Northern Soul, Southern Soul

Couple of recent international gigs that deserve mention…

Had a great time at Mr Scruff last Friday at Subnine. It was a five hour set – I think we saw four hours of it, during which he traversed funky breaks from crackly, vampy old northern soul instrumentals to weird minimal tech garage or something, on three decks, while tweaking all hell buggery out of everything with a grunty filter. And behind him all the while was a cute flash animated story/ad for his new mix CD, ‘keep it solid steel’ – I think it’s on his website. If you wanna look, find it yourself. He’s got a real tight aesthetic, kind of blighty funk, cups of tea and steak and kidney pie and cute and nothing too hard or weird. Very ‘dance music for people who struggle with anything too modern’, but a great great DJ…

The following Monday was Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, which topped off an outstanding year for country gigs (despite a no-show from Lucinda Williams) with Steve Earle and Jay Farrar and Will Oldham all also being transcendent. Gillian and David played their third of three sold out shows at the Paramount theatre, sound was great, audience was reverent, music was gospel and murder (and botany), patter was intimate folksy. If you don’t know her music or missed the shows, just go to the library and check it out, it’s timeless, perfectly realised simple stuff, transposing the hellfire damnation/salvation of pre-WWII country to a contemporary setting, without touching the original aesthetic. I like.


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