Saturday, August 12, 2006


Held at Justin and Helen’s house in Leytonstone the Green Man Roundabout Festival was a beautiful event, the ultimate in house parties full of amazing music, great food and a treasure trove of drama that almost became disaster.

When I arrive the day is already in full flow. Outside the weather is glorious; most fitting a sunny British summer afternoon and just opposite the house (the venue) is a large Tesco to facilitate the drinking process.

Soon after arriving I slip in one of my special mix CDs and everyone asks me “what the fuck is that?” as Material and “Seven Souls” ripped from the “Members Only” episode of The Sopranos kicks in. This is also coupled by a surprising shock from the others at the sound of Wesley Willis before I commit a complete faux pas by playing “Gypsy Woman” by Crystal Waters. Can’t argue with a good song.

Gradually as the afternoon continues slowly thinks get drunk and messy as loud DJ sets come from Allen (The Blitters), Staff (DJ Travelcard, ENT and The Blitters), Doug (Big In Albania) and Adam (Cats Against The Bomb) who I believe plays the Queen soundtrack to Flash Gordon. As things get loud it is Staff with his old skool rave classics recently purchased off Ebay that floods the aural market.

With plenty of “Don’t Be A Dick” signs strategically plastered all over the house very quickly the evening arrives as the clock spins as quickly as the people drunkenly indulging it.

The first band of the night is SHARE THE SHAME, the long muted collaboration of various Bad Hand Records types (including Richard of Limn who didn’t want to do a Game Over set with me). It’s a lo-fi drone and enjoyable experience. Or rather I am told it is as I spend the majority of their set in the kitchen trying to talk a girl into liking. Again alcohol helps facilitate this process but ultimately it is in vain and really I should be spending my time watching and supporting my buddies as they play in the dark.

Following comes Mark Beazley doing a solo ROTHKO set of songs mostly taken from the upcoming new album. On his own Mark manages to still capture the emotion and subtle dynamics of his bass titan band. These songs serve as the perfect vehicle to move into the nights proceedings as the house rumbles and between songs we give off a few nervous glances and twitches about the reaction that might be coming from the neighbours. On his own Mark is super focused even when I am getting the drunk girl from the kitchen to shout out requests for songs that are almost ten years old.

Tonight represents the live debut of YONOQUIERO who are Tom and Chris from Hirameka in an acoustic setting. Their smattering of songs have been doing the rounds for a while as their latest “project” and the results to date have been thrilling, the kind of songs you are not ashamed to send people the Myspace link for. As they sit in the corner sharing a lampshade without the necessity of electricity the acoustics power them through as their vocals and lyrics perfectly accompany their playing and keep us all transfixed, even stopping some of us from hitting on dodgy females. All too song they exhaust their new songbook and the set proves a very popular triumph displaying new tendencies away from the noise of Sonic Youth and onto the sly country leanings of Will Oldham, Smog et al. There are calls out for more songs but perfectly suited to the settings they quit while they are ahead.

At this point I grab the opportunity to begin playing and start/begin a DJ Gram set. With a bunch of home brewed discs in hand I tear through a number of favourites. Whether these are universal favourites or just favourites of my own is another thing. In a way I think my choosing to DJ takes away from the fun of the evening as I later hear of lots of minor dramas occurring, once again through the battle of the sexes.

With more tunes in hand Mark from ROTHKO returns from his arsenal with more tunes to unleash on proceedings and as I sit next to him in our bespoke DJ booth on the floor he makes the mistake of getting me to accompany him by starting the backing disc for some of his songs. As his delicate lines shoot through his heavy bass amp a small victory occurs as well into the evening it suddenly appears that we are getting away with noise pollution murder – nobody is complaining! Elsewhere in Leytonstone there is a hellacious and noisy Saturday night occurring but in the Green Man Roundabout Festival we have our own thing going on and it’s the best of all possible places to be. During the second ROTHKO set I begin to fumble with the discs and as the delicate bass strains rumble through the house I manage to knock over an entire stack of discs causing everyone to laugh including Mark but he still does not miss a beat.

As his second set concludes I return to DJ duties and accidentally choose the wrong song in “Date With The Night” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs but this ironically produces the biggest bout of dancing of the night all by accident. Soon enough I am killing the mood by playing the first track on “Trapped In The Closet” by R Kelly as horrified expressions look towards me fearing that I am about to play all twelve chapters.

Later the room comes alive again as suddenly a cat nobody recognises appears to be running around the house leaving its wet mark of ownership everywhere. Panic ensues as people endeavour to guide it out of the door without spooking it too much.

As people hand me more and more cans of beer I begin to get more and more bored of my own discs and I begin dipping into the Watson CDs stacked next to me. Much against the theme for the evening at one point I even find myself playing REM.

Eventually I come across the Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Best Of compilation which I put with view to falling asleep at the decks and not having to worry about the music ending/stopping. At this point Allen comes along with his Canadian ways and offers to assist me and take over. Happily I comply as I crash out on the sofa of the house as he resumes a more noisy and considered set.

Parties just never get this good.

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