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Friday, 24 April 2015

Pablo Contraband Gigs - May


We seem to have made it through a chaotic spell of venue sales and closures, in fact the chaos has now been replaced with a spring like rejuvenation and sunny weather making everything OK again!

A Bank Holiday Weekend approaches and I'm happy to have a few Brighton gigs planned in May.

Local lads Keep it Moving are throwing a party on Friday 1st May at Sticky Mikes, Middle St.
I'll be playing 12.30 - 2am so hoping loads of you can make it along. Cheap and cheerful entry fee £2/4 and some great local selectors on deck duties. Full details are up on FB event

Patterns is opening soon and we have been invited to spin over the soft launch weekend May 8/9th
It will be a good opportunity to have a nosey, check the new soundsystem and improved layout and hopefully give it your seal of approval. We're excited, so keep an ear out for further news on that one

Saturday May 23rd at Fortune of War - I'm looking forward to playing with all round good egg Rob Savage -  Grateful he's invited me along as there's nothing else like this open air seafront frolick!

I've now started doing a weekly show on 1BrightonFM.co.uk every Tuesday 5-7pm be great if you could join me - check the station out as they've gone to a lot of effort to deliver a great studio environment and musical line up. Very community minded project and one I'm really happy to be involved with.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Easter Weekend - Good Friday Greg Wilson, Brighton + Easter Sunday Unity showcase at Camden Lock


Hope you're looking forward the extended Easter weekend ahead. 4 days off is always a treat!a tight spot a couple of weeks back, with The Loft abruptly selling up and closing it's doors, which left us in need of a venue for Greg Wilson on Good Friday. Fortunately our friends at Al Duomo have been most accomodating, giving us the run of the place for the night!

Down to the last 45 advance tickets, so if you want to catch Greg Wilson playing an extended set in the basement of an Italian Restaurant in Brighton, this could well be your only chance!  We have a Turbosound rig installed and the cocktail bar upstairs is fully stocked in preparation of our arrival.


Greg Wilson, Pablo Contraband & Leroy Select - Basement from 10.30pm

Fingerman & Aashton will play a special Pizza Oven set upstairs in the Cocktail Bar from 12

Ticket Link 
http://bit.ly/1EoSo0t 10.30pm Al Duomo, Pavilion Buildings, Brighton

We are gonna be in London on Easter Sunday with On & On, at the rather marvelous Lockside Lounge, Camden. It's a FREE party. Bit of an all dayer with Fingerman, Aashton & Pablo Contraband bringing the heat. Kicks of at 4pm and runs til 2am. Do feel free to join us, the venue has a riverside terrace, if the weathers good we'll be out there, before bringing the party inside as it gets later.

Table bookings and further info 
http://on.fb.me/1G8RsMI 4 - late, Lockside Lounge, Camdena tight spot a couple of weeks back, with The Loft abruptly selling up and closing it's doors, which left us in need of a venue for Greg Wilson on Good Friday. Fortunately our friends at Al Duomo have been most accomodating, giving us the run of the place for the night!
Down to the last 45 advance tickets, so if you want to catch Greg Wilson playing an extended set in the basement of an Italian Restaurant in Brighton, this could well be your only chance!  We have a Turbosound rig installed and the cocktail bar upstairs is fully stocked in preparation of our arrival.


Greg Wilson, Pablo Contraband & Leroy Select - Basement from 10.30pm

Fingerman & Aashton will play a special Pizza Oven set upstairs in the Cocktail Bar from 12

Ticket Link 
http://bit.ly/1EoSo0t 10.30pm Al Duomo, Pavilion Buildings, Brighton

We are gonna be in London on Easter Sunday with On & On, at the rather marvelous Lockside Lounge, Camden. It's a FREE party. Bit of an all dayer with Fingerman, Aashton & Pablo Contraband bringing the heat. Kicks of at 4pm and runs til 2am. Do feel free to join us, the venue has a riverside terrace, if the weathers good we'll be out there, before bringing the party inside as it gets later.

Table bookings and further info 
http://on.fb.me/1G8RsMI 4 - late, Lockside Lounge, Camden

Have a happy Easter - see you soon





Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Zeus - PILLS - Art exhibition, Brighton





Ahead of his 'PILLS' art exhibition launching this Friday in Brighton we caught up with James Woodley from Prescription Art, to get some musical insight into his past and to get us in the mood for the weekend.
More info on the launch can be found on Facebook -  Friday 13 March, 6pm at Prescription art, 1 Beaconsfield Parade, Beaconsfield Road, Brighton.

Following on from recent ‘sweet art’ works, ‘Pills’ will consist of a wall of oversized ecstasy tablets, each with their own distinctive – and authentic – branding. ‘Pills’ explores how adults continue to eat branded sweets – however this time they are looking for a stronger rush than sugar.



'As a retired music blogger I thought I’d enjoy writing a post to celebrate our forthcoming ‘Pills’ exhibition at Prescription Art… though having not done anything like this for some years it’s now proving a little bit like trying to snowboard after many years off the mountain.
 

 Considering the ‘Ecstasy’ theme of the exhibition, I thought I’d try and pick out five tracks that most defined the drug in my eyes (and ears). It seems likely that they’ll all be a nostalgic hark back to more innocent and less cynical times… but let’s face it the drugs and clubs were better! I would like to have done a nice old skool mix, but we’re busy making pills and time is tight!

The obvious first choice here would be ‘Energy Flash’ by Joey Beltram… however since everyone knows that one, I thought I’d pick out a similar sounding track that for me always sat closely alongside it – ‘Substance Abuse’ by Ritchie Hawtin as F.U.S.E.


 I bought Substance Abuse while at University in Leeds. My first ever proper night out clubbing was at the legendary techno night The Orbit in a small town called Morley… when Underworld played live – including what must have been a 25 minute version of Rez - and Derrick May got a taxi from Heathrow to play for the last half hour of the night. After that I never looked back. The atmosphere in the Orbit was incredible, and the crowd knew exactly what they liked & wanted. Techno. The residents from the Orbit ran a record shop in Leeds… a treasure trove of shinkwrapped imports from Detroit… and Substance Abuse was one of the tracks I bought on sight having had the hairs on my neck stand up in the club. 

At that time the undisputed anthem of the club was ‘Access’ by DJ Misjah & DJ Tim. I’ve listened to it a few times since, and I just can’t imagine playing it out again. It lacks the sophistication & funk of all the great techno tracks that have really stood the test of time. However since I’m writing from personal experience rather than as some music journalist’s ‘greatest 100 dance records’ perspective, this will always transport me back to the middle of the dancefloor in Morley, with a stranger massaging your soldiers and 20 people hanging from the camouflage nets pumping their fists. I guess a lot of great dance records exist quite happily outside the club… but maybe this is one that was just built for being in the middle of a ferocious sound system with 500 other people absolutely off their nut.



Of course raving in the 90s wasn’t just about techno. Wherever there was a field, a massive tent, and a soundsystem you were likely to hear some piano breakdowns! Get those arms up in the lasers! It’s been tough to think of a specific track, but one that sticks in my mind is Moby at Glastonbury in what must have been (through a bit of googling) 1998. This was I think the first time Glastonbury had a dance tent… whereas previously the raves had popped up on the outskirts of the site & in the market areas through the night. Having been to Glastonbury many times, it is rather hard to locate specific memories.. however I will always remember that Moby set, and in particular ‘Feeling So Real’ (here reprised in 2003) – which almost seems the musical embodiment of an ecstasy rush.


After the rush comes the sunrise…. maybe this is a bit of an obvious selection – but without doubt part of being high is being there as the sun comes up, with faces coming into focus and reality making its unwelcome presence felt.



Picking a last track proved difficult… however last week I was out with some friends for dinner, and sitting next to me was a guy who turned out to have founded Heavenly Recordings… home of St Etienne, Manic Street Preachers and many many others. His clubnight, the Heavenly Social, was another club I went to on a weekly basis… and a regular end of night tune for residents the Chemical Brothers was ‘Weekender’ by Flowered Up….in my opinion one of the greatest records of all time and with a brilliant 20 minute video to match. You could say that ‘Screamadelica’ soundtracks a night out on ecstasy over the course of an album – from ‘Movin on Up’ to ‘Higher Than The Sun’ to ‘Damaged’ and ‘I’m Coming Down’ – well Weekender does the same over the course of one record. Better still, seeing as we’re here in Brighton, the record ends with a sample from Quadrophenia that sums things up for so many people sitting in a dead end job waiting for the weekend to arrive:

Yeah I'll tell you what you can do with your eye-teeth and your job, you can take the mail and the franking machine and all that other rubbish I have to go about with and you can stuff them right up your arse!


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Audio / Warehouse 50 - Pablo Contraband

AUDIO / WAREHOUSE 50 compiled by Pablo Contraband

So the time has come for Audio and it's in-house Saturday night Warehouse to close their doors for the final time. New owners are planning the refit and relaunch, Patterns being the chosen moniker for the all new era. They will re-open in May.

I've had the pleasure of working at Audio and Above Audio for the last 7 years or so, I started under David Parr at what was Summer of Love, where I played under the name DrkHrse.  Soon after this came Matt Bassant and Robbie Whishaw who introduced me to Audio's charismatic owner John Holland - by now I was Pablo Contraband and promoted my night Disco Deviant.

Audio is far more to me than a mere nightclub, I was a part of the place. I worked hard to get a residency and then I just belonged there. Sentimental ramblings aside, I really can't say that about many venues, especially in this fast and often fickle environment. Over the years we've seen numerous venues come and go. Hype, hot air and the next big things rise and fall, time and again. All this occurring at an ever increasing velocity,  yet I have remained a resident DJ and promoter at this beloved venue. I feel very lucky to have been there until the end.

I started Disco Deviant and The Unity Agency whilst working for Audio and programmed Above Audio every Friday in 2014 - the year we won DJ Mag small club of the year. I have played with some amazing DJ's, alongside some hugely talented residents and guests alike. Learned so much, laughed so much and had some truly amazing nights there. I have absolutely loved every minute of it and am really grateful to have had the opportunity and support from the staff and the crowd week after week.

The door team, managers, DJs, bar staff and sound techs have always been like friends, welcoming and easy to deal with. Met so many sound people all from Audio; Albie, Bekki, Ambrose, Charlie, Jai, Tom Frisco, Justin, Oli Clark, Callum, Sophie, Neal, Charles, Battery Powered, Nick Sabin, Neil, Izzy, Milton, Lee, Ellie, Sasha, Marcus, Boycee, Cesare, Dre, Matt, Robbie and John.

As I will play my last two gigs at Audio on Sat Feb 21 (Warehouse) and Sat Feb 28 for the closing party I felt it fitting to put together a playlist of classic tracks from over the time I have played Audio and Warehouse. No doubt some glaring omissions but these things are always tricky to do, so I'm hoping to have captured a flavour of what went on in there over the years.

Audio + Warehouse All Time Classics (see youtube playlist)
Black Light Smoke – Lovework (DJ T remix)
Soundstream - Love Jam (Maceo Plex)
Marlon D, Bodhi Satva - Power of the drums (Marlon D tribal mix)
Barnt – Geffen
E-Versions – Mingo
Heretic –  Sharia Law (XY-Me mix)
Art Dept ft. Seth Troxler - Living the Life (Aba Therapy mix)
Hot Toddy – Mutha Sucka
Candi Staton – Hallelujah Anyway (Larse mix)
Soul Clap - Xtravaganza
Re.you – Junction
Seelunluft - Manila (Headman remix)
Lil Louis - Y U Fall (Pablo Contraband DJ Edit)
KRL – Deep Down (Ethyl remix)
Chamboche – Mello (BLM digi remix)
Till von Sein - Non Existent Love (El Txef al)
Eats Everything - Entrance Song
Azari & III – Hungry for the Power (Jamie Jones)
Ejeca – Rosario (Mic Newman mix)
Kidnap Kid – Survive
Disclosure – F For U (TEED mix)
BAZAR – Hard to Find (Maceo Funk drop)
Fabio Gianelli – Maintain
Boddika – Heat
NTFO – Pendos
Got Me So – xxxy
Solomun – Boot Camp
Italojohson 7 – Track 2
Aden – Whip (Jimmy Edgar mix)
Literon – Freak Function
Justin Vandervolgen – Clapping Song
Alex Niggemann – Materium
PBR Streetgang – 2square
Tale of Us – Another Earth
Oni Ayhun – OAR 003 B
Locussolus – Berghain (Darkroom mix)
Scandal – Just Let Me Dance (Maxxi Soundsystem mix)
The Mole – Party Lockdown (DJ Sprinkles mix)
Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love (Eskimo Twins mix)
Midland - For (Yacht) Club Use Only
Late Nite Tuff Guy – I Get Deeper
Him Self Her – Heavy Rotation (Lars Moston and Teenage Mutants mix)
Nneka – Shining Star (Joe Goddard mix)
Josh Wink – Talking to You (Groove Mix)
Paul Woolford – Untitled
Disclosure – F for You (TEED)
Todd Terje - Ragysh

Foals – My Number (TEED mix)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Disco Deviant Free Party; Saturday 31st Jan at 10 Below Brighton

It's feels like the longest month in living memory and high time we had a party!

Payday is fast approaching so let's get together on Saturday night at 10 Below, Brighton for a night of disco, electro funk and house jams.
Pablo Contraband is playing an extended set ably supported by Soul City's main man Leroy Select.
Good news is that it's FREE before midnight. Simply add your names to the FB event wall and we'll add you to the guest list. 
Looking forward to seeing some of you there, if not you can always tune in to Disco Deviant show 4 - 6pm today on Codesouth.fm.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Is the party over in Brighton? Certainly sounds like it.



Here in Brighton, we are perceived by many,  a party destination.  Not just Hen and Stags, but also for more hedonistic and cultured nightlife. Music, sex, drugs, fashion, freedom and tolerance being an intrinsic part of what's made Brighton such an attractive place to visit or live.

We have had it good, we have enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes on a ridiculously grand scale - Big Beach Boutique and Fatboy attracting tens of thousands to Brighton, myself included and no doubt leading to people moving here off the back of it. The same can be said of Pride which has grown and expanded into a full on festival style production, with more attractions, bigger line ups, attendees and zones of the city organised as part of the event.

Late night music lead venues have held some excellent live gigs and club events for many years, giving us so much to choose from within a 3 mile radius, week in week out for decades.

We have some great restaurants and many pubs serve good quality organic or free range food that just isn't on offer as standard in the South East's provincial towns and villages.

So all in all we have it quite good. It's a lively and interesting city with a diverse and creative culture, sat beneath the 'tits and teeth' of the pier, pavilion and seafront.

Whats the problem?
This month I took a step back into some of the smaller venues I worked with as a DJ over the years. Pubs, bars and other little spaces that are popular for the company do's and Xmas get togethers we all look forward to at this time of year.

When I first came to Brighton, I set up lots of smaller gigs in pubs and bars so we could play disco and nu disco to our friends and try to carve out a niche off the back of it. Myself and Ali Back played many of these gigs along with various other local jocks - pretty good nights, without the hassle of having to install additional sound. We just used the in house systems which were adequate - decent jukebox level music, with enough room to pump it up a bit later so dancers could dance, chat and get pissed together with no real complaints to speak of.

Good fun, not a great deal of hassle or trouble really. The Pub sold the booze, we played the music, all had a bit of party and generally us DJ's bought more records with the money we earned.

Slowly but surely local residents (usually one single complainant) - would start to find that living near the pub didn't suit them and start to make noises about this to the council.  The Environmental Health Officers take this kind of thing very seriously, it's a health issue and human rights issue for this poor complainant. Their quality of life is being compromised and it can't be ignored. They are suffering as a result of music and high spirits of a weekend and it needs to be investigated.

The reality of this kind of action,  especially since the extended licensing laws were implemented is devastating for a business trying to operate fairly, and cater for it's customers.

I have witnessed reasonable complaints, where New Years Eve has been a bit OTT in terms of extra sound installed especially, as a one off and becoming a nuisance, too loud, too late. These complaints are usually met with the volume being turned down and a bit of an understanding that its once a year, sorry we got a bit carried away...

I have also been party to unreasonable neighbours complaining about what can barely be considered audible, let alone a nuisance. The most trivial of situations becoming the bedrock for an ongoing campaign and vendetta against a venue. Blind Tiger, Om Bar, Freebutt all paying the ultimate price for one nause of a neighbour.

One of Brick Lane's cornerstones, Vibe Bar has now become a casualty of this scenario. Closing down and making way for what exactly?

Council in cahoots with property developers?
The Blind Tiger was a popular live venue and pub, lots of fun and part of Brighton's make up. A tenant moved in with full knowledge of the venues business model, but found it unacceptable once living there and began to stalk its prey, finally leading to the demise of the tiger. It's owners shut the doors and walked away. SEE ARTICLE

It is now a squat. Excellent work from the council and a prime example of what one single complainant is capable of doing to a business, its staff (now unemployed), the building (now squatted) and it's clients. All with full support and assistance of the City council.

It's commonly used as a tactic for property development firms, these fuckers are taking council planning staff off to the South of France to plan there next developments and acquisitions on private yachts whilst plying them with free booze. Does that sound like we're in good hands? SEE ARTICLE

I am not in a position to go into major detail on political corruption, but its not a theory, there are numerous sources and findings giving further insight into where the council are actually working to an agenda that differs from what we would perhaps expect. Certainly not one that most would deem fair.

How does this affect me?
The result of the way the complaints are now dealt with are clearly evident in many of Brighton and Hove's venues. The council has installed sound limiters, locked down at a level usually set in the day time with an empty venue and then approved by the complainant. This sounds like a reasonable solution in theory. Assuming you were dealing with a reasonable person. Unlikely.

There is usually an agenda, or a list of demands or an unrealistic expectation of 'county living' and peace and quiet in the heart of a busy and vibrant city. These awkward fuckers usually want to hear a pin drop! Maybe get some earplugs or buy more your property more sensibly, what are you an idiot?

Gone are the easy nights, due to the levels being set at 10 am in an empty venue, the music is barely audible over busy bar room chatter, there are consistent and anguished requests for the DJ to turn it up - which has been made impossible by the over zealous limiter. Bar managers are constantly anxious over noise complaints and pretty soon the venue becomes a stressful and intense place to be, with staff and it's trade feeling the negative effects of the councils measures.

Why does one disgruntled person get to have so much power over so many people? People that were previously doing fine, enjoying the city, many getting on with the fact they live very near a music or drinking establishment and accepting that's where they live and what that means. Businesses are being ruined, our city is being restricted and limited to the mediocre.

I could only really hear peoples voices on numerous occasions this month whilst being paid good money for people to basically watch me play music they simply couldn't hear! It was painfully frustrating and unfair on everyone. We rubbed along as best we could but overall it was a crying shame. For the sake of a few extra decibels, we all got short changed, needing to put a brave face on what could of been a cracking night.

Smoking outside, mobile phones, conversations, laughter and conviviality are all pushing venues nearer to closure. Imaging trying to manage that. All due to ONE single complainant. They now have the volume control, and they have the power. Why??

Don't blame the venue, its Human Nature
Humans generally like to socialise in their free time, we enjoy a night out, we like to let loose once in a while and spend our hard earned cash on drinking, dining, having a late night. We get babysitters and go out late sometimes. We want the music up loud enough to dance to and we don't want to do this at home.

We don't mean a rave, we mean a night out where we have the choices we used to have, a bit of a laugh and a dance. Sadly there are only a few sacred places left in Brighton where this casual night out is an option. I won't name them for fear of EHO visits and another one biting the dust.

In short its become a Kingdom of Fear for venues and I think it's completely out of balance. We have rights and expectations, that are slowly but surely being eroded and dissolved, in pursuit of what? House prices? Keeping one person content? Or is it simply that we aren't complaining and they are?

I think the party is generally over in the settings I've described, but it needn't be - I have seen venues work in beautiful harmony with their neighbours, agreeing a music off policy of 12 - not bad for a boozer really. Party section is decent and then a wind down time from 12 - 1 am close.

I've seen venues offer to double glaze their neighbours homes, add sound proofing and acoustic treatments only to be snubbed and refused. There must be another agenda at play in these cases.

What can I do?
A sensible proposal for a Mandatory Noise Complaint Waiver, now seems to have all the more urgency. It's an online petition to protect live music venues against noise complaints the aim of the which, is to prevent people who knowingly move within earshot of a live music venue, then proceeding to file noise complaints against said venue.

The petition states: “It is extremely detrimental to the UK’s entertainment industry, particularly on a grassroots level, when all the music venues start disappearing. Music is a key British export and to endanger our strong national artist community is to endanger a key British industry.”

The petition follows the closure of beloved venues such as Brighton’s Blind Tiger club, Freebutt and Brick Lane's Vibe Bar.  Check out the petition for yourself and sign here.

I hope you all stand up for what you want to be available next time you go for a night out.

FURTHER READING ON THE CURRENT ISSUES FACED BY VENUE OWNERS
London / Soho - Left Foot Forward
East London Times 

Here's a bit of free music going begging right now coutesy of  DJ Steef!






Monday, 1 December 2014

Pictures are up from Friday night



Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pablo Contraband at Disco Deviant - Nov 28 2014

We had an absolutely sublime night on Friday with Daniel Avery and Andrew Weatherall playing a thunderous 3 and half hour B2B set.  Full house from early on. Take a listen to Disco Deviant resident Pablo Contraband kicking the night off.

An interesting set starting with some downtempo dubby gems, disco strings soon make a welcome appearance courtesy of Secret Squirrel #4 followed by an excellent New Beat excursion. A well thought out set with plenty of surprise appearances in there including John Cooper Clarke.

The second hour the pace really starts to pick up and before long John Talabot ushers in Barnt and Kolsch.

DJ Bookings: lizz@theunityagency.co.uk