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People Are Strange. STI. M-Code. What's On February.

by Now Then Sheffield

January 5th.
Green Room.

Reviewer - Laurence Piercy.

The charming Louis Romégoux, now a bona fide Austrian, returned to Sheffield for two weeks with his charming consort, Petra. Fresh and satisfied from a week of continuous feasting, he blossomed in the Green Room for a one-night-only gig spectacular. Readers, you are probably already familiar with Mr. Romégoux's work, so I needn't distract you with much-repeated anecdotes about his silky voice, virtuoso and erratic guitar work, penchant for reggae, or indeed the rumours that he has fathered children all over South Yorkshire.

There was Andrew Duxfield, and before him, performing in a somewhat introductory capacity, was James Tait. Both of these one-man acts are competent and both sing in tune. Without griping, one could ask them to try a bit harder. Perhaps seek out some aggression, cultivate a cutting wit, or at least adopt the Byrne method of stage presence and put on a massive suit.

The penultimate act was Flamingo Love Parade, who looked bored and played some boring jazz-style lift music. Please excuse the following, but like grumpy Nabokov, my loathings are simple and among them I count 'soft music'.

How do proficient musicians get together and create this kind of music? Bad and boring often exist in co-mixture. Not so with the Flamingo Love Parade, who skilfully channel a pure strain of dull. Instead of writing off the time you spent in the audience, reflect on the wider implications of boredom. Not only does musical ennui pose a simple barrier to proper enjoyment but, as far as I can tell, is in fact an issue of ethics. Take the sentiments of the Danish theologian and philosopher Knud Løgstrup, and ask yourself whether they do not resonate with the responsibilities of artistic creation. He tells us that 'indifference and apathy make a person unimaginative'. Working backwards from the unimaginative product then, we find indifference and apathy at its source, nestling in the hearts of those weary travellers whose earnest inclinations have led them to a sleepy glen where they can happily noodle away, careless of mankind. Where is the love that their name proclaims? Surely without the hint of a questing spirit, the musical expression of love becomes less like a passionate embrace and more like a clammy handshake. 'Where?!' the audience ask themselves. Where is the creative vanity, the appetite and joie de vivre that leads their flamingo namesake to relentlessly sift for plankton to conjure the colour in its famous plumage? They do not deserve association with that blessed animal.

Stripped of 'love' and 'flamingo', the group find themselves without the protective associations of their original moniker. Roaming, a lonely and depleted parade of four, the germ of creativity tentatively begins to sprout through self-reflection. 'Where did it all go wrong?' asks the youth who plays the drums. 'How did we lose our way?' whispers the guitar man. 'I want excitement again' speaks the competent but misguided bass player. The saxophonist, now an owl, hoots at the moon.

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14th January.
Red House.

Reviewer - Sam Walby.

After three banging STI events last year, #4 seemed like a good way to spend a cold Friday evening in January.

Pink Gin began the night with a few funky numbers, warming up a crowd that was surprisingly large for so early in the night (that old 'free before 10pm' trick worked like a charm). The first half of her set favoured carnivalesque house and melodic techno, while the second hour saw her take us to darker, more psychedelic pastures, with intricate micro rhythms always lurking in background. I am told this was her first DJ set. In which case - you had me fooled...

Residents Anagramm and Cellar Dweller worked the now-capacity crowd into a frenzy with their favourite four-to-the-floor treats between the two main acts.

Kujio entertained the revelling masses from 1.30am, delivering an Ableton Live set of techno and tech-house with undeniably European overtones and a few of his own homemade bangers thrown in. There is nothing more annoying than a DJ who looks at a loose end in front of a fancy Mac, but this man clearly knows his way around the software like the back of his hand, and this translates into a 90-minute set of seamless mixes, additional layered percussion elements and mind-bending digital effects. The sweaty throngs submit to his indomitable kicks and snares, and everyone seems to agree it was worth the £3 door tax.

For a night that is still in its infancy, STI did a smashing job of filling up the Red House and keeping people on the dancefloor until closing time at 3am. It can be hard to hold the attention of punters when you hit the 2am mark, but if anything people seemed to find a new enthusiasm in the last hour. A few problems with the fatness of the sound (or lack of) niggled throughout the evening but, on the whole, the beats were large and so was the atmosphere.

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31st January.
230 Woodbourn Road.

Reviewer - James Lock.

M-Code has an aura of mystery around it at the moment. Some people know - some people don't. Soon, I'm told, we will all be aware of Sheffield's latest warehouse, come venue, come funland.

It is located next to Sheffield Parkway at 230 Woodbourn Road - a taxi jaunt for all but the hardiest party seekers. So with that in mind, at 2.30am on New Year's Eve, a few friends and I caught a lift with one of Sheffield's finer independent taxi firms and headed into the night.

We'd heard rumours of 20Hz, Sequoia, Studio45 Hi-Fi AND Danger Noise soundsystems in effect; rumours of D.A.V.E. the Drummer, Mobile Dogwash, Seven, Youngsta, Dubcentral, Feedback, Junglist Alliance, Steel City Tekno and Dark Crystal gracing the decks. In short, we'd heard it was going to be a good old Sheffield soundclash in a new, 27,000 sq ft space until 8am. We were not disappointed.

Nor I'm afraid were we terribly observant. There were two large rooms open, one playing a distinctly techno heavy brand of - yes - techno, and the other playing dubstep, drum & bass and gloriously loud jungle. Drinks were on offer (and consumed throughout), prices were affordable, the loos didn't flood (*cough* Club Shh) and the smoking area was humongous - filled to the brim with picnic benches and the odd friendly-eyed bouncer.

Getting in at half past ten that morning, I realised that my dominant memory of the last twelve hours was witnessing MC Marksman perform, more on than off, for eight hours. Huge tribute goes out to Tim for keeping the whole room shaking and the people happy, an absolutely incredible effort for a New Year's Eve.

There is loads more to be shouting about, and I offer my sincere apologies for not being more articulate in naming DJs and favourite tunes, though I would hope if ever that was forgivable, it would be on NYE.

What I can say is that the venue is an open book in terms of style and decor, and that it will soon be a force to be reckoned with on the late night party scene.

Get yourselves down to the official opening of Freq, a new monthly event at M-Code, on February 26th.

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Thirsty Ear Peace in the Park Fundraiser.
@ Harley.
5th February.
£2/£3.
Funk, soup, hip hop and reggae from Andy H (Tuesday Club), Chris Welsh (Kabal) and Now Then's own Ian Cracknell.

Bob Marley Birthday Tribute.
@ M-Code.
5th February.
£10 adv.
Three rooms and tunes from Riddimtion, Unitone, Sequoia, Dubcentral, Liquid Steel Sessions, Concrete Jungle and more.

Cupids in Nooses 2011: Anti-Valentine's Festival.
@ Rude Shipyard. 12th and 13th February from 1pm. Free. Two days of live acoustic music, poetry and comedy to raise money for Sheffield Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers.

Efterklang.
@ Queens Social Club. 23rd February. £11.50 adv. Performance by Danish 8-piece and screening of 'An Island', the Vincent Moon documentary about them.

Venetian Snares, Neil Landstrumm & VHS Head.
@ Jabez, Manchester. 26th February. £10 adv / £12 otd. First ever live Venetian Snares performance in Manchester, hosted by the Centrifuge and Room 237.

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by Now Then Sheffield

Next article in issue 35

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