and songwriter Anthony Meynell, got things underway with ‘It’s A Mod, Mod World’ followed by another classic, ‘Face Of Youth Today’.

The crowd didn’t take long to warm up as Squire ran through a selection of their best material. Needless to say, ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’ was one of the highlights for many, but the set was also a reminder of just how good a songwriter Anthony Meynell is. “September Gurls’, ‘Jesamine’, ‘Does Stephanie Know?’ and ‘B-A-B-Y Baby Love’ mod-pop gems one and all and a great way to get Modstock off to a flyer.

Next up, The Apemen from Germany. By contrast to Squire, The Apemen were full on rockin’, rollin’ R&B. They ripped through their set which included ‘Getting Closer’, ‘Mrs Applegate’ and ‘Desdemona’. At one point the lead singer decided to jump off the stage and join the crowd (which is not uncommon with The Apemen), all of which went down very well.

Then it was time for the headline act. I have seen Secret Affair many a time over the years and like all bands, I’ve seen them have good days and the odd not-so-good. This performance, however, was quite possibly the best I have ever seen from them.

There was Ian Page, all confidence and assured vocal delivery. Beside him, Dave Cairns, the electrifying bundle of controlled aggression on lead guitar. Backing them is a very fine and talented band.

Secret Affair’s set was effectively split in two. The first part included tracks from their most recent LP ‘Soho Dreams’ mixed in with a few covers, the crowd-pleasing ‘Do I Love You? Indeed I Do’ had everyone singing along.

As Page and Cairns left the stage, the band played an instrumental ‘Black Cat’ from the aforementioned LP and it served very neatly as an intermission before Page and Cairns returned to deliver the classics of yester-year. ‘My World’, ‘Time For Action’, ‘Let Your Heart Dance’, ‘Glory Boys’, ‘I’m Not Free (But I’m Cheap)’. It was a fitting end to a fantastic opening night of live music followed by Eddie Piller spinning discs until 2am.

After the show I spoke to Dave Cairns;

“We are very happy with the way it turned out. They were a great crowd and we were really enjoying it out there. I think everyone else did too.”

Friday 18 May was quite extraordinary in so many ways. I’ve seen queues outside 229 The Venue before, but not quite like this.

Neither had I ever met so many people, who had traveled hundreds of miles without a ticket, turning up an hour before opening to make sure they got one of the last remaining tickets for the Tamla Motown Night.

Once the doors opened and the main room filled very quickly, the atmosphere was something special. It was not long before the house band arrived on stage. Most of the band were made up from members of a cracking outfit called Speedometer. Joining them was ex-Style Council member Mick Talbot on keyboards.

The glamourous Brenda Holloway was next to arrive on stage, resplendent in her silver sequined dress and opening with ‘Just Look What You’ve Done’.

If there is one trait American entertainers have always been very good at, it is being able to work a crowd. They know how to establish a rapport very quickly and show a certain amount of class in the way they carry themselves on and off stage. They understand what being ‘a star’ means and what responsibilities come with that status. As Brenda’s set gathered pace with hits like ‘Operator’, ‘Reconsider’, ‘When I’m Gone’ and ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’, it was a joy to see a true professional at her craft enjoying the moment as much as the crowd were. She was in fine form and fine voice and she finished her set with an amazing rendition of a song she wrote with her sister Patrice, Frank Wilson and Berry Gordy; ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’.

It was a huge hit for Blood, Sweat and Tears of course, but hearing Brenda sing it, the tune took on a new dimension. It was wonderful.

With barely a moment to catch our breath, the Velvelettes were on stage and more than matched the standard set by Brenda Holloway.

Polished without being corny. Professional without being kitsch.

Norma, Barbie, Cal and Millie gave the audience exactly what they wanted. ‘Lonely, Lonely Girl Am I’, ‘These Things Will Keep Me Loving You’, ‘Nowhere to Run’, Everybody Needs Love’ and of course, ‘He Was Really Saying Something’.

The Velvelettes again showed their presentation skills with a scintillating intro to the final song of their set. I hope the cameras were rolling because ‘Needle In A Haystack’ has to be heard to be believed.

They left the stage momentarily, but returned with Brenda Holloway to complete the finale with ‘I’ll Keep On Holding On’.

Afterwards I asked Mick Talbot for his views on the show?

“It was fantastic and a real privilege to play for these ladies. You know, they and Motown have been such a massive influence and presence in my life, it has been an honour. You never think for a second that one day you will be sharing a stage with people you have spent a lifetime listening to.”

I also managed to have a quick chat with Brenda Holloway. What did she think of the show?

“Oh it was wonderful! I love coming to the UK and singing for you guys. You never forget and you all seem to have such knowledge and appreciation of the music. It really is a special place and it has amazing fans. I would come back anytime to sing in the UK. It’s been just great.”

Saturday 19 April

229 The Venue was a hive of activity by midday as stall holders were preparing for an afternoon of trading in clothes, memorabilia and records.

The Beat Room was getting ready to host the Nutsmag Showcase session and outside, the Bar Italia Scooter Club was organizing the scooter rideout.

It is always an impressive sight watching well over 200 scooters moving off in unison to tour around London. When they completed their circuit, it was time to move into the Beat Room where yours truly was playing a selection of new sounds that have been reviewed on the Nutsmag website.

The two young bands on show have massive potential and Modstock was very pleased to present them. First was Alex Butler and The Opals. This was a rip-roaring set from the Geordie (plus one Italian) line up.

With songs like ‘Turn’, ‘Stole Her Away’, Come Out Of Your House’ and ‘***k it She Will Do’, it did not take long for the audience to warm to them, but Alex and his band got a well-deserved send off as they closed their set with ‘Bye Bye Love’.

The second band was The Turning. Where Alex Butler is more melodic new wave, The Turning are Beat and Rhythm and Blues, but in common with Alex Butler, there is a youthful energy and excitement about The Turning that has lifted their profile in recent months.

Their set included tracks from their debut EP; ‘Stand Clear Of My Mind’, ‘The Painful Art of Dreaming’ and ‘What You Think Is Right’. By the end of the set, the crowd demanded an encore and were treated to a red-hot rendition of ‘Gloria’.

A few hours break and it was back to the main room for the hotly anticipated ‘British Legends’ Night. Getting proceeding underway were the ‘house’ band Stone Foundation who played a selection of songs from their current album ‘To Find The Spirit’.

It is easy to see why they were chosen as the ‘house’ band. They are a very tight unit musically and with their brass section, they can produce an impressive wall of sound. Their brand of Northern, Jazz and Soul influenced tunes really left their mark and set things up nicely for the first of the legends.

Enter Eddie Philips, frontman of The Creation (with bow in hand) to take us through the classics; ‘Painterman’, ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Making Time’ among others. From my privileged vantage point, it was clear he was having the time of his life on stage and very humbled by the rapturous reception he received.

A short intermission was followed by the entrance of the one and only Kenney Jones at the drum kit. The man given the unenviable task of vocal duties was Jim Stapley. Having met him earlier in the day, I rather liked him.

However, his arrival on stage was met with some curious reactions as Jim’s appearance and stage presence was more rock than mod. After the first couple of numbers Jim spotted this dichotomy and made light of it with the audience who warmed to him afterwards.

That said, the set was a ‘greatest hits’ selection of Small Faces numbers and Mr Jones was clearly enjoying the experience. As the band left the stage at the end of the set, an encore was demanded and witnessing the discussions backstage was quite something. A reprise of ‘Tin Soldier’ brought the show to a close and the crowd seemed genuinely pleased. See another review HERE! with more videos.

Sunday 20 April

Another ‘early’ start for some of us! At 1pm I was at the entrance to the Pier on the South Bank to welcome those who had booked for the River Boat Party. The weather could have been better, but it didn’t dampen spirits one jot.

Once we were all aboard and underway, our DJs Lee Miller, Carlo Sesto, and Michael Wink got things going right from the get-go. The atmosphere was fantastic with a packed dancefloor throughout the afternoon and after we disembarked, it was nice to see the likes of Norman Jay MBE joining the fun.

With the Boat Trip concluded it was time to head back to 229 The Venue for the grand finale of the weekend.

That wrapped up the afternoon session, but it was not long before it was time to move to the main room for the Fashion Show curated by A Dandy in Aspic.

The assembled audience were thrilled by the show and gave all concerned a rapturous send off, see the fashion show article for in this edition for a in depth review. HERE!

There was a definite air of anticipation in the main hall as the room filled and I had the pleasure of introducing our first live act, The Mergers from Germany. As with all the bands across the weekend, The Mergers gave it their all playing tracks from their fantastic album ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. Their hybrid sound of The Remains, early Beatles and British Beat made quite an impression on the crowd. They loved them.

Following them on stage were the equally marvelous Les Cappuccino from Japan with their Hammond-heavy grooves and unique visual style. They did not disappoint either.

Within minutes the stage was set for the Crossfire Allnighter. The main room was packed solid for ‘The Story Of Northern Soul’ provided by a line up of specialist DJs that has rarely been assembled before. To say the night was immense is an understatement. The Beat and R&B rooms were equally packed out until the early hours. Crossfire really is one of the great events of the year and this night reinforced that reputation.

So that was the end of Modstock 3, 2014. It was memorable for so many reasons and the highlights were too many to mention. I’ve read many other reviews and comments about the weekend. A small handful pointing out a couple of minor grumbles, but the overwhelming majority were very positive and glowing in their praise about the event.

It was a great weekend, a fantastic effort by Rob Bailey and the New Untouchables Team. Stuart and his staff at 229 The Venue and all the bands, DJs and Bar Italia SC who provided the entertainment and rideout and A Dandy In Aspic for the fashion show.

We hope you had a great time too.


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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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July 4, 2014 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Modstock 3 Fashion Show Review

Back at Modstock 2 in 1994 Pip! Pip! with the full blessing from Dr Robert at NUTs HQ came up with the novel idea and concept of a Modstock Fashion Show, not as a lecture or guide as to how to be a ‘mod’ but more as a way of showcasing some of the great fashion, style and clothing that is out there now, inspired by the Modernist tradition. That mixed with a nice dose of performance ‘art’,  scene sourced authentique models, onstage scooters and so on, it all rolled into place alongside the live showing of our bespoke Fashion Documentary ‘Ready, Steady, Sew!’ (big thanks to Angie Smith, Pete, Caspar De La Mare, and Sean Wilson & Alex Rupprecht from Boychild and The Gene Drayton Unit Soundtrack) we felt we had a decent shape of an evening that was fresh and fun!

So when Modstock 3 in 2014 came about we thought we would rinse and repeat but with even more fun and games! Enter Caspar de la Mare from Camden vintage clothes shop, A Dandy in Aspic, was given the task of staging the Modstock Fashion Show he knew he’d have to give us more than just a simple catwalk.

We also invited Adam of London whose fine line of British Classic ready to wear was to opening proceedings with a nice classic  no nonsense approach and appeal that rightly displayed the sheer quality of their cloth making experience at its zenith. A few tech hitches aside (our deepest apologies to Adam and his team), their segment of the show set the bar pretty damn high. The mix of pin-through cotton shirts, knitted and silk ties with matching pocket squares, exsquisite cut suits that hung to perfection, the cut and silhouette meant that they simply did not have to try too hard at all to get the message across. Their clothes do the talking, end of! Well done chaps for pulling it off! Their music and visual selections melded nicely into their show and left everyone to seek them out at their stall for more information. A job well done all around! Our thanks to Ritchie, Adam & Jeremy,  a big tip: seek them out for you next round of shopping chaps!

Next up was the longer and much more theatrical and arty approach of one of the scenes’ great characters Caspar and his team of dedicated believers.

After a few exchanges between Pip! Pip! and Caspar by the magic of Skype, he managed to come up with a piece of  true mod theatre. Based around a day in the life of a mod couple who go on a day’s shopping trip to London, the show featured a hand-picked group of models who Caspar knew from in and around the scene, Each who wore a selection of original 60s vintage clothing from Caspar’s own emporium and menswear specialists Adam of London.

“I decided to make the young couple the main focus of the piece with all the other models as extras showing a cross section of 60s styles from the early to the more swinging styles of Carnaby Street as would have been seen on streets of London at the time,” says Caspar. “I was trying to paint a picture of what it would have been like during that time and capture some of the spirit of the era using a fairly minimalistic and stylised approach aided by a carefully chosen projected slideshow and soundtrack.”

“This was a piece of entertainment that seemed to bring back fond memories to many who were watching as it reminded them of what it was like in the early days of the mod scene”

The A Dandy in Aspic segment of the Modstock fashion show was an unexpected (and highly enjoyable) piece of theatre with four scenes revolving around two central characters, a young well-dressed mod couple on a day trip to London to buy some fab new gear, hang out in a Soho coffee bar and then go to a nightclub to show off their new clobber. (A very familiar scenario played out across the decades within the mod scene).

In three of the scenes they remained frozen in time whilst all the action goes on around them with all the other models as extras. Showing off a cross section of fashions as they would have been worn in the 60’s ranging from early styles to the more swinging Carnaby Street variety. And lastly finishing with a simple but, well- choreographed group dance number. In between the scenes whilst the stage was being set we were treated to Jimmy Smith’s ‘Organ grinders swing’.

The show began with a well-lit stage, and a row of eight empty black and white chairs, with a backdrop slide show depicting various images of 1960’s London, a very visual opening. Next came some sound effects, which, slowly became clear as that of a train arriving at a station. Complete with made up station announcements. At this point twelve models, six men and six women, all wearing overcoats in a variety of colours, patterns, fabrics and styles entered the room in single file and stood on stage with their backs to the audience. After a very familiar “mind the gap”, the women turned and sat in the chairs holding up magazines and the men turned sideways and stood staggered in front of them with one arm up in the air as if holding a handle on a tube train, and the scene was set… very very clever indeed!

The voice of a young man came over the PA and a young mod couple then came running onto the stage through the audience and took their place on two vacant seats. The sound of ‘Go-Go train’ by Mike Stevens and the Chevelles filled the room and the models began moving as if on a travelling train with the exception of the young couple who remained frozen though out. At various intervals the name of a made up station was announced and all sound and movements ceased. A model would leave the scene followed by another and then a third.  Each time a catwalk pose was struck at both ends of the stage to show off their outfits, before they exited and disappeared behind a screen. This continued at each ‘station’ until there was only the young couple left. They then left the stage having reached their “destination”, and the lights went down. The audience responded with a very enthusiastic applause and cheering. That was great! Very clever staging

When the sound of ‘Jimmy Smith organ grinders swing’ could be heard, and the slide show changed with the chairs being replaced with other props it became apparent that more was to follow.

The lights came back up and we could see two full clothes rails at each end of the stage, with two mannequins, one male and female each dressed in a stylish long double breasted coat. A simple and very effective way to represent a boutique. After another voice over the young couple entered and made their way over to the two rails and froze into position. The sound of ‘Swinging London’ by The Hazy Osterwald Set then began to play, with each model taking their turn entering the boutique from behind a curtain (dressing room) and admiring their clothes in an imaginary mirror and then walking over and checking out other gear on the rails, to try on. Before coming back to the mirror with another  outfit in hand. The action continued around the couple until the music faded out and the young couple were the only ones left on stage. They each held an outfit and walked over to the mirror before exiting through the curtains. The clothes shown in this scene were mostly of the later swinging period and very colourful. Ladies trouser suits, culottes, men’s dandy jackets, candy striped blazers. In the background a slide show of 60’s boutiques, fashion and mods/people trying on clothes helped add to the boutique feel. Again huge applause and cheering as the lights went down.

The slide show then changed to images of 1960’s coffee bars and girls in mini-skirts .And the stage was re-set. The lights came back up, and we could see four black and white tables with black and white chairs. After a voice over with reference to ‘frothy coffee’ the young couple entered with coffee cups and shopping bags and sat at a table. ‘music to watch girls go by’ (an instrumental version) set the scene and the stage was transformed into the exterior of a Soho coffee bar, with models entering the stage and  sitting down for coffee or disappearing into the cafe. A succession of mini skirted models walked across the stage in a highly choreographed fashion striking poses from left to right. All the while, being admired by two seated male models drinking coffee. Another couple were looking through newly purchased (original) 60’s LP records of soul, jazz and rhythm &’ blues, another model reading a newspaper. Before leaving the stage each model showed off their outfits to the full. A good cross section of mod, beat, and classic 60’s styles with a summery flavour and some classic sunglasses in tow. An extremely stylish scene .One of the best performed segments in the show. It really made you feel like you were outside in the summer sun enjoying a frothy coffee with them. Good job!

The final scene wrapped up the show within a nightclub, to the sounds of ‘The in Crowd’ by Dobie Gray and ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’ by The Quik in front of a backdrop slide show, of 60’s night life  and dancing. On a stage were six chairs and a black and white chequered dance floor.

This was performed in two parts. Beginning with models walking on stage as couples, to the sound of Dobie Gray, and criss-crossing each other from left to right, striking a catwalk pose at each end of the stage, highly stylised choreography. The men were all wearing Italian cut three buttoned suits in a variety of complementary colours, very sharp, and stood to the right of the stage, as if standing at the bar. The women who were all wearing various evening outfits of silver, gold, black, all sat down on the chairs.

The scene ended with the young couple entering the stage to the sound of ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’. Wearing the outfits that they had in their hands in the boutique scene. After walking to the front of the stage to strike their catwalk pose. They then start a very simple clapping dance. With each of the other couples joining in until they are all dancing in unison. As the music began to fade out, each couple bowed before exiting and then reappeared through the curtains to line up along each side of the stage. They all turned backstage and gestured for the creator of the show Caspar de la Mare, who then came on through the curtains, took a bow and proceeded with all his thank you’s as he was also the compere too!

This was a very simple story, but presented in a very stylised and stylish way and really gave one the feeling of being transported back to the 1960’s with great attention to detail from the make-up and authentic hairstyles provided by Jenny Green to the props, original magazines and newspapers (Evening News), original 60’s A to Z, coffee cups/saucers etc. and of course all the original 1960s clothes that were being showcased. Judging from the rapturous applause at the end, the audience enjoyed it as much as the models did performing it.

All in all a very entertaining and enjoyable evening was had by everybody. Massive thanks to all that were involved!

Photos by: © Ramees Farooqi


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Events Fashion Front Page Reviews Style Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Masters – Kenney Jones (Small Faces)

This entry is part 20 of 22 in the series Masters

I managed to catch up with Kenney ahead of his performance at Modstock to talk about his life behind the drumkit with some of the biggest bands in the history of British rock and find out more about the new Small Faces boxset and greatest hits releases.

01. What got you interested in music and who were your early influences?

I was blown away after seeing Lonnie Donegan on TV playing ‘Rock on the line’. He was playing banjo. I just fell in love with the banjo! I remembered seeing a banjo in a pawn shop next to Bethnal Green Station. The next day I went to buy it but unfortunately the guy had sold it. A friend had half a drum kit with one and half drum sticks and that got my buds going. I was hooked. I bought my very first drum kit in a shop in East Ham on Green Lane call the J 60’s. It was a white Olympic old Jazz kit. My early influences were The Shadows; Jimmy McGriff and Booker T and the MG’s.

02. When and how did you first meet Steve and Ronnie?

I met Ronnie Lane in my local pub called The British Prince where Ronnie’s brother worked as a barman. Ronnie and I first met Steve Marriott in the same shop that I bought my drum kit where he worked on Saturday mornings.

03 What were the early shows like at Leicester square and the Marquee, and did you have a particular favourite venue?

The shows at Leicester Square and the Cavern were amazing. My favourite clubs at the time were ‘The Marquee’ and ‘The Flamingo’.

04. What was the original mod scene like and did you frequent any of the famous clubs like the Scene or Flamingo for example and do you have any fond memories you can share with us?

Well apart from my comments above it was a great place to meet up in a time when music and fashion were as one.

05. What other bands did you rate back in the sixties and are there any current bands you enjoy?

I liked ‘The Action’ in the 60’s and of course ‘The Shadows’ in the 60’s. I quite enjoy The Strypes and recently my 16 year old daughter Erin has got me into Plain White T’s.  She is great at playing me the most recent stuff and tries to keep me up to date! Some I like and other stuff makes me cringe! And of course I love the Red Hot Chilli Peppers – great drummer!

06. I have seen the Belgium TV footage from the early days at the marquee and also beat, beat, beat or maybe it was beat club in Germany which are both incredible, and did you prefer playing live or working in the studio?

I must say I like both. Live shows give you that buzz but studio work lets you be more creative and try new things.

07. Many fans claim the immediate era was the best small faces period would you agree with that?

It was probably the most creative and Andrew Oldham gave us more freedom to experiment. But I still think the Decca stuff is also great.

08. The manifesto of Immediate Records was a great idea trying to immolate the Stax and Motown hit factory in the UK, the Small Faces were and an integral part of that. What persuaded you to join Andrew Loog Oldham in the new venture and what was the atmosphere like at Immediate?

Immediate was like a family. We all looked out for each other and Andrew was boundless back then; his enthusiasm infectious. Most of us were. It was also the first independent label.

09. The infamous tour of Australia with the Who is stuff of legend, what were your memories on the crazy antics and any other humorous tales you can share with us on life with the Small Faces?

When the captain of the plane diverted the flight to Melbourne and had us arrested when we walked off the plane with our hands up. That was us, The Who and Paul Jones. My fondest memory of touring with the Small Faces and the Who was when Keith offered me a lift to the next gig in his white Rolls Royce and we ended up going down Edinburgh High Street.  Keith had a PA system fitted behind the front grille with a mike connected to this. As we drove down the high street he shouted “Rape, rape and dangled a set of blow up legs out the back window. A bus driver stopped his bus to come to the rescue. When we got to the other side of town a policeman arrested us. He was a mad man!

10. I have heard Macs account about Steve wanting Peter Frampton to join the band to create a heavier sound and eventually leaving as a result to form Humble Pie, however it seems to me The Small Faces were already heading in that direction?

That is a difficult question to answer. Our music was already taking a different turn from our earlier stuff but Steve was pushing for change too quickly. When he left and Rod and Woody joined our music took a different direction anyway.

11. The three Small Faces went on to form The Faces together with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, did you know them both from the mid sixties London scene and did you ever perform with the Birds, Steam Packet or Shotgun Express?

Our paths had crossed from time to time Well Rod was on the Immediate label so we crossed paths then. We never got a chance to play on same bill as the Birds. There were times when the Small Faces were rehearsing when Rod used to sit on the amps watching us. When Steve left I asked him to join the band.

12. You also played alongside Pete, Roger and John in The Who after Keith died, how did the Who job come about?

I had just started a new band and was just about to sign a record deal when I got a call from Bill Curbishley the Who’s manager. He told me that they had had a meeting and they wanted me to join the band as the new drummer and they wouldn’t consider anyone else. I initially said no I can’t as I had just signed a new band and we are about to sign a record deal, but I would think about it. Later that day I went to get a haircut and when I left the salon I was stopped by a gypsy lady selling heather. I tried to avoid her but she was persistent. When I looked into her eyes I saw Moony’s eyes staring back at me. She was saying take it, I threw her a pile of change and ran away. It was so freaky. I called Bill up and said I would join.

13. The Small Faces catalogue has finally been done justice by Rob Caiger with the simply stunning boxset, when did the project start and how long has it taken to produce?

We have been gathering all the lost tapes for over 3 years and Rob has been working tirelessly to produce.

14. There are some fascinating moments of you working in the studio on the boxset how did it feel to listen to those moments again?

I got very emotional and lots of memories came flooding back. I could also smell the studio and feel every moment we spent in there. To hear Steve and Ronnie at their best was quite poignant.

15. As a big fan having collected all the original albums and singles listening to this boxset you really get to appreciate just how prolific the Small Faces were in such a short period of time, was that down to living together at Westmorland Terrace, the live shows or the recording sessions?

Most of the above but we had a magical telepathy between us. You can hear some of that on the studio outtakes on the box set.

16. How do you feel about the bands incredible popularity still almost fifty years after you first began?

I am completely blown away. The older, original fans seem to have passed down their passion and legacy on to their children. Lots of the Brit pop in the 90’s was influenced by the Small Faces and it has just been a slow steady growth of followers.

17. Considering you have played with three of the biggest British rock groups which band is your favourite and why?

Obviously the Small Faces as it was the most creative and the most fun. It was all new and we were breaking new ground. I loved my time with the Who as it was the most exciting by the sheer nature of their songs. The Faces were just one big riotous party!

18. What is your favourite Small Faces song and album and why?

My favourite song is Afterglow. My favourite album is Ogdens as it is so diverse and we were doing something that had never been done before.

19. We are honoured to have you perform at Modstock for our British legends show. What surprises have you got up your sleeve for the fans and who will be joining you on stage?

You will have to wait and see. My friend Jim Stapley is joining me on vocals along with Mollie Marriott who has an amazing set of pipes.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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March 27, 2014 By : Category : Bands Events Front Page Interviews Music Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Masters – The Velvelettes

This entry is part 17 of 22 in the series Masters

This latest Masters
piece concerns
The
Velvelettes

who were co-founded in 1963 by Bertha Barbee-McNeal and Mildred Gill Arbor, at Western Michigan University, where they were both students. Norma Barbee-Fairhurst (Bertha’s cousin), Caldin Gill Street (aka Carol), Mildred’s younger sister, and Betty Kelley (Cal’s best friend), were asked to join the group. The Velvelettes formed at WMU and performed regularly around WMU’s campus at various dances. After much preparation and rehearsing at Maybee Hall, they entered the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity talent show on campus, and they went on to win first prize!

Berry Gordy’s nephew, Robert Bullock, was also a student at WMU at the time of their performance and first place win in the talent show. Upon seeing the show, he immediately saw merit and he encouraged them to audition for his Uncle’s company, Motown Records, in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, and after some serious persuasion, Millie’s and Cal’s parents, Rev. and Mrs. Gill, agreed the group should go to Detroit to audition for Motown Records. Rev. Gill, along with Cal and Millie’s brother, Charles, drove the group to Detroit in a snow storm. They successfully auditioned at Motown Records, and were eventually signed to the infamous record label, thus beginning their professional singing career.

The Velvelettes recorded numerous hits at Motown’s Hitsville USA, Studio A, located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI. That’s “where it all began!” Their recording career with Motown Records spanned almost a decade (1963-1971). The group’s most notable hits of the early 60s, ‘Needle In A Haystack’, and ‘He Was Really Sayin’ Something’, went to the Top 40 in Cash Box and Billboard international record magazines. These two songs also went on to be Number 1 in several cities and towns across America. The Velvelettes were featured on Motown tours, they worked the “chitlin circuit” (theaters mainly on the east coast) they were also featured on two Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tours in the mid 60s.

How does it feel to be coming back to London again?

It feels especially good to the Velvelettes to be returning to the U.K. We’re looking forward to the engagement in London, as it will actually be our first time performing in London.  We  have been to England several times over the past two decades and often times London based, however, our engagements have taken place in other cities (i.e., Manchester, Lancaster, Nottingham, Clethorpes) to name a few. We have also performed in Wales at the Pontin’s resort.

You are sharing the bill with Brenda Holloway. When was the last time you worked with her?

I vaguely recall working with Brenda back in the mid 60s at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. I have always admired her voice from the very first time I heard her recording, “Every Little Bit Hurts.”

Tamla Motown has always had a reputation of being like a ‘family’. Would you say that family spirit still exists today and if so, why?

Yes. Berry Gordy treated all Motown artists like family. He felt responsible for our success. Motown was a family owned/run business. We were always treated warmly. In April 2013 Mr. Gordy invited several Motown artists, the Velvelettes included, to New York City to see Motown The Musical, that he wrote. It was a wonderful experience and the musical was outstanding! We were made to feel very important, like Motown Royalty, like part of the Motown family.  Mr. Gordy was pleased to see us and we were proud to be there among all the other proud Motown alums. I think the longevity of Motown and the family spirit has lasted up to this day and beyond because over time we all realized that we are a part of music history and something very special. Over the years, the story of Motown has been told and incorporated into music education curriculums for elementary, high school, and college, throughout the U.S.  Motown is part of the fabric that makes America a great!

So many great Afro American singers have come through gospel and the church. Was that the case for you and how important do you think it has been in influencing popular music?

Yes, indeed. I came straight from the church. My father was a Baptist preacher. After he heard me singing along to music on the radio, he started me singing as a very young girl in church, leading the choir and congregation on Sunday morning. He once told me my voice was a gift and that I should use it to sing for the Lord.  Singing in church choirs first was the norm and training ground for most R&B, blues and jazz artists of the late 50s and throughout the 60s. We eventually transitioned to secular music, and mostly with our family’s blessings.

What kinds of songs were in your repertoire when you first got together at WMU and who were your biggest influences?

We sang a lot of 60s girl groups and single female vocalists songs, by the Chantels, Shirelles, Marvelettes, Tina Turner, Baby Washington, Aretha Franklin, to name a few. These artists were some of the biggest influences of that time.

The Motown family would often sit in on each others recording sessions. Are there any un-credited Velvelette contributions that we may not know about?

Yes. We sang on Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” because the producer wanted to add voice enhancements to give it a fuller sound. It was a great experience, and we’re proud to say we participated in background vocals and with hand claps and foot stomping. There were a few other recordings we participated on, but I can’t remember the titles.

Due to family commitments, you disbanded for a while. How easy was it to transform from World-wide pop stars to wives and mothers?

It was not very difficult because it was considered the normal thing to do for our generation. Young women were expected to sacrifice whatever careers they had to become housewives and mothers.

What inspired you to reform the Velvelettes?

The motivation to reform/continue the Velvelettes was based on the fact that contracts had been signed, sealed and delivered to Motown for engagements six to eight months out. We had to honour the contracts or be sued. Plus, I was a young lady (ages 19-21) and was still filled with desire and excitement to perform! I loved performing!

You first came to the UK in 1987 I believe. Many R&B stars from the USA have been pleasantly surprised by the devoted and knowledgeable fan base here. What is your impression of your UK fans?

I believe it was 1986. We absolutely love and adore our fans in the U.K. We often say it feels like a part of Heaven when we come to England because the fans are so appreciative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable of our music! They revere the Motown sound, and that makes all Motown artists feel very special, indeed.

What was it like being inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2000?

In 2000, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, along with Ruthie Brown of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio, coordinated a weekend celebration of 13 girl groups of the 60s. Representatives from the Chantels, Shirelles, Supremes, Marvelettes, Crystals, Martha & The Vandellas, Ronettes, Dixie Cups, Angels, Chiffons, Cookies, Velvelettes, and Patti LaBelle & the Blue Bells were all there! This was a wonderful weekend event that was chronicled into Rock Hall’s history. The opportunity to reconnect and bond with seasoned women/sisters of music in singing, dining and sharing stories, was very fulfilling. We all felt blessed and it is a source of great pride for all of us.

What would you say was the Velvelettes proudest achievement?

• Being one of four Motown girl groups, and being the only “original” of those groups to be blessed with longevity and still able to perform today, is paramount to our proudest achievements.
• The success of our single releases, Needle In A Haystack, He Was Really Sayin’ Something, These Things Will Keep Me Loving You, Bird In The Hand, and Lonely Lonely Girl Am I, which gave us recognition for
being  professional entertainers
• being recipients of several lifetime achievement awards
• being recognized by Dick Clark on his the Caravan of Stars tours
• being on Motown Revues
• being recognized at Rock Hall, are indeed, some of our greatest and proudest accomplishments
• being featured in numerous newspapers and magazines
• being invited to perform at several renowned venues throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, are indeed among some of our proudest achievements in our music careers

(A light-hearted, fun question)
If you could go ‘Back to The Future’ and meet The Velvelettes of 1964, what advice would you give them?

I would advise the young ladies to not give up their music careers, and to devote much time and attention to becoming the absolute best they can be, as I believe that if we had not given up our careers for marriage and starting families, we would have had greater achievements and success in the music industry.

There are a lot of very excited fans who are looking forward to seeing you on Good Friday. What can we expect to see from The Velvelettes?

Our fans can expect an exciting and fun show filled with the music we all love by the Velvelettes. It will be a high energy performance and they will love it as much as we will enjoy singing and performing for our devoted fans. We look forward to seeing and interacting with everyone in the U.K. The love of our English fans and friends will certainly warm our hearts and feed our souls, and we are very grateful and thankful.  It will be a “good Friday,” indeed! God bless.


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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Music RnB Scene USA Tags:
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The History of Northern Soul by Ady Croasdell

The Crossfire oldies allnighter in London on Easter bank holiday Sunday (20th of April 2014) promises to be something else with a stellar DJ line-up taking you on a musical journey through iconic Northern Soul venues like the Twisted Wheel, The Torch, Wigan Casino, Stafford and The 100 Club.

On our recent DJ adventure to the Mojo Workin’ weekend in Spain I managed to grab a chat with Kent Records and 6TS promoter and DJ Ady Croasdell for his personal account on ‘The History of Northern Soul’.

I first went to a rare soul all nighter in early 1969. It was in a solitary disused railway station about half a mile from the hamlet of Kelmarsh in north Northamptonshire, 5 miles from my home town of Market Harborough. I knew the big soul acts of the day whose records had made it to the UK – Otis, Wilson Picket, Carla Thomas, Temps, 4 Tops, Supremes, Fontella Bass, Brenton Wood Etta James – but the records I was hearing at the nighter were by the Esquires, Tony Clarke, Homer Banks and the American Poets who I had never heard of. The small function room soon filled up with 100 skinheads most of whom were dancing in groups or solo, so being on my own I felt comfortable to get up and move to the music. The crowd seemed intense but friendly despite my hair being longer than all the other blokes combined.

I told my mod/skin mates in Harboro about it and soon there was a crew of us going over, getting the pills down our necks while dancing to this alternate type of soul which we referred to as Old Soul. Who knew Tamla singer Kim Weston had recorded an uptempo soul mastepiece in ‘Helpless’ or the Velvelettes had cut one called ‘These Things Will Keep Me Loving You’? We made friends and recognised some of the other attendees as characters from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough whom we’d normally avoid but here in this secret meeting place it was all cool and we had a shared love of the music and the speed.

It turned out there were outcrops of similarly minded youths around the country in Leeds, Wakefield, Manchester and Derby. Even handier for an impoverished student like me a bloke called Dave Godin wrote about it in the Blues & Soul magazine; complete with playlists and tips and recommendations of places to go to hear these secretive sounds. Eventually Dave would dub the scene Northern Soul in his Blues & Soul column and the name would stick.

The clubs were keenly watched by the dedicated drugs squads of the local police. Northants was supposedly one of the most serious in the country and they were getting pissed off at the number of chemists that were getting broken into around the county.

The raids they conducted eventually closed Kelmarsh and I mentioned it to Harboro’s local dance promoters who ran the Frollickin´ Kneecap nightclub. They started to then run all nighters at our town centre venue, renaming it the Lantern for those dances and making it a dedicated members club to get around the restrictive licensing laws. The scene was so small yet dedicated that there would usually be only one or two nighters on in the country at any time and when the Twisted Wheel in Manchester was finally raided early one Saturday night, the blocked up youths made the 100 mile drive down to Harboro to dance their blues away; in all senses of the word. The Wheel had been the total brand leader and the epitome of cool, style and sounds and its demise was a major blow to young go-getters across the country. Like the Lantern, a handful of other nighters would then spring up and be closed down as the drug taking soared and the squads simply clamped down.

The next venue to become the undisputed Mecca for the nighter goers was the Torch in Tunstall, Stoke On Trent. It was bigger than the traditional 100-300 clubs that had previously been host to the scene but the 6-800 capacity old music-hall, complete with balconies and theatre boxes, was ideal for the rapidly expanding clientele. Also it was dark as hell, dripping with atmosphere and sweat and the DJs were moving away from the classic mid to up tempo Chicago and Tamla beat to seriously stomping sounds that could keep pace with the drinamyl-induced pumping hearts of the mainly teenage audience. DJs, collectors and record sellers were finding more and more ways of getting their hands on the vast number of mid 60s soul releases that had not reached our shores before. Johnny Sayles, The Younghearts, Mamie Galore, The Fuller Brothers and the Cooperettes seemed to be even more glamorous soul names, none of which had ever got close to an English release.

The Torch lasted for little over a year but had accelerated the scene’s growth and demand so that when the next big all nighter started in 1973 it was more than big, it was massive.

Wigan Casino was a similar ancient music hall / dance emporium but about four times the size and more of a complex than a venue; you could house a small town in its many rooms. Early attendances were adequate but the place was far from full and in fact seemed a bit too big for purpose when I went to one of the early nighters. A few months later on my next visit it was rammed to the rafters, using the Torch´s blueprint of non-stop stompers its reputation had spread across the country and youths across the whole breadth of Britain, disaffected with both the teeny bopper and pompous undergound of the UK’s pop scene had become die-hard soul fans overnight. It was admittedly a certain style of soul starting at 85 mph and going up to 140 in extreme cases, sometimes the soul quotient was forgotten about. What the hell, there were thousands of stunning sounds out there in good ole black America just waiting for jaw-grinding scruffy UK youths to hop on an aeroplane and rescue them for their own personal kudos and wealth and for the edification of 2,000 kids moving as one, hand-clapping in just the right places. The scene was so big it could accommodate other big all nighters at places like Cleethorpes and Yate near Bristol as well as the big and influential evening events at the Blackpool Mecca and elsewhere. The Northern Soul weekend experience was so intense it would incorporate big Sunday all dayers so that reprobates need never see their parents between Friday morning and Monday tea.

It continued as a big noise throughout most of the 70s but the alternate punk, jazz funk and disco scenes creamed off many attendees and offered alternatives for potential new recruits: the scene was becoming jaded. In London in 1979 the mod revival was underway and a small club called the 6TS Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Society was showing those style converts what the original mod soul music was about.

After 18 months of moving around the capital, the 6TS ended up at the 100 Club slap bang in the middle of Oxford Street where it still runs in that distinguished basement club today. In a way it was back to the roots as a venue as well as musically and the classic dingy, smoke-filled, basement club was ideal for the nutters and fanatics who have slunk down those famous stairs over the last four decades. Musically though it started out as classic club soul with a dash of R&B, it reverted to the more standard Northern Soul formula once the all nighters were established around 1981. There was even a period when the rare 70s soul scene made an equal contribution to the musical playlist but that was reduced drastically when the club took up the gauntlet handed down by the 60s Mafia DJs of Stafford’s Top Of The World All nighters around the mid 1980s.

DJs Keb Darge and Guy Hennigan in particular were fed up with the staleness of constantly played oldies and reckoned there were still a lot of records, hardly known by the public let alone collectors, that could turn the scene on its head. Keb had a devoted band of followers who he would give cassettes of his new finds to so they would know his playlist when it was debuted at Stafford. They would rush to the floor to dance to records that otherwise would only have had interested looks. Guy was similar and mixed up the tempos a bit more than stompy Keb. He was the prime mover in big beat ballad scheduling and records like Tommy Navarro’s ‘I Cried My Life Away’ and Romance Watson ‘Where Does That Leave Me’ became massive. Keb also DJed at the 100 Club and Leicester nighters and soon the word was spreading. I was converted by the Latin sound of Bobby Valentine and spun a few down the 100 Club as well as big beat ballads like Johnny Maestro, Kurt Harris and the Trends ‘Not Too Old To Cry’. However what really put the 100 Club on the map, and helped the newies revolution, was finding some magnificent previously unreleased 60s soul tracks from the record company vaults. Melba Moore ‘Magic Touch’, Maxine Brown ‘Torture’, Chuck Jackson ‘What’s With This Loneliness’ started it and the Pied Piper RCA finds of Kenny Carter ‘What’s That On Your finger’, Willie Kendrick ‘She’ll Be Leaving You’, Lorraine Chandler ‘You Only Live Twice’ and Sharon Scott ‘(Putting My Heart Under) Lock & Key’ took it to a new level.

With the newies scene now established the super-rare scene started driven by one of Keb and Guy’s gurus the Stoke DJ Butch who had the best rare soul collection in the world and possessed records and later acetates so rare nobody could come close to him for 20 years (ongoing). It’s the territory of “how many of these are known in the world?”; the answer is usually less than five.

Stafford closed but the 100 Club kept on and new venues like Lifeline, Rugby, Burnley, Prestwich, The Dome, and others had their deserved moments in the spotlight. The 90s saw many returnees to the scene but a lot of those were happy to dance to the tunes of their youth and the rare scene has struggled in recent years. However the 2010s has seen an influx of new young faces and they are as keen on the new as the old, so there are signs of a revival in all areas and attendances are on the up again. A great new film on Northern Soul has been made by a Bury lass who has been a 100 Club regular for twenty years and the impact of that is eagerly anticipated.

Get down early and grab a space on the huge wooden dancefloor in the main ballroom and dance all night to 8 hours of the finest Northern Soul CROSSFIRE style. Tickets here: www.229thevenue.co.uk/modstock


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Clubs DJs Events Front Page Music Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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