So last night, I had my first gig assignment from the big boss men at MusicEyz HQ. The assignment, go down to LAAAANNNDDAAANNN, go to Koko in Camden, and see the legendary Mr Scruff, and report back on what it was like. Mission accepted, bring it on!
So I headed down to London with my partner in crime, Tobe, and got to Koko. We’d been there a few months back for a massive dubstep night, which we came away from with all kidney stones nicely destroyed thanks to the mind blowing bass. We were also heavily intoxicated from copious beer and jaegerbombs. This time though, I wanted a clearer head, so I drove to make sure I stayed off the booze.
We got to Koko, and like last time, I was blown away by the place. If you’ve never been, it’s an old converted theatre that opened in 1900. It still feels like a theatre with all the original fixtures and cast iron moldings. But now, there’s bars everywhere, balconies and boxes with people hanging off of, corridors all over the place, it’s like nothing I’ve ever been to. Also, above the main entrance, is the smoking garden, with the massive Koko sign hanging above it. The whole place is covered in luxurious red paint, and chandeliers everywhere. When I become a millionaire playboy, my mansion is going to look like this place.
So as I said, I was driving, so no alcoholic drinks, I’m a good boy. So what’s there for a sober guy? Well, Mr Scruff is the only DJ in the world, with his own tea shop, which he brings to all of his gigs. As well as selling cd’s, vinyl and keyrings, he sells mugs, teapots, boxes of tea, and also fresh tea to drink immediately. I tried the Big Chill tea, and the Mint & Chilli tea. Both fantastic, there’s really nothing like being in the middle of a crowd, bouncing along to some disco music, while drinking a good cuppa. But, to the guy in-front of me, buying a cup of tea with a credit card, you suck! BRING SOME CASH!!!
Anyway, on to the music. First of all, Mr Scruff does long sets. Last night, Koko was open from 9pm-3am. Mr Scruff DJ’d from 9pm-3am. The time absolutely flew, and it looked like Scruff loved every second of it. The crowd definitely did. The best bit is walking in and seeing him on stage immediately. Not a warm up DJ, you’ve paid to see someone and you get them all night. Brilliant.
So what was it like. It was an ever-changing blend of genres. You’d be there, bouncing along to some jazz funk, which would somehow start flowing into some African tribal sounding stuff with a bass/snare undertone. Suddenly, we’d start hearing some panpipes, flutes and piccolos which really take you back, and then into some R&B. Then we start to timewarp, and end up in some 70’s funk & disco. It was mental, mentally brilliant. It doesn’t end, it goes round and round. Me and Tobe really got into the 70’s era. We decided we were gonna write a 70’s cop drama, about two cops, Mac & Woods. They break the rules, but they get the job done. Think Miami Vice, Starsky & Hutch, well add to the line up, “Funk Police”. Pam Grier as she is in Coffy is bound to feature in it. Anyway, I digress, we also had some great hip-hop sounds in there, and some fantastic dub sounds that made you feel like you were chillin’ with Aswad.
Scruff was on form. He had the crowd going all night long, with his heavy beats, and brilliantly cute cartoons on the big screens. The crowd itself was really varied. You had your teenagers with their skinny jeans & converse, your dreadlock crew dancing away, and the older crowd who’ve been rocking to this stuff since before I was in school. There wasn’t a sniff of trouble, everyone was there to have a great time. When someone jumped on stage it just spurred the crowd on even more. The crowd definitely came alive most though, when Scruff blasted out “Get A Move On”, the place was jumping, the walls were shaking, it was immense.
So if I had one downside, and I don’t want this to sound to damning, but the songs kept feeling like they weren’t going anywhere. Let me explain.
I’m a massive dubstep head. A song starts, it goes on at 140bpm, and around 55 seconds in, you’ll get a massive drop that will make the song explode, and get everyone going bananas. That’s the thing I love about dubstep. I kept feeling like Mr Scruff was doing that build up, but it didn’t really deliver the big bass drops I was used to. Maybe that’s just me, maybe I was expecting something that he was never going to deliver, so I shouldn’t criticize, but I really wanted with some of those explosion sounding moments that I thought the track listing should be able to deliver.
Either way, it was a great set. Really entertaining, with the blend of Audio & Visual, combined with cups of tea, really helping to great a fantastic atmosphere. Hope everyone else loved it too, and if you get a chance to see Mr Scruff, make sure you go!
Were you there? Did you love it? Have you seen Mr Scruff before, what were your thoughts? Tweet @phatslates or @musiceyz and let us know, or leave a comment below.
Review by Dan Slater