The New Untouchables – Brighton 2015
As my cab pulled into North Street, the spectacle that is Grit’s & Groove corner came into view. Every year the sight sends shivers and raises hairs – the sight of sharply dressed and sussed Mods spanning the width of the junction of North Street and Gardner Street, home to the Komedia, where the next three nights the New Untouchables events would be presented. As my cab passed, I could see the faces of friends from all over the UK & Europe. Just proving that the Brighton weekender, was the place to be.
As I entered the building, the queue was already 75 strong and it was only 10:45. Sound checks done, in both rooms, the clock struck 23:00 – doors opened – the weekend starts here!
The Main Room, started to fill, quickly, with smartly dressed Mods, ready to dance, and after that first taste of Dutch courage, or was it the sound of Billy Larkin’s version of “I’ve Got A Woman”? – the dance-floor was full – and there, the precedence was set for the rest of the evening, through until three am. The plethora of Mod sounds, all played from original vinyl kept the hand’s clappin’, feet tappin’ and the refreshments flowin’!
Meanwhile, upstairs in the Studio Bar, The Ham Yard DJ’s Guy, Ryan, Lucas, Rachelle & Stacey were turning up the heat on the dancefloor, playing some of the best in Soul, Jazz & Rhythm & Blues.
3 am came around too quickly and it was time to say the “See you tomorrows!” but there were just as many “Hello’s!” from a flock of new faces I hadn’t seen during Fridays proceedings.
If there was a view to be had of Madera Drive it’s from the top of the wheel, or the access ramps above The Volks. It’s 13:15 and I’ve just arrived to the afternoon session, official kick off at 13:00, but as the story goes, they were arriving from 11am… So back to my view… rows of scooters adorned the roadside outside the Volks, also opposite to both sides of the pathway, with more and more pulling up throughout the afternoon. Inside the venue, there were many dealers with quality items, from original clothing, shoes, records, accessories to mobile tailoring, and no roundel embossed tat in sight. The rest of afternoon was spent playing catch up with various friends from around the globe who I see more than the blue mooners. The standard of dress was impeccable, and great to see the New Breed showing some, how it should be done!
Throughout the afternoon guest DJ’s gave us an insight into their own personal record collections as well as live set’s from The Turning & Gemma & The Travellers both introduced by the Baron and both received very well!
For me Saturday night had started at 21:00 at venue 2 – The Volks. From the ‘git-go’ the dance floor was moving and grooving – again the atmosphere was electric and the clientele very smart. Deck duties were handed over to Gary Wall from Nottingham and Paul Molloy from Glasgow, and I made my way over to The Komedia, for round two.
Mirroring the previous night’s views, I entered the Komedia to the sound of the un-credited version of The What Four’s – ‘Destroy That Boy’ and Rita & The Tiara’s’ version of ‘Gone With The Wind Is My Love’. Thirty minutes into the evening and Rob Bailey is dropping these tracks to an appreciative audience. Just time, for a couple of ‘hello’s’ and to get a pint or two, of liquid refreshment, just to keep me going during my set. Many dancing feet and clapping hands show their appreciation for Rob’s early doors, soul selections. Topping it off with, Joey Heatherton’s – ‘When You Call Me Baby’. Tonight’s DJ team, Rob, Gary, Paul, Chris Dale & myself played to a very appreciative crowd, keeping the floor filled until the last note.
Tonight upstairs in the Studio bar, the guest club hosting, is R&B 1, 2, 3. with avid vinyl selectors Alan Handscombe, Chris Dale & Mary Boogaloo at the decks. Every time I popped in to this room, the true Mod Club atmosphere was inescapable, sussed, smart and sweaty.
Sunday started again down at The Volks, with the dealers looking like they were doing a roaring trade, with many more scooters adorning the roadside. Many daytrippers, for the impressive ride out, and scooter competition. Again more faces from all over the globe were in attendance, chatting, drinking, looking sharp & listening to the music being played by the afternoons guest DJ’s Tim Fuller & Samantha Stevens to name a couple. Bringing you some great sounds from their own personal collections, and not that god forsaken 7T’s Wigan crap that some one thought was good being played out of their scooter stereo, ruining the vibe, just not Mod or cool man!
Scott Fraser Simpson and Martin Coolcat joined out host Rob for the in enviable task of judging the scooter competition. The standard of both models was incredible but the sheer amount of amazing Lambretta s meant that after over an hour and much deliberation the results were as follows. The trophies were presented in front of the big wheel with Brighton Pier as the backdrop for photos, congratulations to:
Best Lambretta – Jaymo Kid – TV175
Best Vespa – John Paterson – SS180
Best Mod – Darryl Bunker – TV175.
Many thanks to judges and Ade & Claire, Neil & Mel and Andy McCovy for help with marshalling the ride-out a superb job folks.
Early doors at The Volks for me again, and then back to the Komedia for the last time this year.
In the Main room, Brighton Got Soul was in full flow. I only caught part of Ginger Taylor & Chris Dale’s sets. And again the dancefloor was packed, Mods & Soulies enjoying the best Soul and the atmosphere was buzzin’. All the reviews from this room were good. Well done, Yann, Craig & Simon the other DJ’s in this room.
The Mousetrap was the guest club in the Studio bar tonight, with Chris Dale, Rob Bailey, myself and guest Scott Fraser-Simpson supplying the Hand Clappin’ Foot Stompin’ 45’s, where I spent most of my night. Again, the appreciation for the soundtrack was shown at the end of every tune and the voting was done with the feet… The Mousetrap baton was passed over to the Fuzz For Freaks DJ team at 3am who kept the party going thru until dawn.
It’s at this point I realised that I’m not in my early years anymore, and the 5 hour drive does not seem as easy as it sounds after spending 3 days with the most sussed, smart fantastic friends & acquaintances, laughing, drinking and peacocking around… Bring on Brighton 2016!
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