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A Magazine for Sheffield

Bunga Bunga / Riddimtion / Liquid Steel Sessions / What's On.

3rd February.

Reviewer - Wayne Hoyle.

On more weekends than not nowadays, the once deserted back alleys of Shalesmoor are quietly teeming with disorientated taxi drivers and discombobulated rave monkeys. Despite having found ourselves within the same complex at a number of clandestine gatherings over 2011, it still ends up being a bit of a mission to get ourselves within earshot of tonight's party.

It's controlled chaos outside early on, no doubt partly due to the fact that Toddla T and secret guest DJ Q smashed it at the last event before Christmas. Add to that the prospect of a combustible line-up of certified legends presiding over a whole host of precocious fresh talent and it's a relief to make it through the front doors just before it's completely roadblocked.

Unsurprisingly, it's full-on bouncing from the get go, with two rooms attempting to contain the collective bass trauma of eleven DJs over six hours. Resident Jack Opus slays the main space while local producer Squarehead (aka 18-year-old Oli Ledger) shows why his EP has been attracting props nationally over the last few months.

But the whole place is buzzing in anticipation of one particular person, and he doesn't disappoint. Dizzee's old mucker, Slimzee, has dusted off his vinyl from back in the day and wastes no time in proving his Godfather of Garage and Grime credentials with a wanton display of serious crate digging. To be fair, that's not even half of the story. Shortly afterwards, I'm won over by the good natured banter of Mista Men's Mella Dee, before ending the night being dragged away from the bar by a sweaty devotee of yet another Sheffield contender, Beneath.

The next day, Plastician is getting vexed about a night down south as he tweets, "You can't win. Too soft for the bro's, too hard for the forum, too dubby for the grime kids and too grimy for the deep heads..." No such problems for the Bunga massive, whose open minds and all-round sound attitude have paid testimony to the efforts of the night's promoters, whose ambition and knowledge are bang on the money. How the fifth instalment can come anywhere near this remains to be seen, but whatever you do, make sure you're down there early.


4th February.
Everyone Centre.

Reviewer - Liam Shrivastava.

The reggae crowd in Sheffield are a stoic bunch. Despite the freezing temperatures and the flurry of snowfall on Sheffield's hillsides, people were out in force to mark the great Robert Nesta Marley's 67th birthday. Hosted by the city's very own Riddimtion crew at the legendary Everyone Centre in Nether Edge, this annual event felt like a throwback to the good old days when this was the only venue us young whippersnappers could get into without a fake ID.

Now unfortunately looking well over 25, despite being 22, I still didn't need my ID upon entry but I was greeted with the familiar sounds of The Wailers complemented by the sweet smell of mutton and rice and peas. The system was sounding heavy and I was just in time for the first set from the Riddimtion acoustic show. A live 'Jammin' session featuring all the Bob standards like 'One Drop', 'Rastaman Vibration' and of course the rabble rousing 'No Woman No Cry' from a collection of top vocalists, including SistaDanae, Souldeep, Pyrcia and the KOG. The latter's impressive rendition of 'Three Little Birds' really made the night catch fire. Unfortunately, the vocals needed to be louder, but such are the challenges when a reggae soundsystem doubles up as a PA.

Whilst both sets went down a treat with the crowd, this reviewer can grow a little tired of Bob Marley (yes, even on his birthday), so it was great to hear Rootsfella and the gang spin some of Riddimtion's much touted homegrown cuts. The original productions featuring Riddimtion's relatively new vocalists were nice enough, but it was the bass-heavy remixes that really got the crowd going. The excellent Wayne Marshall and Toddla T remix and the frankly mind-bending version of Basement Jaxx's 'Where's Your Head At' were personal highlights. Topping off the nostalgia, R8 Record's Alex Deadman jumped on the mic and sounded on top form with a track I last heard six years ago at this very same event.

Aside from narrowly avoiding death by returning a two-years-out-of-date can of Stella, the one slight let down was the power cut that happened at the very worst time - ten minutes before closing. Luckily, the boys rallied to get the sound back on and despite a small exodus the stamina crew were skanking till way past 5am.

Tune of the night: 'Wolves & Leopards' by Dennis Brown, who also had a posthumous birthday in February.


27th January.

Reviewer - Clare Whitty.

Dirty Little Secret only opened just over a year ago, but in this time has rapidly become one of the best nightclubs in Sheffield for underground dance events, making a strong impression on punters and promoters alike. It stands to reason that Liquid Steel Sessions, a collective of DJs and MCs, chose to use DLS to put on their spectacular 5th birthday bash.

LSS have been putting on regular events in Sheffield and Leeds since 2007. Their soundsystem is a massive, camouflaged stack of bass-heavy speakers, mainly homemade, fitting in nicely with their vibe of new, original music rooted in the foundations of bass culture.

This sold-out birthday event held two rooms of music plus the Kacha Puri Café, a barbeque and a few chill out areas for those whose ears needed a well earned rest. The new main room hosted the huge King Earthquake Soundsystem from Handsworth with pioneer Errol Arawak at the controls. This monster of a system shook and rumbled the main hall with quality dub delivered throughout the night. Arawak's style included a lot of heavy low end mixed with past and present reggae tracks and an influx of more modern synth noises, which almost made it sound like techno at points.

Off Me Nut Records set up shop in the second room, with local duo Squire of Gothos filling the headline slot. One of the best dance acts to come from Sheffield in recent years, Squire of Gothos blend crazy samples with daft electronic noises to create a mash-up of bouncy, danceable tunes. The Off Me Nut crew of producers and DJs brought a whole host of excellent sets to give LSS the eclectic party atmosphere it deserved on its anniversary. Personal highlights included Phatworld, Rotten Nostril and Plattapussy.

Overall, the LSS 5th birthday party was very entertaining and both rooms remained busy all night, with the crowd seemingly kept happy from start to finish. It was certainly an appropriate birthday celebration for one of Sheffield's finest promoters and hopefully an indicator of many more banging events to come.


Upcoming gigs in Sheftown.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw
3rd March.
St George's Church.
£12 adv.
New Mexico folk duo rescore legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Parajadnov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Something a bit different.

Portico Quartet
8th March.
Queens Social Club.
£12 adv.
Just in case you missed our Upstairs Downstairs event with Portico Quartet late last year, this four-piece jazz-electronic outfit are a breath of fresh air.

Night Train
10th March.
£5 otd.
A new night playing Motown, R'n'B, soul and rare groove, with a live performance from six-piece Soul Faces.

Joy Orbison & Boddika
16th March.
£10 adv.
Joy Orbison and Boddika perform their first collaborative set, supported by Midland, Alex Coulton and Oscillate Wildly residents.

24th March.
£4 adv.
Multi-instrumentalist and recent Warp Records signing Kwes takes on the Harley, with sets from Damu, Squarehead and Wild Heron.

Liz Green
29th March.
The Riverside.
The inimitable Ms Green will play at the Riverside this month, hot off the release of her debut album O, Devotion! Support from Alabaster DePlume and Wordlife poets.


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