Mixtape Monday – Shenanigans XVI

The working title for Shenanigans XVI was “From Little Mix to Led Zeppelin”. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere to get some Led Zep in, but it’s safe to say that this mix really does run the gamut of popular music as well as covering a period of over 50 years. The oldest track is Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line” recorded on 1961 (but written in 1946) and which you’ll know from the movie ‘Beetlejuice’. Other tracks from the sixties include Marva Whitney’s “Unwind Yourself” – if it sounds familiar, it’s because you recognise the introduction as the sample from DJ Mark’s “The 900 Number”.

The point, as with all these mixes, is to show that if you limit yourself to one style of music, or just play the latest white labels from London or New York, you’re really missing out on great music. Plus, if you’re a pro, your crowd is missing out on some great music. There’s no reason that you can’t try blending really diverse tracks together, like here where I’ve mixed Free’s “Alright Now” into Disclosure’s “White Noise”, or “Jump In The Line” with NuYorican Soul’s “Runaway”. It’s a real challenge to mix some of these records, but if you’re a DJ, isn’t it more rewarding if you stretch yourself? And isn’t it more interesting for the crowd if you’re constantly surprising and delighting them?

Just my two penn’orth.

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Monday Mixtape -Shenanigans XV

Lots of tracks in here that I’ve never used in a mix before; and also, a few shiny new bootlegs from those lovely people over at http://bootiemashup.com/blog/. The one that crosses The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” with “Machine Gun” by The Commodores is particularly bodacious.

Other highlights: a splendidly funky mix of Alabama 3, some Soulwax insanity courtesy of remixes of Pulp and MGMT, some Rage Against The Machine and KRS-1 mixes (as found on the wonderful Life Support Machine blog, also worth an hour of your time to explore), and an opening guest vocal from John Locke.

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Set list: Depeche Mode at the London Stadium, June 3rd 2017

This is the set list from the Depeche Mode gig played at West Ham’s London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on June 3rd 2017.

The most surprising track of the night (unless you’d seen the set list before like I had) was the cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Obvs there isn’t a DM version of the song on Spotify, so I just used the original. And once you’d done that, there didn’t seem much point missing out the opening Beatles track.

There is a full review of the concert going up shortly, like, when I write it, but in the meantime please do enjoy this playlist of the set list.

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Christina Aguilera – The Stripped Tour 2003 Setlist

The year is 2003. In an attempt to shake off her bubblegum pop image, Christina Aguilera dumps both her management team and most of her clothes and takes control of her own career. With her new album, “Stripped”, she grows up both personally and musically, embracing a wide range of styles and genres and tackling difficult lyrical content.

When tickets for the The Stripped Tour – essentially, a continuation of her part of the Justified and Stripped tour that she’d undertaken as a joint venture with Justin Timberlake -my girlfriend and I snapped up tickets. At that time, I was 33 and she was 26. We drove over to Manchester for the gig and were looking forward to it immensely.

As we walked up the steps to Manchester Arena, we passed a trio of young teenage girls, all chattering excitedly in anticipation of seeing one of their idols live. Taking a break from their conversation, one of them looked up at us, her eyes wide with excitement. She turned to her friends.

“Look!” she said. “Old people are coming too!”

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Prince – The Nude Tour 1990 Spotify playlist

July 1st 1990 was a momentous date. For the first and only time, I got to see one of my idols live. Except, I didn’t. Well, not much. Because I missed it to watch the England vs Cameroon game in the World Cup.

From around the time of 1999/Purple Rain, Prince had been one of my idols. When the chance came round to go to see him at the Birmingham NEC with a friend, I jumped at the chance.

What I didn’t realise when we booked the gig months in advance was that the match would clash with one of the World Cup quarter finals. As luck would have it, it was the colossal clash between England vs Cameroon.

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25 years on – "1992 The Love Album", by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

May 2017 marks 25 years since Carter USM released “1992 The Love Album”, which was paradoxically both their most successful album and the one that began their sad demise. To mark the anniversary we take a look at Carter’s seminal album and ask ourselves, “is wrestling fixed?”

It certainly doesn’t seem like 25 years. Whilst the music – drum machines, sequencers, guitars turned up to 11 – does sound powerful but a little dated, Jim Bob’s lyrics still sound fresh and visceral, helped in part by the fact that we’re still governed by the same sort of sentient cesspit scum that made everyone’s life a misery in the early 90s.

When the album came out it was a new entry into the album charts at #1, a good showing for a band that only had one top ten single – “The Only Living Boy in New Cross”, the lead single from this very album. Goodness knows what fellow chart dwellers Curtis Stigers, Annie Lennox and Michael Ball thought when this lot exploded onto Top of the Pops in April 1992, when the single was a new entry at #8.

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Song of the Week #1: Steps, "Story of a Heart (radio edit)"

Every week, or at least as often as I can be bothered, I’ll be taking one of the tracks recommended by Spotify via either the Release Radar or Discover Weekly playlists and reviewing it. This week, it’s the new Steps’ single, “Story of a Heart”.

This is not going to come as much of a surprise because as regular listeners will know I’m something of a pop tart, but I fricking loved Steps V1.0. Well, not “5-6-7-8” quite so much because line dancing is one of those things that should have been consigned to the great pedal bin of life a long time ago. But every other Steps single, and most especially the singles from the first two albums, are just about perfect as far as pop goes. So when Spotify pushed “Story of a Heart” at me (and having just recently watched the Steps Reunion thing on YouTube – such shade!) I decided I would make this my first weekly review. And I decided I would do it in the manner of the great Guardian MBMs and OBOs, because this is my blog, and not yours.

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