It’s rare that I get to play a gig within London Underground distance of my house, but on Saturday 27th August I was invited back to play the mighty SW4 festival in Clapham, South London. If it wasn’t for having to play Creamfields in Liverpool straight afterwards I would have probably opted for the tube to avoid the traffic. The golden rule before any festival is to check the weather, and on Saturday 27th things looked reasonable, so I opted for my gore tex hiking boots rather than the other festival standard of Hunter wellies. SW4 was actually quite muddy, and in the artists’ reception area I quietly chuckled to myself at the amount of trendy Londoners sporting sparkling new white trainers, soon to be white no longer.
The festival was rammed to capacity, and I was invited to play on the Anjunabeats stage along side Above & Beyond and other DJs in the Anjunabeats gang. Even though I’m very close with the A&B boys, I really appreciated the invitation to play on their stage. SW4 only runs until 10pm, and I was on at 3pm, straight after Super 8 & Tab, in an arena couldn’t have been more rammed. It was my only annual opportunity to play a local London festival, and naturally plenty of mates were in attendance.
As soon as my set was over we jumped straight in the car and headed north to Creamfields. Unfortunately, the London traffic was typically awful and it took us forever to get out of the city. I was joined in the car by press duo from Zoo magazine, filming my movements for “a day in the life of” piece. I had to have a quiet word in the ear of the reporter, as he decided to start dancing in a wacky way on the stage next to me, which was a bit off-putting.
Creamfields was muddier than SW4, and there seemed to be less new white trainers knocking around. We’d intended to arrive earlier to catch some of the other acts, but due to the heavy traffic leaving London we only had about 10 minutes to spare. I played after John O’Callaghan just as the sun was setting – this can be the best time for a festival set, as everyone heads into the tents after the sun goes down. After my last tune, Pete whisked me straight to Birmingham airport for a 1am Monarch flight to Ibiza. After the long day, and amazing sets at two sold-out festivals, I kicked-back with a glass of wine and a big smile on my face.
The next night, at Judgement Sundays in Ibiza, I was paired once again with John O’Callaghan, who really tore the place apart. If you’re a regular reader of this report, you’ll know that this season in Ibiza at JS, midway through the night we have been switching ends of the club, putting our headliners on the stage at the opposite end of the club. The dynamic of changing the club round completely half way through has worked incredibly.
With two weeks’ sabbatical from BCM now concluded, on Monday 29th it was time to take the short island hop over to Mallorca once again. BCM in Magaluf is my longest-standing gig, and in the past 2 years have I developed the taste for patron (a feisty type of tequila). Playing a well-received back-to-back set, the bottle of patron fuelled things very nicely. I stayed unhealthily late in the BCM office after my set, and at 7am headed to Palma airport and back to Ibiza base camp.
There aren’t many weeks of the summer when I can spend an entire 7 days chilling in Ibiza, but the last few days of August was such a week. On Sunday 4th September it was time for another Judgement Sundays. Feeling nicely rested, I headed down to the pre parties at 9:30pm where the night begins. At Eden I was joined on the decks by Heatbeat and Marco V, amongst others. Once again, the stage set up worked fantastically and the atmosphere left other Ibiza nights standing in the shade. Check the photos in the Gallery section of the site.
On Monday Sept 5th we headed back over to Mallorca. Originally Jaguar Skills was due to join me on the decks, but unfortunately he had to cancel due to illness. Tristan D and I ended up doing a 2 hour back 2 back set. With the school holidays (and the much more expensive flight prices they generate) out of the way, early September witnesses a big boost in youth resort numbers, and BCM was heaving.
On Wednesday 7th September, Pete and I headed up to Shrewsbury to play the Onyx rooms. This was an awesome venue which used to be owned by a big leisure chain. However, private independent owners had taken over, giving the place a more personal touch. The night was promoted as a regular mid week student event. Throughout different regions of the UK a new generation of student-only promoters have become a force to be reckoned with in UK clubland, especially as they have the key to unlock the tricky midweek market. The club was rammed and I really enjoyed returning to Shrewsbury.
The following night I headed up to Dundee in Scotland for another huge student event at the University of Dundee. This time it was on-campus, promoted by the uniâ€™s student union. Throughout their freshers’ week they had a hefty line up of artists including Nero, Kissy Sell Out and many more. It was my second consecutive year of playing the universityâ€™s freshersâ€™ ball, and the crowd response was very euphoric.
I end this instalment in a similar way to how I started it, contemplating what footwear to wear, and choosing white trainers on a totally inappropriate day to a festival.
Inappropriately attired for the conditions, on Saturday 10th September I headed over to Ireland for the mighty Planet Love festival. I’ve played there many times in the past and the Irish crowed never fail you. I arrived at the gig around 3 hours before my set – there wasn’t much choice, because of the flight timings. I was joined backstage by John Gibbons and DJ Mog, both of whom Iâ€™ve supported a lot over the years, ending up MCing for Mog’s set on the outdoor stage. It was pretty daring of him to allow me, as Iâ€™d consumed a fair amount of vodka. He subsequently sent me a recording of the set, which included me wailing over the top. Later, I played in the main arena, managing to take some great pictures which are now live on the site.
After my set I headed to Dublin airport for an unhealthy 6am flight to Ibiza. I didn’t know until I arrived at the airport that Ryanair are experimenting with advance numbered seating at an additional cost. So far this is on Irish flights only â€“ I hope it spreads to UK departures, as it gets rid of the hideous free-seating boarding scrum. Had I been aware I would have booked the exit row. I arrived into Ibiza feeling pretty shattered and proceeded to sleep pretty much throughout all of September 11th.
Exactly 10 years earlier, on Sept 11th 2001, I think everybody remembers what they were doing. In my case, it was in Ibiza with my wife Amanda, watching live as events unfolded.
More next timeâ€¦