A Very Tidy Xmas and New Year Indeed!
Mission, Leeds 22/12/06
Pontin's Blackpool 29/12/06 - 2/01/07
29/12/06 - 2/01/07
Anyone who has ever been clubbing in Leeds will know that its reputation as a bit of a clubbers desert has been restored in recent years with the opening of several extremely good venues and the establishment of a series of regular club nights attracting the cream of the country's DJ's and promoters and leading the way in this northern renaissance is a club called Mission.
Built into several previously derelict railway arches, this club has recently undergone a million pound refit and extension and can easily claim to be one of the best clubs in the north of England. The same people run the excellent Federation night, also in Leeds, on the first Saturday of every month. If you like it funky there is no better place to be. www.clubmission.com
It has built up a roster of quality club nights including Glasshouse, Vibealite, Poptastic and the excellent Kissdafunk, amongst others, and last year added the premier Tidy brand to its list of must attend nights.
The Tidy Xmas Party was held on there on December 22nd.
The party started off in the Mission Annexe with a pre-party for the first 300 to buy their tickets for the main event later. With Jive Bunny on the decks being as cheesy as it's possible to be; and a buffet and all sorts of other stuff going on, this was a great warm up for what was to come.
In the main room Paul Maddox, Anne Savage, JP and Jukesy and the Tidy Boys themselves had the crowd wired from the first track and the intensity and standard never faltered. Amber D was also due to play but, sadly, was held up in Brazil by a missing lift and then fog problems, which meant her flight was delayed and she couldn't get back in time.
In the other two rooms Lee Haslam, Guyver, Technikal, Shaun M, The Colonel, GRH, Luke Pompey and Dan Doran made sure that no one had a chance to stand still as they just kept pumping out one quality tune after another.
There is something special about being in a room with several hundred other people, all having a great time, but when the music is as good as it was on this night it takes the whole thing to a different level. You just know you are part of something special and unique and you never want it to end.
The Tidy people are no strangers to putting on a good party; they've been doing it for many years now so, of course, you'd expect it to be good, but this was better than that. The music, the crowd, the lighting and the atmosphere (not to mention the snowstorm in the main room) all combined to make this a xmas party to remember for a very long time to come.
So, you ask yourself, it would be hard to top that then? The answer, of course, is yes it would. Next you might ask how would you do that? Well, I'll tell you.. hire yourself a holiday camp, in this case Pontin's in Blackpool; book around 40-50 of the best DJ's around and put on a weekend long party.
That is exactly what Tidy did.
The 'Tidy Time Machine New Year's Eve Weekender' ran from Friday the 29th December to Tuesday the 2nd of January and if you know of a better way to spend the New Year weekend then let me know because I don't.
We arrived in Blackpool, ravaged by wind and rain, around 9pm on the Friday night, checked in, found the chalet (with great difficulty) and headed down to the Queen Vic to find a small, but eager, crowd enjoying themselves listening to some fairly good tunes.
Things rapidly changed, however, when Kym Ayres took over.
Kym is 22 years old and comes from Bournemouth. She's extremely pretty, very nice to talk to, approachable and friendly. She is also a kick ass DJ. I can't remember the last time I saw a room come to life like the Queen Vic did that night.. it's no wonder Mixmag are touting her as a future hero and we are, I hope, going to see much more of her in the months and years to come. Regular Tidyers will remember Kym from Summer Camp 2005 when she would have surely won the DJ comp if she hadn't got in a muddle with the CD machines.
Regular Tidyers will remember Kym from Summer Camp 2005 when she would have surely won the DJ comp if she hadn't got in a muddle with the CD machines.
Her choice of tunes and the mixes she pulled off were inspired and I, for one, was very disappointed when her set came to an end.
Kym is already a resident at Slinky's and is becoming a Tidy favourite. Judging by her performances this weekend, she is surely going on to greater things. I caught both her sets over the weekend and loved them. www.myspace.com/djkymayres
Velos came next and kept the standard up very nicely indeed.
This 21 year old lad from Portsmouth cites Steve Thomas, Paul Maddox and Kym Ayres amongst his influences and his favourite tune of last year was Digital Kid's 'Watching You'. Over the next few months, as well as keeping up a full night-time DJ schedule, he is going to be putting some tracks together with Maddox Digital Kid and Colin Barrett. I look forward to hearing the end result.
I've spoken to people who've heard Velos play everything from trance to funky to hardcore and they all agree that the chunky, bassy, vocal stuff he's playing these days is the dog's b*ll*cks. In his own words (I've shamelessly nicked this from his myspace profile cos he says it much better than I can). "Velos is a young confident DJ who knows what the crowd wants to hear. he can produce a set to leave the floors begging for more." www.myspace.com/DJ_Velos
Well. that was the first night taken care of and a very successful start to the weekend I thought.
I got to bed about 6am and slept like a baby despite the truly awful surroundings of what was supposed to be a luxury chalet... methinks it's time Pontin's spent some money on their Blackpool resort!
That aside I woke up on Saturday afternoon raring to go.
I caught some of Dan Doran's set in the Queen Vic that afternoon and very good it was too, though not as good as the one he did at the Xmas Party.. mind you there wasn't much of a crowd to inspire him, but that was to be expected I guess seeing as how most of the punters were in the process of checking in at that time.
I bumped into Russell Pate (Tidy's MD) as I was wandering about and took the opportunity to have a chat with him. I have to say he was a pleasure to talk to.
For someone with the weight of the whole weekend on his shoulders he was remarkably relaxed. Here are some of the random Tidy facts he passed on to me:
It takes 4 days to set up for a Weekender Each one takes 4 months to plan and execute 70 staff are involved Several 40 tonne lorries are needed to transport all the equipment It only takes 12 hours to dismantle the whole thing and be off site
Russell has been with Tidy since 1993 having previously worked for Gatecrasher and Basics, amongst others. When I asked him what he thought the ethos of Tidy was he simply said 'To make people happy'.
He also told me that he firmly believes at Tidy events it's the people that make the party and that Tidy fans are the most loyal clubbers you could hope for. For this reason he, as MD, is more than happy to go that extra mile (and to whatever extra expense might be involved) to make sure that they get what they want and expect. Although the fan base is strong, and they will always turn out for these do's, they are never taken for granted and that it's only fair that they are rewarded for their loyalty with the highest production values possible. Amen to that!
The Tidy 'brand' is one of the strongest in the music business and it is because everyone involved with it feels so strongly that it's as much a lifestyle choice as it is a musical preference that when you attend a Tidy Weekender, or a Tidy club night, you really do feel you are part of a 'family' and that the people behind it are not just interested in getting your money off you so they can swan off to Ibiza for the summer and waste it all hiring transvestite dwarves, fire breathing giants, stilt walkers and paying off the Spanish Mafia just so they can put on a party to impress their friends and top up their tans.
So. that little rant brings us to Saturday night.
In the main room Sam Townsend and Deano kicked off proceedings. I didn't see them to be honest cos I was a bit busy making sure the bottle of rum I'd taken with me wasn't mysteriously evaporating due to not being drunk. Apologies to them; I'll be sure and catch them next time.
Next on the schedule were Paul Maddox, Lisa Pin-up, Anne Savage and Rob Tissera.
Anne Savage was a no-show, unfortunately.
I have a very warm and deep spot in my heart for Anne Savage. She was, I think, the very first DJ I ever heard playing hard house when I was persuaded (dragged along against my will would be more truthful) to go to Sundissential some years ago.
She blew me away! Even though I've seen her play dozens of times since she never fails me. Whenever I hear her play it takes me back to a warm place where life is good and the music is sublime. She may be blonde but this lady is certainly not dumb. www.annesavage.net
Rob Tissera didn't disappoint. Personally though I prefer his more funky sets at the very excellent Kissdafunk and Goodgreef. Maybe it's just me, but I always feel he's more at home with chunkier beats. I know many people will disagree with me, but I just don't see the same enjoyment in him when he's doing a full-on hard set that I do when he's dropping meatier stuff. Just my opinion. www.robtissera.com
And that brings us to Kutski.
Oh my god (did I sound a bit like Chantelle there?) I don't think I've ever heard a harder set in my life, but then I don't get out as much as I should. This guy really knows how to pile on the BPM's. My mate Chris was a shivering wreck by the time he'd finished. I was banging the side of my head convinced I'd gone deaf!
It was really weird hearing him do an Old Skool mix on Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems show on Radio 1 last weekend (Sunday 7th January), but good all the same. His show on Radio 1 at the weekends is well worth checking out on the 'listen again' feature. www.myspace.com/kutski
New Year's Eve:
Sunday started off well for me as I had the very great pleasure of seeing Amber D play a private set in the small back room, at tea-time, for Robin Davies and his mates Daniel McShane, Rhys Williams and Jonathan Wyatt from Swansea. Robin had won this treat in a competition on Faceparty. These boys are regular attenders of Tidy events and looked to me like they were having a great time.
Amber D is well on her way to becoming my favourite DJ (sorry Anne!). Not only is she a delight to look at, but her mixing skills and her choice of tracks really are boosting her up the list of DJs you've just got to see whenever you get chance. She's doing 40,000 miles a year just round Britain, so if you haven't seen her yet you really should be ashamed of yourself.
She tells me she has been to every Weekender since TW3 and will be resident at Tidy's Ibiza season at Es Paradis this year. I, for one, will definitely be going to see her while I'm there. And apologies to her mum who I mistook for Amber (from behind) at the bar www.amber-d.co.uk
The Main Event of the night, of course, were the Tidy Boys themselves.
These guys set the standard.
Up and coming DJs aspire to be them, or at least try to get close.
They've shaped and defined hard house for the last 10 years through their playing, the Tidy Weekenders, their record label Tidy Trax and their sheer love of the music and the dedication with which they have spent all those years touring the world and spreading the message. There can't be a hard house fan in Europe (or further afield for that matter) who hasn't either seen them play or bought one of their releases
I truly believe that hard house would not, and could not, be the music it is today if it weren't for these 2 guys.
"Were they any good on New Year's Eve?" I hear you ask.. errmmmm. yes is the reply, they were. I'll go further and say they were very good; then I'll go further and say they were rather bloody marvellous (you'll notice I'm holding back on the expletives here in case there are any children watching!)
Have you ever seen those mad birds who swim about with pegs on their noses at the Olympics, making shapes in the water in perfect harmony and symmetry? (it's the only place I've ever seen them do it.. I very much doubt they'd be allowed to carry on like that in my local pool).
What you see when you see them doing their stuff is a perfectly symbiotic relationship where there is no need for language or signals or gestures because what you are seeing is the result of a perfect understanding between 2 people.
They have trained and practiced, trained and practiced and then trained and practiced some more until each knows instinctively what the other is thinking and is about to do and this is what I see whenever I see the Tidy Boys behind the decks. Two minds with one thought.
You can line up a hundred or 2 other DJ's and ask them to play a few tunes and they'll probably make a very good job of it; witness the line-up on display over the course of this weekend, but they still won't have that tiny little bit extra that will elevate them to the level that Andy and Amadeus have reached. www.tidy.com
Well, that's enough grovelling.
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed by now that I've failed to mention a single track played so far. And I'm not going to. If you really want to know I suggest you get trawling the internet where I'm sure you'll find out everything you need to know.
The reason I'm not giving you a track by tune listing as we go along is that I think it makes boring reading, but mostly it's immaterial and unnecessary.
Trust me when I say that I did not hear a duff tune all weekend.
I do feel slightly guilty though that I did not spend more time in the back room as I understand there was some very very good stuff going on in there.
Sadly I was having far too much of a good time in the main arena to get round to it.
My apologies to all the people who were playing in there. I gather most of you will be at TW11 in Prestatyn, in March, and I hope to catch you there.
And that is about it really.. I know I haven't mentioned Monday night, but that's because I was all partied out and had a bit of a chill out. From what I was told the next day, though, Lee Haslam was more than excellent and Andy Whitby ripped room 2 apart!
Everyone I heard play was on top form and seemed determined to pull out all the stops to give the crowd what they wanted. In many ways it reminded me of the Tidy Tent at last year's Creamfields where, if you could get in through the crowds trying to push their way in, you would have heard the cream of the hard house scene giving all they've got to a demanding but appreciative audience who expect the best from their Tidy nights out and are rarely disappointed.
Special mention should be given to the Tidy staff on-site that weekend. Every one of them I spoke to was unfailingly polite and helpful as were Pontin's staff and the security team who were ever present but unobtrusive.
As I said right at the beginning.. A Very Tidy Xmas and New Year Indeed.
image coptright - Nathan D'Amour and www.eventographyuk.com
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