Blog Archives

Edinburgh’s Finest Craig Smith In The Mix On Angel Mel’s Spread Love Show

craig smith

Join Angel Mel this Tuesday 16th February for another exclusive guest mix. The Spread Love show is proud to announce special guest mix by Edinburgh’s finest DJ / Producer Craig Smith, (6th Borough Project, Fifty Fathoms Deep), to celebrate the launch of AMMPromotions. To find out more on Craig Smith & bookings go to www.ammpromotions.co.uk
Tune in: www.soultrainradio.co.uk or via the Tune In app.
 
Craig’s, DJ career has been on the go for fully 20 years, from his own famous night, ‘Audio Deluxe’ to numerous gigs at every major club across the globe. His 10 year residency at The Honeycomb in Edinburgh saw him play, host and gain the respect of all the players on the dance music scene. Guests at his club nights have included: Masters At Work – Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and Lil’ Louie Vega, Terry Hunter, Phil Asher, John “Jellybean” Benitez, Bugz In The Attic, Domu, Mr V, Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, DJ Deep, Osunlade, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Teddy Douglas, Dave Camacho, Ashley Beadle, Kenny Carpenter, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Feliciano, DJ Spinna – all of whom have rated Craig’s parties as one of the best to play in Europe. Always listening to, and collecting music as a kid, Craig started searching out club nights that would quench his musical thirst, and in the early 80’s it was parties like the capital’s Manifesto that really inspired and turned him on to a fresh and exciting scene that none of his school friends were even aware of. A stalwart on the scene from a young age this eventually lead him to make his DJ’ing debut in 1987 at Edinburgh’s legendary club night The Hooch. His initial influences were boogie, jazz funk, soul and the emerging sounds of rap and house and for him it was a natural progression into the modern production techniques and sounds of dance music. He is known for his non-compromising attitude for the music he loves and has always refused to be categorised preferring to be known for playing “quality dance music”. This has lead to an impeccable international reputation with gigs and radio appearances worldwide, and in his own hometown he is notorious as Irvine Welsh’s favourite DJ with a mention in his books. So far all of Craig’s recording work has been met with great critical acclaim. He has had records out on various labels such as EMI, Virgin, Hush Hush, In Demand, Maxi, Five20East and Soul Heaven under his own name and various guises, such as Harden Soul Project, The Wayfarers, The Soul Renegades and The Shaw Height Assembly and more recently 6th Borough Project. He has remixed tracks for the likes of Cevin Fisher, Roland Clark, Afro Medusa, Beverly Knight, Soul Providers, Moloko, and the Hong Kong Micros amongst others. Currently working on new music with production partner Graeme Clark (The Revenge) on their popular 6th Borough Project and Craig Smith & The Revenge guises, recent releases/remixes on Five20east, Soul Heaven and Jimpsters new label Delusions Of Granduer (as Craig Smith & The Revenge) and Jisco, Less Productions, Instruments of Rapture, Soul Heaven (as 6th Borough Project) have been gaining mad props/ radio/club play from such heavy hitters as Kenny Dope, Giles Peterson, Simbad, Karizma, Jimpster, Terry Hunter, Danny Krivit, Chris Duckenfield, Joe Clausell, Quinten Harris, Phil Asher, Todd Terje, Mad Matts and a host of others! Keep your eyes peeled as there are more tracks on the way with forthcoming releases on Soul Heaven, Instruments of Rapture, Freerange, Future Classics and Delusions Of Grandeur Craig has also been busy in the studio with Ricky Reid as they breath new life into the Soul Renegades production moniker. This exciting project has being gaining serious attention from the get go and with their debut release out now on the much respected Phil Ashers Restless Soul Music gaining heavy praise and with further releases due on UK label Fresh Minute, US deep house don Anthony Nicholson ‘s Circular Motion imprint and a Stephanie Cooke remix for Soulful Beats ready to follow the future looks rosy.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records Launch Album Launch For BBE Records

946122_10153800924190853_4444478598228570296_n

To celebrate the release of Kev Beadle’s latest compilation for BBE Records you are invited to join him with DJ Harv and Nick Hosier playing some quality jazz goodness on one of the best sound systems in London. Admission is FREE, so get there early……..

Created by music industry legend, MMO Music Group CEO and true godfather of karaoke (but that’s another story) Irv Kratka, alongside producer Eric Kriss, Inner City Records was founded in 1976. During its decade or so in existence, the label put together a formidable catalogue of jazz music and was voted Record Label Of The Year in 1979 by the International Jazz Critics Poll. As well as ‘classic jazz’, the label also gave a platform to more avant-garde material and dabbled in the emerging ‘jazz fusion’ sounds of the day.
Inner City boasted a particularly fervent fan-base in London, where many of its releases found a home within the sweaty underground dance clubs of Soho and Convent Garden back in the early 80s. Fittingly enough, London DJ and tastemaker Kev Beadle is the man chosen to put together this very special compilation of the imprint’s finest moments.

Soundclips and tracklisting:
https://soundcloud.com/kevb/kev-beadle-presents-the-best-of-inner-city-records-on-bbe-march-2016-snippets

For more booking information on this artist contact Angel Mel www.ammpromotions.co.uk

My love for the Suncebeat Festival and the Children of the Sun.

Suncebeat. Children of the Sun11796351_954457517910218_7953221280620284117_n

This is a piece I have written especially dedicated to all the Suncebeat family or as I affectionately now call them ‘Children of the Sun’.

There are several stages of being when it comes to the Suncebeat festival simply put, before, during and after. I will now attempt to give a brief description; If you are discovering Suncebeat for the first time, read on this may just tip the balance in your favour to book up for next year. On the other hand if you have already sampled the delights, then join me as we relive the memories.

Before – Did you hear whispers amongst your friends about a festival somewhere in the Dalmatian coast that was more beautiful than you could have ever imagined? Not just aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but a festival full of like minded souls who had gathered together for the love of music. Such places exist and are your for the taking.

Once you have stepped into the realm, you will never view life in quite the same way again.

During – Were your mind and body prepared for the delights that lay in store for you? Having reached your destination, taken your first tentative steps in a country that was mainly unfamiliar to you. Did you look across Tisno, up to the mountains and along the calm blue sea in wonder? 11800773_10153391083056154_636989748_o

On site there is a palpable rush of euphoria, this place is unlike anything you would have ever experienced before. Is this what togetherness feels like? You look from left to right, to faces turned towards the sun with an expression of sheer happiness on their faces. At that moment in time you surmise there is no better place than this and nowhere else you would rather be.

Hot summer days follow warm summer nights, this is hedonists groundhog day without the monotony. The world blossoms before you with the visions of boat parties, intimate gathering of DJs and music lovers, all thrust together out at sea. You may cry tears of joy, it happens to be true, for there are few greater experiences in life that evoke such deep emotion.

11780063_10153388315946154_1566440064_oFor me the Mindfluid boat, with Kev Beadle firmly at the helm and followed closely by Rich Medina, Rainer Truby, Lefto, took proceedings to a whole new level. Until you have experienced nearly an entire boat moving in unison directing energy from the ‘souls’ of their dancing feet towards the DJs, it is a feeling like no other. On the Yoruba Soul boat, Osunlade, Rainer Truby, Craig Smith and Eddie Ramich; gathered our spirits and invoked the gods and goddesses of dance. Such were the vibrations pulsating through the boat, that several dolphins joined the party and jumped with joy alongside us. Revellers flocked to side of the Argonaught to catch sight of these magestic creatures, all at once causing the boat to lean precariously to one side. Occurrences like these are rare, they are what I call a world appreciation moments and are to be cherished. 11790321_10153388316276154_1785678119_oJust when you think you can not take any more happiness, you discover how to dance on the beach stage! Wide wild steps, sweeping arms as you sassay across the dance floor. All is right with the world the DJ is spinning your favourite tune, whilst the disco ball showers in you in an iridescent glow. Where else could you experience a plethora of DJs from Osunlade, Andrew Ashong, Lay-Far, Floating Point, DJ Spen, Dean Sunshine Smith, Lil Stevie, Gavin Kendrick, all displaying a kaleidoscope of the finest soulful underground dance music around?!

11793749_10153385807091154_144702242_o

I will take this opportunity to salute my dear friend Neil Pierce, who is one half of Rhemi, whose track ‘Diamond’, must be the winner of anthem of the week, not a day passed with out the lyrics ‘Just be the diamond that you know you are’, cascading across the beach stage. All who are in agreement with me say I!

But wait there is more Barbarellas! Here you become the mistress or the master of keeping the vibe alive as the coach takes you to your destination. Barbarellas is a world within itself, an out door arena, free from walls allowing you to be free. Time moves slowly we dance for hours to an assortment of; Disco edits, Deep South African House, Soulful and uplifting grooves, to the ancestral tribal Afro House. We dance until the first light creeps it’s way over head, the morning sun makes it way to greet us, (haven’t you gone to bed yet) it whispers.

I must not forget to mention the pleasure of seeing the live acts Roy Ayers and Brand New Heavies and how we swayed and sang along to the songs that have provided the soundtrack to our lives. Or the Soul stage with Terry Jones & Ronnie Herel, as it throbbed to the sound of happy singing voices.

11780343_10153390063951154_1086898614_o

Make way for the DJ Queens, Natasha Kitty Kat Probert, Simmone Black Fox and Blonde Flash, who displayed greatness behind the decks.

As the days progressed and with the greatest ease, you find you have became a member of Suncebeat family. Never has it been so easy to connect with people from the worldwide community in one small place. Facebook will light up with the clicks of new connections and shared experiences.

After – Is the stage of utter exhaustion but only as a result of having the best time of your life. Most of us at some point have lost our voices, some folk have temporary lost our minds, lack of sleep can do that to you. All forgiven and after a good nights sleep is forgotten.

The most profound realisation of what you have just experienced can not be found in words, it hits you between the 2nd and 4th day of being at home. When the slow trickle of Facebook statuses become a torrent of adoration and love. Video clips and photos topple across the screen, confirming that yes this is your life. The revelation hits you square in the heart and mind, that you now belong to something deeply powerful and moving. Suncebeat is more than a festival, it is a way of being with one another and a way in which we connect with our spiritual selves. Since the dawn of time our ancestors have joined together under the sun and moon, we have danced in unison sending our earthly bodies into the heavens. For those 7 days we have followed in the footsteps of ancestors celebrating lives bounty.

11784041_10153391084631154_1511284151_o

I end my review with a quote by Ptolemy an ancient Greek geographer and astronomer, I read this quote and thought of us.

‘I know that I am mortal by nature and ephemeral, but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of heavenly bodies, I know longer touch earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus and take my fill of ambrosia’.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt blessings and love to Alex Lowes, Dave Gardener, Nick Connelly, Gavin Kendrick, Kev Beadle, Ben Brophy Yasim, Ceri Ann and to all the people in front and behind the scenes who help this extraordinary festival possible.

Give thank the DJs, for their energy, for keeping us dancing and for being the conduit in which unifies us: Roy Ayers, Brand New Heavies, Louie Vega, Tony Humphries, Kerri Chandler, Osunlade, Sandy Riviera, Miguel Migs, Black Coffee, Dimitri From Paris, Floating Points, Andrew Ashong, Motor City Drum Emsemble, Marques Wyatt, Rich Medina, DJ Spen, Reverend P, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Lefto, Rainer Truby, Eddy Ramich, Lay-Far, Djeff Afrozilla, Craig Smith, Dean Sunshine Smith, Ronnie Herel, Souldynamic, Phil Asher, Kev Beadle, Gavin Kendrick, Mark Stone, David Fiorese, Luis Radio, Jonny Miller, Ben Brophy, Steve Butler, Lil Stevie, James Morgan, Natasha Kitty Kat Probert, Simmone Black Fox, Blonde Flash and Colin Williams.

To my roomies Jan and Karen, here’s to our nudist apartment, Benny Hill sketches, Prosecco and life long friendship.

My business partner Laila – welcome to the family we the world is our oyster.

Last but not least children of the sun always keep the love of Suncebeat in your hearts. Until next year big love,  11791053_10153396101661154_2018424216_o Angel Mel x

To relive the whole experience tune into my Suncebeat 6 soundtrack, just follow the link below.

Southport Weekender – Celebrating 28 Years Of Life, Love and Music at One of Britain’s largest & longest standing indoor dance events. Collection Of Music and Memories

We are family.

We are family.

Back in October 2014, the organisers of Southport weekender brought Southport back home to it’s original humble beginnings at the Pointins site. I made it my mission to interview and record as many of the SPW family, in celebration of our 50th anniversary. My aim was for people to share their first time and most cherished memories of the Southport Weekender. Since starting out on my mission, the recording of people’s stories was the easy part, but editing and putting it all to music was quite a different kettle of fish. I had to learn how to use the audacity program from scratch! So please excuse the all the ambient sounds in the background,and the imperfections. All the stories were recorded live from the event as it was happening. I’ve been holding on to this project for months, I was uncertain whether the finished product was good enough to share with my beloved Southport family. That is until I received the news on Wednesday 20th March that would no doubt change not only my life but the lives of those around me, when I heard that this years Southport Weekender would be the last. I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming since of loss, I felt bereft. Hearing the news was like losing a dear friend. Selfishly I could only think of life never being quite the same again, and that there could be nothing to fill the hole that it left behind. For Alex Lowes, Dave Gardner and the team to come to this decision must have been heart breaking for them. But I can not dwell on the sadness or sense of loss, when belonging to the worlds most friendliest music event has brought me and many others so much joy. Nothing can take away our memories, or the life long friendships and experiences that we all shared together. We belong to a unique community, fueled by our passion for music and togetherness which has ultimately changed our lives for the better. Remember there is no Southport without you, us or them. With every dance move we ever made, when we wiped the tears of happiness from our eyes, from the collective call of ‘Good Morning campers’, the infamous chalet parties, the mind blowing performances, our pride as we display our collection of SPW lanyards, the intensity of the build up as the event approaches. We have all be touched by the magic and it has left it’s mark like indelible ink right across our hearts. This isn’t the end it’s just the beginning of a brand new chapter in our lives. Lastly I want

to thank all the amazing people who contributed to this podcast and to everyone single one of the SPW family for having such a profound affect on my life. I hope by listening to this podcast it makes you smile and to bring back your own special memories. Special thanks to Corina & friend, the brilliant Antony Elson, Susie, Steve Smith, Rebecca Wann & Champs, Simon Schooly Philips, Fitzroy Da Buzzboy, Siobhan & Tracey, Adeva, Marcia Carr, Jean Carne, Rob Lawrence, The Beast, Annie & Alan Kenny Arscott from Mucho Soul, Mike Dirguid, John Stewart, (my soul sista Jan Whalley, Peter Borg, William Loonen Thanks to Colin Williams for the image. Music 1. George Benson – You can do it baby 2.Cheryl Lynn – Got to be real 3. Masters At Work – To be in love 4. Armand Van Heldon – You don’t know me (instrumental) 5.Sounds of Blackness – I’m going all the way 6. Maze – Twilight 7. Nu Colours – Greater Love 8. The Rebirth = This journey in 9.Jean Carne – Was that all it was 10.Omar – Dancing (Zed Bias remix) 11. Roy Ayers – Liquid Love 12. Kerri Chandler – Rain 13. Louie Vega – Cerca De Mi (instrumental) 14. Gregory Porter – On the way to Harlem

http://angelmel1979.podomatic.com/entry/2015-03-22T08_47_41-07_00

When Angel met Rainer Truby 003East meets West – When Angel Mel met Rainer Truby

Still reveling in the after glow of the Southport Weekender 50th anniversary. I caught up with Rainer Truby on a warm sunny evening, ahead of his performance alongside Futureboogie owner and DJ Dave Harvey at the Love Inn.
Rather like catching up with an old friend rather than an interview, Rainer & I discuss; Southport Weekender, Level 42, his early years as a volunteer DJ at an old peoples home. his involvement with Danilo Plessow from Motor City Drum Emsemble and other magical moments.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rainer for his time, and excellent sense of humour and of course his music.

Track List

Martin Pantino – Hommage A La Sodomie
Truby Trio – Carajillo
Tosca & Lucas – Stuttgart (Marlow & Truby remix)
Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band – Face The Fire (Rainer & Marlow Refix
Rainer Truby & Vanessa Freeman – Living In Te Music
Rainer Truby – To Know you

72 Hours In The Life Of A Southport Weekender Devotee

SW50-HEADER

 

 

Join me as I take you through 72 hours of Britain’s longest running indoor dance event Southport Weekender, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Take a step into my world, as you view the weekend through the eyes of a Southport Weekender devotee.

Friday

Let the games begin...

Let the games begin…

Where to start? There are so many beginnings to chose from; the night before where butterflies do the conga in my stomach and sleep is evasive due to the anticipation of the following days adventure. Or the journey from Bath to Minehead, where one lone Southporter makes her way on the train, only to be met by a whole train full of excited, enthusiastic revellers, all heading in the same direction. Or maybe the moment when you reach the site, waiting outside for your party leader to collect the wrist bands and lanyards. I love that part, the cries of recognition as you bump into all your friends from across the country and indeed the globe: Dubai, Aylesbury, New York, Sunderland, Ireland, Manchester, Amsterdam the list is endless.

For we are all apart of something unique, and very special. We are all members of a world wide music family. From this moment on, we the collective conscious know that for the next 72 hours, we are going to experience the time of our lives, together as one.

Southport Weekender is like being immersed in your own bubble; to a certain extent the outside world doesn’t exist, mainly due to the poor mobile phone reception, but that’s a godsend.
There is an unspoken rule when coming to Southport for the first time, ‘remember it is a marathon not a sprint’. Being able to balance your weekend; between spending time with your friends, cross referencing the time table, to ensure you get to see your chosen acts, finding time to eat, sleep and swim (yes I said swim) is an art form in itself, most people fall at the first hurdle.

The line up is breath taking, there are very few places where you would get to see a plethora of world class artists and DJs such as; the living legend Chaka Khan, the world renowned Archie Bell and The Drells, veteran of the Acid House and Hardcore scene Carl Cox, one of Britain’s leading pioneers and champions of Reggae David Rodigan, Hip Hop royalty DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jazz Songbird Zara McFarlane, game changing and rule breaker Derrick Carter, The Black Messiah himself, Osunlade, Soulful Songstress Faith Evans, bringers of the fresh and funky beats Brand New heavies, I could go and on and on…..

Friday is like an enormous energy conductor, we promise to take it easy, pace ourselves; however the sheer magnetism and force behind the weekender takes over, until we left powerless against it’s charms.
The new home of the resident pub the Inn on the Green, swelled with the masses of feverishly excited party goers. Southport resident DJs: Paul Stuart, Bob Jefferies, Terry Jones, Martin Lodge, Luis Radio, Mark Stone and Souldynamic provide the perfect backdrop. Picture the scene; open arms and continental kisses, greeting friends, while pints and glasses were raised in unison; ‘we are here, we made it, the fun starts now.

All together now!

All together now!

Steve Butler & Ben Brophy, the welcoming committee.

Steve Butler & Ben Brophy, the welcoming committee.

My night begins in the Suncebeat Dome, where I am received with open arms by the Southport stalwart Steve Butler and rising star Ben Brophy. Both Steve and Ben brought their unique brand of delightful cheer to the proceeding, that kicked off the party in style. The energy behind those decks was electric. I stand transfixed and overwhelmed by whole ambiance, the greetings and embraces. One person in particular I must mention, Southport resident DJ Gavin Kendrick, who for me has given this years event a whole new meaning, Gavin I salute you.

 

 

 

One of the most poignant moments that I recall, was being by the entrance of the Dome, just watching the people dancing, laughing and being happy. Martin Iveson aka Atjazz and Ross Hillard from the Magic Number bop through the dome; earlier that week I had emailed Ross to show him love for a track he had recently made called ”Song for Sophia’. A stunning piece of Jazz, complimented by heart warming vocals; a track I had played several times during my week long DJ residency in Ibiza the previous week. As I stood chatting with a woman, who told me it was her first time at Southport Weekender. I beam with enthusiasm keen to initiate a new member into our ever expanding family. All of sudden Ross leans over and tells me that the woman I am talking to is Angela Armstrong, none other than the vocalist on the ‘Song for Sophia’. It one of those goosebump moments, such a humble and lovely woman.

The beautiful Angela xx

The beautiful Angela xx

 

My spiritual home always has been and will always be the Beat Bar, however something switched this year, perhaps it was the change of location of my beloved Beat Bar. I managed to drag myself away from the Suncebeat Dome to the Beat Bar. I was on a mission to see Tall Black Guy, a much respected Producer/ DJ from Detroit; who had been delighting my eardrums, courtesy of the oracle that is Kev Beadle. I’m pleased that I made the switch Tall Black Guy’s set is as creative and innovative as I imagined it would be. The experience is sweetened by having the opportunity to chat to him and is manager / wife after his performance. Such is the way at Southport than you can easily walk amongst your music heroes, there’s no attitude of diva like behaviour, we are all on the same level.

This time the lure of the Suncebeat Dome enticed me back and holds me firm to it’s bosom.
Friday night was full of the most floor stomping celebratory DJs. The likes of Neil Pierce brought the Dome down as we danced and cheered; congratulating Neil on his well deserved place at Southport. Neil was followed by a man that needs very little introduction Kenny Dope. Kenny’s house set literally set the dance floor a blaze. His historic take on well loved classic House tunes, led to on mass singing and shows of jubilation.

Next up were two of my favourites; the boundary pushers, the UN-conventionalists otherwise known as Exist, who consist of Atjazz & Karizma, with Ross Hillard on bass guitar. These guys are technical wizards, whose creative synergy is a wonder to behold. Not forgetting the sheering sexual magnetism of Ross and his bass guitar, I must say there were one or two blushes as Ross rode that bass guitar into the audience, like a proper super star.

906935_10152388797776154_9188521548008956786_o

 

May I remind you that I am still on Friday night or should I say morning, about 6am to be exact in the Beat Bar. There are few that could hold my attention until that time of the morning. However this time I make an exception. Some call him the ‘Black Messiah’, other’s the spiritual leader of the dance floor, to all his name is Osunlade. This is the point where music get’s spiritual. Osunlade offers up an holistic approach in his delivery. Only the true believers would remain on the dance floor at 6am to watch the holy man deliver his sermon. The scene could be described like something out a tribal gathering, the air is heavy, hot and sticky; the congregation eagerly awaits for the first tune and away we go. Two hours of the deepest, soul nourishing, hypnotic and mesmerising music. I was fortunate enough to be back stage for this set, as the temperatures soared we handed out bottles of water to the crowds. Committed to the cause, we danced, we cheered and we adored Osunlade, right until the very last song.

And so to bed, exhausted, body aching, elated and satisfied.

10257323_10152404668821154_5418819545697919684_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday.

Earlier I mentioned that Southport is a marathon not a sprint, no where is this more evident than    on Saturday day time. The atmosphere is thick with palpable tension. The anticipation is building, something magnificent is about to go down.

In the mean time; so many people I wanted to see, but I like so many others I am a mere mortal, sleep prevails I miss; Archie Dell and the Drells, Andrew Ashong, Gavin Kendrick. However all is not lost, for the bold & brave and for the ones in the know, swimming is an absolute godsend. There is nothing better then after 12 hours of bouncing, moving and grooving than a nice relaxing swim in the whirlpool; followed by launching myself down the death defying waterslides.
As I walk around the site, I can only liken it being in an glorious alternative universe; the giant Southport deckchair, which revellers clamber onto exposing their knickers or builders bums in order to have their pictures taken in it. The smiles and nods, the ‘good morning campers’ shared between to passer’s by. We experience the sense of togetherness. The feeling that we are all in this together and at this moment in time life does not get much better than this.

Back to the matter at hand, there was only one act on most people’s mind that Saturday afternoon; one reason to drag your weary head away from the comfort of your pillow. Since the release of the live line up earlier in the year, my mind had been focused on seeing the performance of one woman. I could have only dreamt of seeing this legendary artist in my life time. Today was a day for making dreams come true, not just for me but for thousands of members, this is the moment we had been all waiting for.

One Nation Under A Groove

One Nation Under A Groove

 
With a body that betrayed what my mind was actually feeling, overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of whom I was about to see.
I stood in the main pavilion, with my dear friend Nick and a glass of prosecco in hand, to steady the nerves. The hustling, buzzing throngs of people, listening to Southport Soul man Ronnie Herel. We gently swayed to the music, still a little tender from the night before. We speculated amongst ourselves, would she be a Diva? Would she turn up late? Has she still got it? How old is she anyway? Have you heard the rumour, which British Funk Soul legendary band would be supporting her, no other than Incognito!
The music stops, out comes Ronnie Herel, there is hush amidst the crowd. With an introduction of gratitude, out come Incognito to kick off the proceedings in style. Next an announcement that is only befitting for a woman of her magnitude and heroism, out comes the tiniest woman, a shock of wild hair and a outfit that screams, you came to me and me alone – Chaka Khan! My heart literally skips a beat, as I write this the hair on the back of my neck stands up at the mere thought of that moment. Chaka opens up with the anthem ‘I feel for you’, the love and adoration of nearly six thousand people singing back at her is unbelievable. From that moment on, I am lost in the magic. Chaka Khan delivered a performance that was unrivalled, her vocal gymnastics were breathtaking if not ear splitting at times.
Incognito offered up the perfect accompaniment to her style, never missing a beat.
As I looked around me I saw the smiles; the I can not believe this is actually happening expressions. This is a dream come true, when you come face to face with a long term music hero. Every song meant something valuable to each and other person. Songs like ‘Ain’t nobody’, ‘I know you, I live you’, ‘Sweet thing’, invoked an emotional response. Those songs may have signified a particular time in their lives; or provoked a specific emotion. For me it was like Chaka was singing the soundtrack of my life. I’ve only ever felt like this once before when I fortunate to see Jocelyn Brown. It was not until the final encore of ‘I’m every woman’, that I finally broken down into tears. The out pouring of complete and utter joy of witnessing a woman I both admire and respect, give a stellar performance. My dreams had come true, this would be a moment I would cherish for the rest of my life.

Living Legend Chaka Khan

Living Legend Chaka Khan

I needed a lie down after that, to let the magic settle and soak into my being. This kind of wonder doesn’t happen every day.

Saturday night draws in, once more into the breach I go armed with my dancing shoes, fans and most importantly my crew from Sunderland. One of the best attributes of Southport is belonging to a world wide family. Most of us only get to see each other once or twice a year, which makes meeting up all the more special. The Mackems are feeling at home tonight. The gale force winds whipping around the site makes me scream, it’s freezing. ” Ah nae bother”, comes the reply from my mate Craig just wait until we get inside the Beat Bar, soon get warmed up. What lies in wait for us is an evening of pure unadulterated pleasure. Tonight is all about getting low down and funky; Gilles Peterson laying it down in the Beat Bar. Finding a suitable space to dance is a challenge sticky dance floors and carpets don’t mix, pass me the talcum powder, I feel a gliiiide coming on. Gilles Peterson is was of the only DJs I know who could throw down a melting pot of genres and get away with it. Music to my ears.

 

We enter the newly decorated Connoisseurs room, glistening tassels suspended from the ceiling. The Connoisseurs room as the name implies, plays the best in Soulful music over the past several decades. Kenny Dope is playing an eclectic set, I live for moments like these. A selection of rarities and well known tracks blended together with the sole intention of making you move. Time moves swiftly, we can’t decide between Moody Man, Kerri Chandler & Friends and Joey Negro, decisions, decisions, decisions.

After the conversation I had with the gorgeous Angela Armstrong from Magic Number and the lovely Ben Brophy; I make a be line to uncharted territories to the Power House room. The Power House is known for being the home of the crème de la crème of House music, drawing it’s influences from the major players in the House scene origins of; New York, Chicago, Detroit. I tend not too much spend there, it is a vast air hanger of a room beautifully decorated, but a little too big for me. Now at 4am I am faltering slightly but my resolve to stay is strong, if I can I will watch performance to the sweet end. Kerri Chandler is the pied piper of the generations; his contribution to music is outstanding. He is also considered responsible for helping to change the course of dance music history.
Another welcome blessing, Kerri and Friends is a unique take on dance music brought to life via live instruments and upfront vocals.
The inspiration behind the idea came from, Kerri and Ben watching Gregory Porters mesmerising set in the Connoisseurs room at Southport 48. Having worked closely with Ross Hillard and his band Magic Number, and making transatlantic Skype calls to Kerri Chandler. The project was carefully orchestrated by Ross Hillard and welcomed with open arms by Kerri. The dream had finally came to fruition. To follow the progress of an idea, as it developed and evolved, in to what I saw before me was truly awe inspiring.
The experience felt like being gathered up, embraced and being taken on a wonderful adventure. Listening to the unmistakable voices of Arnold Jarvis and Robert Owens; voices that I have been listening to for years, sing the likes of ‘Inspiration’, and I’ll be your friend’, ‘Tears’ a moving tribute to Frankie Knuckles performed live were pretty special. One of my proudest moments, was to see a new shining light in the form of Ben Brophy, up on stage playing the keyboard on the track inspiration . A track Ben tells me that helped to cement a life long friendship with Kerri. My one regret was not being able to stay until the end, by 5.30am my energy had left the building and I had to leave with it.

 

Kerri Chandler & Friends

Kerri Chandler & Friends

 

 

Sunday
Now for the chosen few who are lucky enough to have the golden ticket for the third night, this means an extravaganza. The closing and after parties, the beat doesn’t stop. For the rest of the revellers, Sunday is normally experience with a heavy heart and aching feet, it is time to go home.
When most people were asleep or still up chatting, I went swimming. Not surprisingly I was the only one in the pool. As I eased myself along doing a gentle breast stroke. I noticed the waves in the pool getting choppier, after three days of excess I began to wonder if swimming had been such a good idea. In no time at all, the pool went from being calm to a frenzied wave machine, it was all I could do to fight against the increasingly large waves. I managed to cling on to the steps and drag myself out. I had no desire to be the first Southport death due to drowning. I had a few choice words for the pool staff I can tell you!

There is one DJ in particular who is very close to my heart and has been instrumental in helping to educate my music tastes for nearly my whole adult life. That man is Kev Beadle . Kev is an important and vital part of the Southport foundation. His contribution, knowledge, passion and diverse understanding of music is paramount. He is the King of the Beat Bar kids, and responsible for bringing such musical delights at Motor City Drum Ensemble, Lay-Far, Zara McFarlane, Floating Points and not forgetting the legendary Brazilian artist Marcos Vale.

My hero Kev Beadle

My hero Kev Beadle

 

The organisers of Southport Weekender have always paid close attention to the suggestions of their supporters. Last year I asked if Sunday afternoon in the Beat Bar, could play homage with a classic Jazz set; for all the old skool Jazz dancers I had heard so much about. Turns out I wasn’t the only one to make that suggestion, our prays had been answered.
Along with my swimming kit, I made my way down to the Beat Bar for the afternoon’s Jazz & Brazilian session with Kev Beadle and Marcos Vale. Let me tell you something, being able to really get down to Jazz, requires you to let the music take over your body. Let the music doing the talking as they say. What we needed was some talcum powder for this sticky floor, I use water. I am amazed by what I put my body through over the weekend, yet here I am dancing twirling, shuffling in time to the beat. I am not the only one, the hardcore and the dedicated come out to play, donning their leather soled shoes and flat caps. To me they look like they have been waiting all weekend for this moment, their time to shine. Definitely one of my highlights from the weekend, this is music that lifts the spirit. Such a perfect set, I walk over to Kev and give him a massive hug, and utter two simple but heartfelt words thank you.

Through out the weekend there are clashes, it is inevitable unless I am super human I can not in two places at once. As the Beat Bar swells with anticipation of Marcos Vale I make the difficult decision to slip away and leave. I head off in the direction of the Inn on The Green pub to support two chaps who have been brightening up my life for quite some time. I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Kenny Ascott and Ket Shah at the Southport’s sister festival Suncebeat in Croatia two years ago. Since then there radio show, Mucho Soul had become a regular fixture in my life and a keen favourite to many others. Mucho Soul have an impeccable taste in music; showcasing the best in soulful sounds, defining deepness, interspersed with classic Jazz, a real melting pot. The Ket and Alan have worked tirelessly in recent years and were now being rewarded by being given the opportunity to play at the 50th anniversary.

Al & Ket, Mucho Soul brothers.

Al & Ket, Mucho Soul brothers.

Sunday afternoon is not an easy slot to fill, however today was auspicious. All the elements had convened to ensure that the Mucho Soul set would be one to remember. For the first time all weekend the sun shone brightly, people had made there way to the Inn on the Green pub, basking in the unexpected glow. Alan and Ket were poised ready, this was there time to shine and by god they did. Performing at Southport is an opportunity to play your heart out, DJs spend hours carefully selecting the right combination of music. Their playlist grabbed your attention by delighting, and exciting the senses. Mucho did not play it safe, they played their set to win. That afternoon the Mucho Soul boys grabbed us by aching feet and forced to us dance. Flagging energy levels were revived, the atmosphere was electric as we all danced under the sun. Sunday afternoon was shaping up to be another memorable day, absolutely brilliant.

The party isn’t over until it’s over, as I make my way to the Suncebeat Dome, for the Beat Bar closing party. Tonight all my favourite DJs will be together in one place; Kev Beadle, Lay-Far hailing from Russia, German based master of his class Rainer Truby and the Ukrainian man of the hour Vakula.
The after parties are considered to be the best part of the whole weekend, a majority of the people have gone home, just the faithful or foolhardy remain. Everything accumulates to this one point. I can’t believe it’s nearly over how did Sunday night come around so quickly? Like many others I have been awake more than I have been asleep. 72 hours have been filled with unending laughter, non stop chatter, (I am losing my voice), dancing until I was utterly exhausted, showered with so much love from old friends and new I am humbled. Tonight it ends here, this will be the party to end all parties. Kev Beadle is already working his magic on the decks when I arrive, setting the tone and raising our spirits in preparation for the Russian Boy Wonder Alexander Lay-Far. How to describe Lay-Far? A man with a encyclopaedic knowledge of music; who despite his young years will throw down beat after beat, each better than the last until the crowd are begging for more. How do you follow an act like that? By putting on a man who will undoubtedly blow your mind, that man is Rainer Truby. True to form Rainer did not disappoint, he works the audience like a conductor works an orchestra; he leads, we follow. The intensity of how he delivers each record is genius. Vakula was unable to attend the closing party, however help was at hand in the shape of Nacho Velasco, whom played back to back with Rainer. Nacho brought his own unique perspective, which perfectly complimented Rainer’s style. As the hour due to a close, Rainer dropped a track so beautiful, so orgasmic that I was almost lost for words. A ten minute symphony by Martin Pantino named ‘Hommage A La Sodomie’, there was no better way to end a set.

One Love - Music Family.

One Love – Music Family.

And just like that it was over. After the anticipation over the last couple of months; the carefully thought out preparations, the near delirious interactions on all the social media sites, butterflies doing the electric slide in my stomach. All would have to wait until next year, when the process is repeated again.

When you have in excess of 6500 people together in one space, there are bound to a few mishaps and crazy stories over the weekend. Here are a few of my favourite anecdotes that have been shared with me from the weekend.
For all the people that got lost looking your chalets, spare a thought for the chaps that were unable to find their chalet, and asked for directions from the kind Spar staff on site, who pointed them in the right direction. Having searched for 20minutes unsuccessfully, they wandered back to the Spar and one of members of staff chaperoned them back to their chalet.

"Just one more question"...

“Just one more question”…

My room mate who will remain nameless, who was found wandering around outside the chalet at 4.30am talk to bunny rabbits. My soul sista Janikins impression of Columbo was hilarious, just what I needed on a Sunday morning. My lost glasses which disappeared at some point during the Saturday night, my fears of spending the next 24hrs in a hazy fog almost became a reality. Imagine my relief as I found my glasses in an empty pint glass in the Connoisseurs room, I have no idea how they got there. One of my favourites stories is another friend of mine; in his excitement to unpack his car and get into the venue on Friday, had left his car running the entire weekend. He was greeted on Monday morning, by a note left on his windscreen informing him of the fact and a very flat battery; I can only imagine the look on his face.
A mountain of mobile phones were lost and found due to the honest nature of the Southport family, something which is a rarity in everyday life. But my favourite story has to be one of the gorgeous Scottish lasses, made a bet with one of the restaurant staff on site. The bet was if she dressed up like a chicken could she get a free bottle of wine, this is the gospel truth. For reasons known only to her she had packed a full size chicken costume in her suitcase, needless to say her the bottle of wine where her prize.

Do The Funky Chicken!

Do The Funky Chicken!

The world of Southport weekender is a weird and wonderful place, it can described at sheer excessive hedonism or a holy land where the faithful make the pilgrimage every year. With my hand firmly on heart, I can declare my undying love and gratitude to an event that has brought me untold joy and happiness over the years. I have gained lifelong friendships, incredible memories and a new leash of life beyond my wildest dreams.

My life would not be anywhere near as bright and beautiful, if it were for the dedication and vision of the organisers. Alex, Dave, Nick, Gavin and Kev, to all the members past and present, who have shaped and moulded Southport over the years; I think I can speak for us all when I say, you have given us a gift more precious than words can say.
When I reflect on historical outstanding contributions to the music scene, from establishments such at Paradise Garage, The Loft and The Warehouse and the like. Southport Weekender has been instrumental in keeping those original dreams and ideals alive, which has undoubtedly touched the lives of many people across the globe.

Thank you

438606043_1385014613

 

Thank you for the music.

Photography – Courtesy of Muriel.Guennou.Photograpy, James Mortner, Colin Williams

 

When Angel Mel met Kev Beadle interview

Kev photo
Through out my life there have been many people who have helped to shape my love of music and non more so than my next guest. Many moons ago I discovered someone rather special, who’s musical tastes would influence me long before I had the pleasure of meeting him. I recall a time before I had access to the internet I would stay up late and listen to Kev Beadle Mind Fluid show on Solar radio. Back then I used to feverishly write down the songs that I heard on any scrap of paper in the hope that I could find those little pieces of musical gold in a record shop. All at once I was exposed to a whole new world, that captivated me until present day.
It is not everyday one get’s to meet their heroes and especially be given the opportunity to interview them. So it is with enormous pleasure that I present to you the most influential music teacher I could have ever asked for Mr Kev Beadle.
I would like to thank Kev, for his inspiration and being part of my life, it would be a very dull place with you in it.
Join Kev and I as he shares his life experiences I this two part special starting with the early years.
How did your up bringing as a child influence your musical tastes?
We always had the radio on in the house when I was a youngster and my parents bought records from time to time. I used to spend a lot of my time recording tracks being played on the radio with a little cheapy cassette recorder with a microphone held in front of the speaker. Musically I heard a lot of top 40 music being a 60’s child, but in my early teens I also got to hear music like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Moon is still one of the best albums ever made), Santana and listening to 40’s jazz at my nan & grandad’s house and my next door neighbours Reader’s Digest jazz boxsets.
Can you recall the first album you ever bought?
Not sure exactly. Think it might have been Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record ?
What was the first concert / gig you went to that really got you interested in music and how did this capture your imagination?
Again as a kid my parents took me to a few concerts that were mainly more rocky, but the first concert I went to that completely got me into black dance music was going with my mum to see Brass Construction supporting The Detroit Spinners at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
My mum was (and still is) a huge soul and disco fan in the mid/late 70’s. Always listening to Greg Edwards Saturday evening show and Mike Allen on Capital Radio. She would write down the name of the tracks she liked and then on a Monday go to our local import record shop – Diamond Records in Croydon and pick up the latest 7” imports.
From that day after seeing BC I never looked back, so if there was anyone who can take responsibility for my on-going musical tastes its Randy Muller and my mum !!
From 77/78 I also used to go to the legendary Tiffany’s in Purley regularly on a Sunday night when I was 14/15. That was another major influence and where I first saw the whole Soul Boy culture and heard some amazing records for the first time…Slave, Willie Bobo, Wilbert Longmire, Aquarian Dream etc
How & where did you begin your DJing career?
I first got behind decks when I was in 6th Form. There was a group of us who were really into our music. Three or four of us were into our soul, funk and jazz funk, another couple who were into lovers rock and dub and another couple into ska/two tone. We used set up decks in the 6th form block at school and then get invited to play at local house parties at the weekend. My mate who was into his dub used to carry and help build the speaker boxes for Jah Shaka so when we did play out it was more sound system style…one or two decks, a homemade valve amp and 12” & 18” bass bins.
When I left school and through the early 80’s I used to play in local Croydon wine bars on a Sunday night with another guy and our regular crew of dancer mates. I also met Gilles Peterson in a local record shop at this time as he was doing a similar thing in a wine bars in Sutton and Cheam.
My big break came though when I was introduced to Trevor Fung and Paul Oakenfold. They were running a club night at a venue in South Croydon where they were bringing in the likes of Jeff Young, Pete Tong, Chris Hill, Chris Brown etc to guest and Paul and Trevor asked me to warm up. Working with these DJs was major for me at that time as I was specifically going to clubs and listening to their radio shows. These guys were legends and it was an honour to play with them.
Paul and Trevor helped me a lot in those days and believed in me as a DJ and I am truly grateful to them for that. I spent a lot of time dj’ing with them over the next few years…Ziggy’s in Streatham where I also dj’d with Carl Cox from time to time and Alan AKA Arscott
• The Jazz/funk, fusion scene has quite a niche following and is renowned for the fast upbeat tempo, what do you remember about playing in these clubs?
Not all jazz funk and fusion is upbeat, but yes a lot of it got played in the jazz dance clubs.
As I mentioned jazz played a big part in my youth and buying jazz funk at school so I guess I always had it in me so was a natural progression for me.
I remember going to the jazz clubs like Jaffas etc in the West End and being mesmerised by the jazz dancers and the freestyle rhythms and basslines.
I used to play a lot of jazz in the bars I was dj’ing in at the time, but really got my first opportunity to really play it when I dj’d upstairs at Nick Holloway’s Special Branch and Monday nights at The Wag with Gilles, Sylvester, Baz Fe Jazz and Bob Jones.• Around about this time where there any particular DJs, musicians that inspired you to progress further?
I guess from the jazz point of view it has to be Paul Murphy, Colin Parnell & Boo and Bob Jones. Also George Power, Jeff Young and Robbie Vincent.
• I first became aware of your radio show ‘Mind Fluid’ on Solar Radio over a decade ago, was this your first venture into radio?
No not at all. I used to do pirate radio back in 1984 on Starpoint Radio and the K-Jazz which only broadcast on a Sunday from various make shift studios around South London. Dj’s on there apart from myself included Gilles Peterson, Chris Phillips, Jez Nelson, Paul Bradshaw, Bob Jones, Baz Fe Jazz, Sylvester and an amazing salsa DJ called Tomek.

To be continued…….

Links:
TWITTER: @kevbeadle
SOUNDCLOUD: kevbeadle
PODCAST: kevbeadle.podomatic.com/

BLOG PAGE: kevbeadle.blogspot.com

— at For Kev’s interview for my blog.