Rant: Ross Allen Gets Verbal

September 1, 2010

Ross Allen likes a rant and here’s one that we nicked wholesale from his Facebook so it doesn’t get lost in a world of status updates. Here he covers modern day ‘CLUBBERS’, Afrikan Boy, the RAW and Wag, acid house, carnival, requests and Queens Of The Stone Age. If you want more go on your Facebook and search ‘Ross Allen’. You can’t miss him. And have a listen to his show. It’s good.

Morning All. Here we are again… A few days after Carnival and don’t you have the feeling of how did we get here this fast? Summer over? Heading in to winter all too rapidly, wasn’t it sunny June just a few weeks ago – still it’s been pretty decent – well August was a bit drab but lets not forget that September is still here and is normally pretty good, in an Indian kind of way (what is India like in September?) – more to the point the issue is that it’ll be November any time now! Bleak… Still a few more festivals to come. I have my Bestival set times in now and am more than looking forward to that…Warming up for Gil Scott Heron on the main stage 5.30 to 6pm. Then at the Greco Roman/Hot Chip party on Friday night in the Lucky Cat bar behind the main stage. Then again on Sat early eve in Chai Wallah tent. So there you either know where to head or where to avoid. Lets hope its as decent as normal and we don’t drown.

That’s a couple of weekends away, this week its all about The Social Meltdown, an exciting proposition, that lots of you seem to be getting excited about too, I think the timing of it could be part of its appeal – definitely not the music from me ! Starting early means that if you fancy popping down after work you now have a decent spot with quality music straight after work and it goes on till club hours start. I’ll give you the details at the end but its this Friday and Goodhand & Nelson, though I am sure one of them is called Adam, from Glasgow’s Numbers Crew are my initial guests.

Talking of ‘clubbing’ and ‘clubber’s’. Clapham Common was deluged with those types over the weekend. Leading me to post on Facebook that they should all Fuck Off and leave the Common in peace… We got some good responses many levelling the argument that I was of that disposition myself. Well, to the untrained eye, true I have been to a few nighteries over the years. But a ‘clubber’, in ‘club land’?? Use those terms ? No… And this is the difference. And do not forget I am about to embark on a major bitching session but it is a view that I think I can share with you lot, it’s not even my original observation (Cheesr Ted & Iain).

Obviously, I have been to many clubs but would I refer to myself as a ‘clubber’ ? going out in ‘clubland’ ? These types are a different breed. Sort of a mainstream incarnation of what, I think, we do. Yes, I am a snob. I thought that was part of clubbing (ah, I have now done it myself, tricky this bitching lark isn’t it) – to get away from the rif raf. It makes you wish that acid house had never happened! Not that I mind them having a good time but it kind of blurs the line between good and evil… I used to like going out when i was at school as it was a journey into another world – The Wag, The Mud Club, RAW – they were totally different to being down the pub in South London – full of freaks and weirdo’s, Ragga’s and B-Boys. You would wear different clothes and be into getting exposed to new and different sounds. Then Acid House came along and it was great for a while, really great, though you could feel the shift as every one locally swapped pints for pills. The they started to know about stuff and have an opinion on the music and how it should be more banging or uplifting or whatever… You would go to the Wag and not dream of asking for a request, well definitely one that was off that cultural radar… Fast forward to now… that boundary is well blurred. There is money in it now and everyone wants a piece – you gotta keep the crowd happy, pump it up, don’t disappear up your own back side… Well i quite like it up my own backside and though I have enjoyed playing to 10,000’s of people occasionally, don’t want to do it every week as I’ don’t like what you have to do to do that… play shit! You can’t move those vast throngs with deep, quirky records – you need that Pavlov’s dogs reaction – banging beat = dance, ambient break down/wiggly noise breakdown= rest/brace yourself for the beat’s return – drum roll please!! Anyway, they can do what they want I just don’t want them doing it near me, there is a them and us thing in my head. The music I like is right and their is plain wrong. And when they are doing it on my Common they can Fuck Off !! Snobby little shit aren’t I?

Ah that feels better – well apart from nail bombing the place…. Hypocrisy is rife round here and why not. As I like invading other peoples areas for music festivals where they play my kind of music (I did get called Negrofile this week… I think I know what it means, though that element of doubt means I can’t confirm either way) – carnival was a laugh. Though we didn’t hang around for long. Off the tube at Queensway and a whizz through in pretty good time – a couple of hours – and out the other end in Queens Park for a curry. Kind of like popping yourself in to a fast flowing river and getting popped out the other end – a few dodgy rapids on the way but some lovely sights and sounds en route. I never got in to Major Lazer this year as I couldn’t be bothered to queue or suck up to the door girls, or fight to – i think this has been a constant ‘clubbing’ weakness in my ‘clubbing’ career. But Glady Wax and KCC were great, especially when the latter played ‘Gabrielle’ after the near knife we witnessed. KCC was like being in some henched up Prison Yard, nice blokes but you knew that things were on a bit of a knife edge, probably quite literally but 99% of the crowd were just there to bounce in the sun and have hazy fun. The slight fracas we saw never turned into anything and we trotted on on our whirlwind tour. It was a good in and out, though I have heard lots of people bemoaning the state of Carnival these days, yes it’s different but there is a good time to be had if you can hack the crowds and don’t mind searching out its inner sanctum. We were so serene this year, it was almost wrong. Nice curry at the other though…

On Sunday we were in Leeds – I was DJing on stage with Afrikan Boy, which is something that I have never done and did feel I should be doing a bit of Guetta business… Waving and so forth… I didn’t but felt tempted… when you know exactly what is coming next what do you do in the gaps that are the records ? You can’t hide behind the decks desperately looking for that next track and letting indecision reign. You actually know what is coming next and just look into the faces of the crowd pressed up against those barriers. I almost felt like giving them a wave in a non Guetta type of way. I liked it when there was a stage invasion, the chaos created and the look on the securities face was classic, let alone the chasing of the invaders. Anyway it was a good gig and as soon as I can play you the new Afrikan Boy stuff I will. It’s quality. Fresh, funky and, slightly, challenging. I’d give it 2 minutes on Clapham Common… No it’d work there too! You will hear it here first.
Once done with that we got to see Queens Of The Stone Age who were as great as ever. They just have that funk in what they do and that nonchalant attitude that draws you in. ‘We are here, like it? Cool. Don’t like it? Fuck Off’ and I suppose that is the attitude that is most sexy in music. It’s the realist one I suppose. Not please like us we need to pay our rent/buy a big house/drive a shit car and wear shit clothes. More we are gonna do this whether you are here or not (kind of a Meltdown mantra, though its always better if there are people there). Well I like it. They are a great band. You need to see them at some point.

So enough of this frippery, we have a show to try and get you to listen to. It was not done live post Carnival as I had a curry to eat, oh and the Misery studios were shut! It’s a good one though. There are several tunes which are pretty special. I have to get you excited about the new Kanye West track featuring Jay Z and Swiss Beats on the Remix. It’s a great fat beat, slightly busy but funky and the lyrics are actually saying something. J and K sound great and then just towards the end, Swiss beats drops in the beat from Snap’s ‘I’ve Got The Power’ and it all gets a bit housey, almost Photon Inc’s ‘Generate Power’. It’s a great track but also indicative of where things are going and as the circle comes to completion it all feels a bit 1991. I like the fact that the boundaries between house and hip hop are getting blurred – it’s kind of like when they were both underground musics except now they are both mainstream. It’s great because you can once again play all different musics in a main room, well you can if you have the bottle, The other side of that same coin is seen with the new Nick Catchdubs remixes. We Played Greg Nice’s ‘Motherfucker’ last week and this week he is doing it again with his Ethix remix. Sampling the 4th Measure Men and adding an electro beat. Its got that Todd Terry/Kenny Dope kind of vibe and is amazing, well they both are. Energetic and fresh but steeped in the past. Also Phil Asher’s track is in that mode, rough and tough and funky, how he should sound. Other gems are the Janelle Monae remix which takes it to the dancefloor. There are some good funky, future, dubby, garagey things of which Jam City and Quoz lift the cup this week. 80’s Baby is a dubstep track that sounds like it was made in 1984 – not because it’s a horrific vision of a CCTV/Big Brother watching future (we are already there) – just coz it sounds like Mtume or something of a Street Sounds compilation. DJ Distance is fast becoming my favourite dubstep vocal. I cant get enough of it.

On a retro tip Dennis Parker is great and the vocal sample from Par T One’s ‘Lets Go Crazy’ and Linda Di Franco is 80’s balearic goodness. The brilliantly named Tea Spoon and The Waves is a great South African take on ‘Going Back To My Roots’. Also to finish there is a great Hungarian version of The Clash’s ‘Magnificent Seven’, Joe Strummer would have been proud…

Do give it a listen or download it it’s a good one. As diverse as selection as ever and more than likely to tear gas a Clapham Common festival in minutes!!

Check Ross Allen’s show streamed here or download it here. It’s well worth checking.


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