Last Friday, I had a big night out. While no aromatherapists were involved, nor the famous Morrissey, the Consumer Monkey, my big night out was a cracker, because I went to see Mr. Scruff.
I’d been a fan of his mixes and his own tunes for a while, but finally got ’round to going to see him at the beginning of the year at Band in the Wall in Manchester, as part of the incredibly long-running ‘Keep it Unreal’ residency and had a blast.
So, when I realised I was going to be having a grown up dinner out with some friends (at Edinburgh’s The Apiary, I recommended it. Particularly if you have coeliac disease and need a good choice of gluten-free options), and saw he was playing that very same date, we made a night of it.
The gig was one of his famous five-hour sets, 11-4 am, at La Belle Angele, a club I hadn’t been to since I moved back to Edinburgh, and not since before the great Edinburgh fire of 2002. It was a nice place to be, although I did my usual club thing of avoiding the cloakroom and toilets, so I can’t comment on those, but all in all, pretty nice surroundings. Nice floor, and the sound was just how I like clubs to sound. And the beer wasn’t too expensive. For what more can you ask?
Mr. Scruff’s set up on the stage looked fairly comprehensive, but the video below might suggest why; want to know how to keep your records from skipping when you play live? Simple: just bring a small patio and some squash balls:
Listen, I may have called this a gig review, but, as many people have been credited with saying, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. So I’m not going to spend a couple of thousand words discussing how the evolution of the set through disco and wobbly-bassline-moombahcore was in-fact a metaphor for contemporary socio-economic policy in rural Hampshire, or how the use of cartoon-esque graphics was allegorical for the role that Daphne du Maurier played in the development of 16th Century Spanish naval tactics.
What I will say, is that, if you like to get up on your feet and shake your stuff to some cracking tunes, surrounded by a crowd of people who all seemed to be there for a great time, played by someone who really just seems to love what he’s doing and enjoys a good record, then get yourself to a Mr. Scruff gig.
Now, I’ll admit I didn’t see it through until the 4am finish this time, so after I left he could have played back to back S Club and Steps for the remainder of the set, but I doubt it.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable night, a set that appealed to the crate-digger and the go-out-for-a-good-ol’-dancer alike, in a nice place, with nice people (a good number of people older than me, which was ver comforting), and, to cap it all, a taxi home for half of what I was expecting.
If you’re quick, you can grab the download code for the set on his Facebook page, but let’s leave you with this cracking little set at the wonderfully superb Picadilly Records in Manchester (thank you for all those mailshots around 2003/2004 that kept me going on long nights in the office!).
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