Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bloc Weekend Review: Faceless Chalet Blocks , Techno and Arcade Machines

A review of the Bloc Weekend that went down from March in a Pontins Resort in Norfolk wings its way into us courtesy of Kyle Browne. The photo of Authechre is nicked from a Flickr set by Micheeky.

If you were to try and describe Bloc Weekend to a lot of people, they would probably stare back at you with a faintly blank slightly worried face. This wasn’t your typical, run of the mill festival, it was something a lot different and to many who attended a completely new experience.

When we first arrived at the weekend, it fully dawned on everyone that we weren’t at some dingy over-crowded field with a extreme amount of tents, we were at what many people would think of when asked about their earliest family holiday experiences, faceless chalet blocks (no pun intended), arcade machines that look like they’ve been unable to get out of the 1980’s and an interior décor of the main building which reminds you of countless cheap package holiday resorts you’ve tried to repress. But don’t let that deter you…

Once everyone had settled into their temporary homes for the weekend, and had a little intake of the fine cheap alcohol available, it was time for people to get down to why they came to Bloc in the first place…the music. First main act that everybody came to see were the Two Lone Swordsmen in the Bassbloc/Main Arena.

For most people the opening major act of a festival sets the tone for whats to follow so the crowd were expecting a blinder, which unfortunately they didn’t receive, their awkward mix of Electronica & Rock didn’t blend together at all well and the crowd were left a little shortchanged, but from here on in, things were to only get a whole lot better, in the neighbouring arena, the Techbloc, acts like Cursor Minor were getting the techno adoring crowd into a frenzy, and when DMX Krew (an odd title seeing as there is only one member, Ed DMX) the crowd were on their preverbial knees, his style of mixing up influences from Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin & various German electro-tech artists. For a one-man electronic band, he really covers a whole range of soundscapes and usage of his machines & devices.

After the rush of adrenaline DMX Krew left people it was time to return to Bassbloc, were Kool Keith aka Dr. Octagon was about to perform, a full-blown hip hop act was a bit of a different style to the majority of acts on show at Bloc but was welcomed with widespread approval, his appearance on stage with a silver cloak, tinted bono-style sunglasses and ‘gangtsa’ apparel was a bizarre sight for now intoxicated crowd, but his linguistic skills on the mike and with his impressive backing band the crowd got caught up in the beats and rhythms of the Dr.

Once Kool Keith had finished his impressive set, it was time for a quick top up of beer and back to whats on show, up and coming French hip hop group TTC were the next port of call, famous for their collaboration with German electro/techno/hip hop maniacs Modeselektor, now these guys really know how to put on a good show, three MC’s and a DJ on a laptop, they fully used to their advantage their excellent grasp of the English language with their obvious use of their native tongue, throwing in songs from their most recent album 3615 TTC, from what I observed for the brief seconds I turned my back on them to observe the crowd, they were going absolutely crazy, somewhat like being at a Public Enemy concert in their hayday.

To really stir things up a bit TTC threw a few random cheesy pop songs to really catch the crowd off guard, if you were to bet anyone earlier that day that they’d be singing along to Ace of Base "All That She Wants", you’d be pretty sure they’d bet a lot against you, and to top off a brilliant end to their set they finished with the dirty, grime influenced anthem, "Girlfriend."

After the thumping beats and growling rhythms heard so far the plan was to retire temporarily back to our homebase, but in the states that my cohorts and I found ourselves in things never went according to plan, between partying in countless random chalets and in the open areas, we eventually made it back to our chalet for some recouperation, after a little dosage of R n’ R, I and a couple others returned in the uncomfortable late morning hours to the Smashbloc were the music went on constantly, 24 hours a day, however the music in here really left something to be desired, a noted remark from one of my friends was that a) This music was wasted on the wasted and b) He has never heard such distinctly average techno in his whole life, nothing to write home about I’ll just say.

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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to antropheatgmail.com

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