Saturday, 12 May 2018

Valv–a–tron

For weeks building up to the event, there had been a buzz of excitement among all crew. At 6AM Marty had sent messages across all crew "Valv-a-tron, Valv-a-tron- Valtv-a-tron!!" The day hadn't even started yet but everyone was on edge and waiting already.
At around 4PM Mr Paul Axis himself arrived. Marty (with his broken hand) and the Icemon began to unload and string up the Valv-a-tron alongside Mr Axis. The night was due to start at 7pm but was pushed back slightly to 7:30PM due to the football.
We decided we would sit in the sun while we waited and enjoy the wonderful garden of Saltburn House. Soon we hear a roaring engine. All crew instantly knew it was a sign that Rossy had arrived. We all eagerly scurried down to the road side, including Mr Axis, to admire the infamous 'TinWorm'. He stood proudly by his creation and gave us a good few revs of the engine as we all gaped at it in awe. 
As we all waited patiently for Paul to start, we admired the equipment. This was like no other system that I had seen. It was a vintage style sound system, entirely built by Mr Axis himself (including the amp and pre-amp). 
The system uses valve amplifiers instead of the usual transistor amplifiers that are commonly used now. I ask Paul, "why did you choose valve instead of transistor?"
Paul simply explained that during the time when he first became involved with sound system culture (70s), all system were valve operated instead of transistor but during the 80s, this began to change. When I asked about the difference in transistor and valve operated equipment, Paul explained "The valve amps have a 'warmer' more inviting and natural sound than transistor." He clarified this further by explaining "The valve amps start to distort differently when pushed hard. This is a distortion that is pleasing to the ear more than transistor distortion, which sounds horrible and is dangerous for blowing speakers." 

It was honestly an honour to be able to experience classic, vintage reggae in the way that it was originally played. Paul played classics, stemming as far back as the 60's and from genres including ska, reggae, roots, rocksteady including Bob Marley, Lee Scratch Perry, Culture, Burning Spear and much more. 
The crowd was totally blown away with the night and responded particularly ecstatically to the selection, bringing out the true Reggae sentimentalists. The rig itself was one of the most powerful I have come across yet, one of my colleagues even exclaiming "I've never felt this way in front of a rig before!"   
From the lass on the inside....Keith (original version)

Monday, 30 April 2018

The Red Stripe Twins: Well Red – From the inside



The Red Stripe twins are a Dub and Dubstep duo currently rising through the ranks within the local sound system scene. Although currently based in Leeds, they decided to take a trip to Newcastle's self-proclaimed "music-cultural shelter" - Bar Loco.
 
 The nights line up consisted of The Icemon - representing Roots Train Radio, Green Man HiFi, Svaha Sound label (doing a showcase), Dji ( Digi) and The Red Stripe Twins. Powered with the mighty sound of Green Man Hifi. 
The event consisted of a combination of mostly heavy Steppas, Roots, Reggae, Dancehall and Dub.   including brand new tracks from Dji such as "Empirical Love" (Rumoured to be released on Vinyl in the somewhat near future) and "Better Times". As well as "Seeing Trees" and "Three Sheets To The Wind" produced by The Red Stripe Twins. 
Upon arrival I instantly saw the look of mischief creep into crews faces as we began to gather. Within minutes the Icemon had deployed the rubber ears to all members. Shitcasket of course, responding most enthusiastically, making immediate use of them. And with that, the antics did commence. 
To everyone's amusement the ears had soon become an alternative form of communication known as 'Ear Phones'. Shit Casket and Captain Buckfast were at opposite ends of the room, shouting into the ears with the crowd looking on in pure confusion and bemusement. One of which had been named Dave, to replace our missing member. 
The night became more and more rowdy as the crowds gathered and the tunes gradually began to get heavier and heavier and by 10pm the dance floor was full of individuals jumping, skanking and twisting vigorously. By this time drinks were flowing freely, and attendees had relaxed. The atmosphere was highly charged with everyone's energy, excitement and enjoyment.


By the end of the night, things had begun to quiet down and only a few stragglers were left. This was an opportunity for the crew tunes to finally come out and be played. Shit casket dropped one of his recent creations 'Piss Me Pants' soon followed with 'Bucky Wisdom'. Both of which went enticed a particularly strong reaction from the crowd that was left, although it is questionable as to whether they truly understood the lyrics they were singing along with at this point. 
 Finally, the night ended the same way it had begun – Crew antics. The tunes finally stopped, and the rig was switched off. With the silence came drunken shouting from the Icemon and Buckfast. With cries of "Taxi for Hitler" and "Taxi for Adolf anyone?", The crowds faces once again twisted up into a puzzled look, followed by some hushed giggles. Unsure on how to take this group of mischiefs.   We swiftly made our exit after this and escaped back the sleepy countryside and away from the big city of Newcastle. 
The event itself was a beautiful night, filled with great music, fantastic company and lots of laughter. We look forward to the next event eagerly  
From the Lass in the know.....Keith