Tag: Basement Jaxx

If you're not already aware, Clean Bandit are on the brink of the big league. The member-shifting collective are an eclectic, dynamic and surprising pop juggernaut in waiting; the kind that you could loudly foresee filling a Basement Jaxx-shaped hole in years to come, without being accused of doe-eyed hyperbole. After-all, their new single 'Mozart's House' peaked at Number 12 in the UK Singles Chart and tonight's show is their first as headliners; all off the back of a few minor releases and fervent word of mouth.

The early infatuation is totally understandable though, as live they ooze ideas and reek of professionalism, with the cast ever-changing and the hooks dressed up in a melange of weird and wonderful ways. They initially woo with a string of SBTRKT-ish, Makeda Moore-fronted synth bangers, before slowing it down - vocalist Nikki B lending her smooth croon to the throbbing bass of spine-tingling early B-side 'Nightingale', in sync with a backdrop of their artwork's hypnotic, primary coloured shapes. Though, they ramp it back up again with the pulsating and ever-infectious 'A+E', which jerks the room into life; its maudlin string intro is the spark for arm-waving and, then, crowd-directed microphones; a moment of wide-mouthed, electro euphoria that even the Electrowerkz' knackered sound system can't scupper.

If their Classical RNB doesn't already have the room swooning, the arrival of MC Ssegamic and their chart-dwelling new release certainly does. "I don't know, skip a beat,” he bellows into the front row, to a wall of approval; its wonky, orchestral progression igniting the dancefloor alongside brain-warping, Tetris-like graphics.

"This is our first headline gig! We can't leave it like that", he announces, before the band air a taste defying, Dario G cover to close. Of course, 'Sunchyme' feels like shiver-inducing nostalgia for tonight's demographic, evoking all the same fuzziness as the version to be found on a boot fair-flogged Now 38 cassette. They depart, without encore – much to the baying crowd’s frustration – but, nonetheless, it’s a short and tantalising showcase from a band that seem to be irrepressibly shooting skywards.

Such is the steep, climbing trajectory of Surrey siblings Disclosure, this date at London’s Heaven already feels like a booking they’ve somewhat outgrown. Fans of the duo’s futuristic, balearic-tinged house spill out of every orifice of the chock-full Villiers Street superclub; preened, keen and dressed to the nines. They’re the lucky few. Many have tried and failed to be here this evening and so, if it wasn’t predictable enough from their inescapable approval and elevated chart position (the Lawrence brothers and AlunaGeorge currently sit in the Official UK Top 10), tonight feels like an event of weighty anticipation.

Not that this sense of occasion fazes exceptional new London collective Clean Bandit. Initially lining-up as a glitter-clad, six-piece tonight - with Nikki B and Makeda Moore providing a slew of smooth, soulful runs - they enthral throughout; swaying in sync during the pounding electronica of ‘Nightingale’, before inciting the crowd with ‘A+E’(s) contagious, chamber-electro chorus. However, their set hits new heights with the arrival of gold-hooded rapper, MC Ssegamic, who is charisma personified, mocking the movements of a baton-wielding conductor during the giddy, orchestral bliss of ‘Mozart’s House’. “We can’t leave London like this! Let’s drop a classic”, he says, before they send the converted attendance into ecstasy with a thrilling, Coolio/Destiny’s Child mash-up. The new Basement Jaxx, some say? Undoubtedly.

It could be a tricky support slot to follow, but Disclosure are far from knob-twiddling dullards; their forthcoming LP-heavy set is an immersive electronic experience from the off, with the two-piece flitting between drum pads, bass and synths on impulse. It takes the unveiling of EP favourite ‘Boiling’ to really ignite proceedings, the track’s honeyed, neo-soul and throaty bass proving irresistible amidst the darting strobes. However, the reaction is tame compared to what follows; the twosome play their trump card by welcoming the hypnotic Aluna Francis to join them for the electrifying, and chart-topping, ‘White Noise’, before launching into the skittery patches and spliced vocals of ‘What’s In Your Head’. It’s an exhilarating double, followed by their dancefloor-unifying remix of Jessie Ware's ‘Running’; the sold-out crowd's unanimous euphoria proving that it really has taken on a life of its own since its B-side release early last year. Duly, they complete a captivating set with the magnificent ‘Latch’, dangling it’s sampled “Ne-ver”(s) in front of the hordes, prior to greeting the silk-voiced Sam Smith on stage. “Now I got you in my space, I won’t let go of you” he cries, in front of a backdrop of their soon-to-be-iconic, neon faces; it’s a DJ’s motto if ever we’ve heard one, and one that they undeniably uphold.

thedrums get remixed by basement jaxxBasement Jaxx take on The Drums, Money and give it a good old remix.

Everybody likes a good remix to listen to and when it's done by Basement Jaxx then of course it's going to be loved even more.

Money was released by The Drums last summer. Listen to it below.

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Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange 2011Winter is truly upon us now. The days are getting dark by mid afternoon and the cold winds briskly usher us home after work. Smirnoff didn't get the memo though.

The Smirnoff nightlife exchange is a global experience that brings different cultures and influences to shores abroad for one night of revelry.

This year the UK exchanged nightlife with Jamaica. Acts including Basement Jaxx, Toddla T, Ms Dynamite, Rob da Bank, Assassin, Reggae Roast and the Jolly Boys looked to spice up Alexandra Palace with an eclectic set of Jamaican inspired tunes. Throw in a copious amount of Smirnoff based cocktails and it had all the ingredients for a great night.

Rob da Bank is a huge fan of Jamaican music and culture, “I’ve been to Jamaica before, me and my wife drove about the island and saw some amazing culture, food and music. I went record shopping in downtown Kingston and came back with loads of dub seven inches. I’m really influenced by Jamaica and it’s very close to my heart”

Headliners Basement Jaxx also look to JA, “Jamaican music is part of urban British culture so we do draw influences from there for our music. Our single ‘Jump and Shout’ is a good example as it draws on hip hop, soca and ragga vocals” said Felix Buxton.

On their break from music “It’s time to get on with some Basement Jaxx music. We had a cycle which was album, tour, album tour for 11 years and after that we said let’s have a break, we need a breather but now we said OK it’s time. Even if it’s just one more” said Simon Ratcliffe.

Attractions on offer included a replica of the Pelican Bar which is widely considered to be one of the best bars in Jamaica. I visited the bar on my travels in June and it came close though the real bar is on stilts in the middle of the ocean and can only be reached by boat. Smirnoff’s budget didn’t cover that. Also adorning the venue were enormous real life palm trees, market stalls serving up traditional food and a smaller second room where a lot of skanking took place to the sounds of ska, reggae, raga and dancehall.

Also it was good to see the Jolly Boys playing in London. They are a group of men who must be in their seventies now but are still full of the youthful joys of life. I saw them play a very small and intimate gig at the luxury Geejam resort in Port Antonio to about 10 guests and they played with the same enthusiasm and gusto as they did on that night.

Ms Dynamite was my highlight of the night. I’ve seen her many times over the years and she seems to be going through a mini renaissance of late working with new artist, dubstep acts and producers.

My only criticism would be it would have been nice to have a big act that was particularly known for their connections with Jamaica. An obvious choice would have been someone like David Rodigan who with his “in 1974 in Kingston town” tales and rare dubplate would of given it that seal of authenticity.

However putting that minor detail aside this is a great concept and a very well executed event. London is such a diverse and multicultural city and bringing everybody under one roof to celebrate this should be applauded. Where should they exchange nights with next time? My vote would be for somewhere like Vegas or Berlin.

Smirnoff I raise my glass to you. Till next year.

Andre McLeod


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