Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Street Sounds UK Fresh 2011 Review - How It Went Down

I was lucky enough to be at the event and regardless of what happened and who performed (and who didn't) just being there was enough.

L-R Inch, Metronik, Waxer, Dee Jay, Fluent
I rolled into London with the First B-girl of hip hop, Inch High, bumping beats in the jeep.
We were in time to meet some of the Disco Scratch crew in the Big Chill House pub which was literally just round the corner from the Scala venue.

The UK old school had literally taken over the place and everywhere you looked was an ageing b-boy all dressed to impress with original Tacchini or Adidas threads, fresh out-the-box kicks and of course, those oh-so important fat laces.

Just one look at the queue outside the Scala made you realise just how many people still love Street Sounds and the old school.

Myself, Inch and Fluent had all brought our blackbooks and annoyingly, had our pens taken off us by the lovely doormen as we entered the building. No worries though as an extremely helpful and pleasant bloke behind the Grafworx stand gave Fluent some pens.
This meant we were free to carry on getting signatures and tags throughout the night. Fight the power!

Credit-One was on the decks when we touched down in the foyer and I saw original copies of Ultimate Breaks & Beats on vinyl which made me glad. There was a projected screen up above showing Beat Street, various Street Sounds memorabilia dotted around the walls - every edition of the Electro series was up (allegedly from Morgan's personal collection).

Moving into the main room we saw one of the Nu-Electro acts who I'm not sure which (there was a girl vocalist). Soon a cypher appeared on the dancefloor and there were some blokes throwing down nicely in the circle.
Dave Pearce, Morgan Khan
This was wound-up as the music stopped and ex-Radio London 'A Fresh Start To The Week' dj Dave Pearce walked onto the stage. He was met by cheers and some boos - he was an odd choice considering he has been well out of the hip hop scene for a number of years now. Although I can understand that Dave was a big part of the burdgeoning UK hip hop underground in the late 80's.
He brought on Morgan Khan to a truly rapturous and appreciative crowd and it was not difficult to be swept along by the whole feeling of love that was emanating throughout the room.

Wax - "MIKE....ALLEN!!"
Dave talked of UK Fresh and mentioned the legendary avuncular Capital Radio jock Mike Allen. It was at this point when my man, Waxer surged through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, pumping his fist and yelling our Uncle's name. Respect.

On next came DJ Chuck Chillout and The B-Boys (Brother B and Donald D) who performed well but seemed to want to try new tracks which never actually materialised. This could've been down to a mixture of running times and technical difficulties - Chuck on the decks looked utterly lost and bemused and kept staring at his laptop as if expecting it do the work for him.
I should just point out that I did not see a laptop near the decks with the lads near the front of the building (Credit-One...etc).
The 'Boys were soon out of time and yet Brother B rocked on with an acapella of Girls Part 2 just before the final curtain.

Up next was another legend - Arthur Baker. Unfortunately Arthur is a studio wizard which is where the magic lies and in my opinion doesn't really transfer to live performance. This is nothing to do with Baker himself as he knew his limits and made the best of what he could do by over-emphasizing the turns of knobs.
However he did some live remixing of all his own hits and it was Planet Rock which got the loudest response rather than Breaker's Revenge. But I suppose that wasn't surprising being that he was responsible for the record that KICKED THE WHOLE ELECTRO-FUNK SCENE OFF IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Dave Pearce, The Captain, Rob
I was mooching around the different rooms flitting in and out of the Main room when I bumped into Rob Evans. Rob was the sole instigator responsible for bringing Captain Rock over. Apparently he had been looking for him for the best part of 6 years in the hope of getting him to perform.
He was also looking for him again at the Scala as he had gone walkabout and was due onstage thus my meeting with Rob was curtailed.

What can I say about The Captain? Here was someone who was so incredibly humble. Someone that thought his best years had passed him by; someone that thought he would never get a second chance.
Captain Ron Green Rock had battled some personal demons and had even been homeless during his time in the wilderness and the fire in his belly had never been extinguished. In actual fact he had most probably been eating nothing but charcoal and petroleum as when he hit the stage he was ON FIRE.
The Dip Ship had touched down and he was in control. The Captain was making a real effort to entertain and looked like he had been practising his moves for quite a while. You could tell how hungry he was for this; almost as if his life was depending on this one performance as he proceeded to throw his hat into the fist-pumping crowd.
Sadly it was all over much too quickly and he was off to cruise at hyper-speed. But what a performance.

The last act of the night was Newcleus who while not being truly devastating - mainly due to wack sound problems - still managed to rock the house. I give them extra props for bringing the use of a vocoder on stage to really give that Electro feel.
As the performance came to a close they were joined on stage by all the other acts and you could see the love they all had for each other and non-existence of egos.

Morgan and Dave came on and rounded-up the evening and all the acts were presented with specially-made graffiti canvases.

And that was it.

There was an attempt for more music to be spun (by Geoff Allen?) but he was abruptly stopped after 10 minutes which was odd as there was still over an hour left until the official finish.

Although billed, Grand Mixer D.St was a no-show down to visa problems. This might have explained Chuck Chillout's lacklustre efforts on the decks. Actually that's not fair as Chuck DID look like he was having fun but maybe he just hadn't had enough time to practice.


Yes, at the end of the day Morgan Khan is a businessman BUT to do something like this 25 years later when the scene has quite obviously peaked a number of years ago is a task that could only be done with a huge amount of love and respect.
And talking of which that is exactly what I have for the man for his work not just on Saturday but for shaping the kind of person I - and a generation of others - have become today.

So here we are. There were problems here and there but that's the nature of a live event. Is £40 a bit pricey for the event? Especially as not all the acts billed were there?
Maybe. But as a one-off I was pleased to have attended as I got the chance to speak to many people - a lot I still don't remember who you were, sorry! - I got some photos and I got some great signatures in my blackbook.
But most of all I've got the memories of seeing some of my childhood heroes performing their hits just as I wanted them to when I was a lad of 14.

Captain Rock & Metronik
The most enduring memory for me will be the fact that Captain Rock came out to the waiting line of people outside the building and personally shook everyone's hand and told us how much it meant to him.

A special mention needs to be said for the aforementioned Inch who not only provided the transport for me but kindly took in myself, Waxer and Dan Fluent back to her crib so that we could party-hardy to the breaka dawn. Well, tea, toast and a sit-down. Thank you!

Lastly, there are whispers of a Street Sounds event being held every year.
And there are rumours of acts such as DJ Cheese, MC Chill, T LA Rock, The Aleems, Knights Of The Turntables, MC Spyder D,  MC Shan and Davy DMX who are ready and willing to come and perform in London.

Hmmmmm, watch this space.

Photos courtesy of Joe Atari and Inch High, 2011 All Rights Reserved


Wax said...

A fine piece Mr.136 and sums up exactly how I felt... probably (I assume I felt like this as I was slightly pickled!) Yep 'twas a dope night and I felt young and alive and vibrant, I don't care about the music bitchness that has dogged this event all over facebook and other places, I care about being there & being with like minds...

A truly memorable experience, R E S P E C T.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh man what happend to the review of tha first act....lol
The Analog Knights With Super Star DJ Illicit and the lyrical loopin lunatic known as Chill. These 2 guys only had 24hrs to prepare for the night and are UK based(Peterborough and London)...no mention...you should be ashamed of yourself....lol

Chill said...

Ya mean ya got there late...
and missed the first set...lol
what happend to the review of The Analog Knightz?? and no i wasn't tha bird who was singing...lol

Chill....some people ahhh.

Anonymous said...

Great review.

Hope they will do another event every year! One thing i will say though, they have got to keep it pure old school!

REPO136 said...

Chilly, I was so jazzed to be there I must've spent the first 30 minutes just in awe and unable to compose myself properly ;-)

You got a link to anything online I can check out?

Defcon project said...

Crackin Review

ramses said...

Nice piece Ben, would've loved to have gone, mind you DST's no-show might well have made me weep. I would have quite enjoyed booing Dave Pearce though.

REPO136 said...

Yes Mark, D.St not being there was a bit poo.
But all in all you can't take away from Morgan what he did.

Gym cee said...

thanks for the write up,looking thru the pics it looked like a good night,next time i think somebody should be there to monitor waxer's alcohol intake!!!
abu/ds fam reppin as hard as ever
lots of love,hugs and kisses

Anonymous said...

ive been stuck in china for 2 weeks gutted i missed it. are they still talking about a dvd? were there cameras there?


Jiglo said...

Fantastic night, finally giving myself and other like minds the chance to meet and watch our heroes performing live in the flesh. As you said, Captain Rock coming out to meet each and every one of us personally, posing for photographs and thanking us all for buying his records really set the night off perfectly for me and seeing him there watching every performance showed he cares about the scene. He definitely got and deserved one of the loudest cheers of the night when he took to the stage. Seeing Morgan working hard around the entrance to make sure everything went down well made you realise how much hard work must have gone into this show. The museum of Street Sounds that greeted us as we entered the building with artwork, record covers, flyers, and a screen playing B Boy classics: Wild Style, Beat Street and Breakdance was a very nice touch. As was the DJ dropping, cutting, juggling, scratching the funk. Into the main room we were kicked off with some new school electro by a German artist which was a teaser for things to come..... The B Boys kicking things off for me properly with some old school jams and newer stuff. Chuck Chillout was clearly struggling a bit with digital djing not playing ball with his creativity, but he performed some nice beat juggling and old school scratching and even a bit of mcing.
Up next the legendary Arthur Baker. My favourite producer of all time. Interesting to hear Arthur play the one tune off Beat Street that nobody can get their hands on either, because it was never released, but I really enjoyed all of his set of the tunes he helped create. He got a great reception which carried on after he came on stage to be introduced properly as the legend he his.
Captain Rock on next to riotous applause, keeping things real and original, just the way I like it. Newcleus performing live topped off a great night and what made it better for me was that they showed real humility to us and the other artists.
It was a nice finish to have the artists back on stage at the end and signing autographs and talking to us.
Just like finding Ageing B-Boys unite made me realise that there are still people out there that are on the same wavelength, that grew up at the greatest time in history when these sounds were the freshest beats to hit the streets, when we all had big ghetto blasters pumping out these jams and mixes to fuel our breakdancing after school and during Break time (break time really was 'break' time at school). This event took things to a whole new level and I really hope this is an annual event.
Good to meet you Ben and a few others on the night.

REPO136 said...

@ deathhop - DAYAMN! There WERE cameras there and an official dvd will be released for sure.
Alternatively, check on Youtube as there's plenty of material going around until it comes out.

REPO136 said...

@ Jiglo - Wow, thanks for your review.
You said it, mate. Great to find that there is more of a following these days than we ever thought there was!

dodga said...

dvd available here http://streetsounds.co/events.php

dodga said...

dvd available here := http://streetsounds.co/events.php

Anonymous said...


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