Gigs and Clubs and Festivals

Preview - Swingamajig - Birmingham - 5th May 2013 - electro swing festival

The Electric Swing Circus may well be the hardest working act in the electro-swing scene. Not only have they recently recorded an album (funded by their fans), organised their own regular and hugely successful Birmingham-based club night "Hot Club de Swing" and set up a record label (at least, Tom is one half of Ragtime Records), but they have also organised what must be the world's first electro-swing festival - Swingamajig. The event will take place on 5th May, from 2pm. The whole thing will stagger to a close at 5am the following morning.

The line up reads like a who's who of electroswing. I mean, just look at this poster: 

The festival will be centered around Spotlight Bar in Digbeth. There will be two outdoor stages, and a further indoor 'speakeasy'. As one might expect, there will also be a variety of stalls and associated festival-stuff like circus performers and what-not. 

Other people involved are the guys from Nottingham's Jitterbug nights, and Madame Electrifie's Discotech, which might go some way to explaining the strength of the line-up. I understand that there are still tickets left. Go to for more details.

If you still haven't decided to go, have a look at this here video.

If nothing else, the event should provide electro-swing fans a great taste of what is to come at Boomtown this summer, and the Electric Swing Circus a great warm up gig for their appearance at Glastonbury.

Photo Diary: The Swing Dig' with Elle and the Pocket Belles

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited along to see the delectable Elle and the Pocket Belles performing at "The Swing Dig", supported by DJ Fred Balkayou. Elle and the girls performed with their Big Band, and put on a typically polished performance. 

The venue, The Nursery, is in a railway arch near Southwark and was packed to bursting. The place is a sort of multi-purpose space and the whole event had a pleasingly home-made feel to it. In place of a cloakroom there was a clothes rail, while in the absence of an entry stamp the chap on the door drew a unicorn on the back of my hand. 

It was particularly nice to bump into DJ Shefitza, the lady behind SwingStep, an electro-swing night  in Shepherd's Bush.

Below are a few of the pictures from the event, some taken by me, and others by Neil Gordon, to whom I am very grateful. (NB - Neil's are the ones that look professional)

Video - Electric Empire Escapade

I promised you a video, didn't I? Well, after much fiddling and many hours of editing, here it is. I hope you enjoy this little audio/visual montage of the evening that I and the rest of the Jack the Cad team had at Electric Empire Escapade. It was a fantastic night, with some banging performances and a great crowd - highlights for me were Dutty Moonshine's set upstairs in Madame Electrifie's Discotech, and catching The Killer Dillers with their live Sax - what a great addition to a DJ set that is. Anyway, here it is!

The whole thing was shot on mobile phones and edited using Windows Live Movie Maker, so I apologise for the shaky camerawork. I am sure it leaves a great deal to be desired, so if anyone has any comments about the technical/stylistic aspects please do pass them on!

It may interest you to know that the Electric Empire crew are back at their original home The Amersham Arms, tomorrow night (Saturday 2/3/13) with DJ sets from the mighty Slamboree, the king of vintage mash-up DJ Dodgy-Style and regular guest J-Twy, plus a performance from Kitten and the Hip.

You can also catch Dutty Moonshine next Thursday (7/3/13) alongside Canadian Ghetto Funk monster Defunk at a new night called 'Shake Ya Bootleg' at Shoreditch's Barrio East.

Finally, I would like to say 'sorry' to the guys who were standing behind me while I filmed The Correspondents' opening number - I hope you enjoyed the rest of the show without me blocking your view!

Don't forget that I will be posting another Jack's top Tracks on Monday, and some more exciting and interesting content over the next few weeks and months.


Jack and the team

Them's fightin' words - Dutty Moonshine and The McMash Clan square off

With just a few days to go before their DJ battle at Electric Empire, Dutty Moonshine and The McMash Clan have been engaged in a war of words on Twitter and Facebook. Like heavyweight boxers exchanging verbal barbs at the weigh-in, the boys have been taunting each other over social media. The slanging match, which I believe to be good natured, began on Thursday 31st, when the DM boys made the following update on their Facebook account: 

Dutty Moonshine · 3,007 like this
January 31 at 2:45pm · 
Oh no Furley's setting up in the studio while Mike gets distracted by the internet, I think "shudder" he wants to practise for the battle with The McMash Clan

A short while later this was followed up by the Tweet exchange below, which then prompted the conversation you will see below. Jamko and DJ Switch stuck an oar in and gave the shit a stir too. 

As I say, I think this is good natured banter, with a smattering of gamesmanship thrown in. Are the McMash boys really that confident? Are Dutty Moonshine that scared? We shall see on Friday night. If you want to find out for yourself, I understand that there are a very limited number of tickets available for the event, which will take place this Friday at the Bussey Building in Peckham. Get there early is my advice. I don't think the battle is due to take place until later on in the evening (early in the morning), but the line-up includes C@ in the H@, Too Mant Ts, DJ Dodgy-Style, Odjbox and the mighty Correspondents, who will be launching their new single 'Well Measured Vice', so waiting for the battle shouldn't be too much of a hardship.

Image will appear as a link

  • DJ Switch ‏@djswitchbeatz31 Jan

  • The video above shows you what to expect from Mr. Bruce and Chuckles... crazy MC skillls, banging beats and one hell of a show. See you on Friday boys and girls. TTFN Jack

    Electric Empire Escapade - Correspondents single launch party - preview

    Over the last few weeks I have been getting increasingly excited about an event that will take place on 8th February at the Bussey Building in Peckham. The guys behind the monthly electro-swing night Electric Empire, at the Amersham Arms, have teamed up with Madame Electrifie to create the Electric Empire Escapade. The line-up is just staggering, with some of the very best DJs and live acts on the UK scene, as you can see from the flyer.

    This promises to be a proper, foot-stomping, tub-thumping rave - the Correspondents put on one hell of a show, and with several of the grimiest, bassiest, and bangingest (inventing words is fun) acts also on the bill I anticipate having to be dragged home. I am especially excited by the prospect of the back-to-back set from The McMash Clan and Dutty Moonshine - they should smash the place to pieces.

    According to Ed Higgins, one of the forces behind the event, the idea was sown for a jamboree on this scale following the success of the Electric Empire events. He told me that "from the very beginning it has been all about pushing best acts in the growing UK scene and building relationships with these producers/DJ's. The big party at the Bussey Building, is the result of all these other successful parties throughout the year amalgamated into one."

    He went on to say  "Electric Empire Escapade is all about the party. Having good times, listening to fresh exciting music that makes you wanna dance. So many club nights in any genre of music are all to much about the attitude and the image and have forgotten what its all about, good toe tapping, leg swinging music!!
    Electric Empire Escapade was created to help change this."

    Most of the performers have been mentioned on this blog, and you will find examples of their music on other posts - but here is a little sample of what to expect from Dutty Moonshine... as Tim Westwood would say "Nothing but BIG things."

    A couple of weeks ago, on his weekly Friday morning  Kane FM show, 'That Swing Thing', Captain Flatcap announced the final name on the lineup... Odjbox. I mean, really! It's just silly. 

    Check out the cloudcast above for his full show - a good little warm up. Tickets are selling fast, and will continue to do so! (I got four this morning) Join the Facebook page for the event for further updates, and buy tickets here

    If you are there, and see a mustachioed, trilby-ed bloke thrashing the dancefloor, its me - come and say hi!



    C2C Live in London

    Long term readers of the blog will know that one of my favourite acts are the French DJ turntablism crew C2C - see the post 'Scratch and Swing' for my original thoughts on them and a video of their winning 2005 world DMC set.

    Following the success of their EP 'Down the Road', they have just released an album, available on itunes now, called Tetra. The album owes as much to the crew's classic hip-hop, cut-scratch-and-paste style as it does to 'swing' but there are lots of swingy breaks and bluesy brass. Below is an album sampler - get the whole thing here:

    To promote the album the boys are going on tour, and are coming to the UK for the first time in a while. They will be playing at The Garage in Highbury on 2nd October at 7pm. For a hint of what to expect, check out this video of them playing live in Paris earlier this year.

    For more info on the gig, and to get tickets, point your internet engine in this direction

    Recognition for White Mink
    The guys at White Mink and Freshly Squeezed must be patting themselves on the back this week after Mixmag  named their London nights at the Bedroom Bar the second best night out in the country. This comes just a fortnight before the sold out Parov Stellar gig that they are hosting at Koko on the 31st May, and their Jubilee Weekend event in Shoreditch on the 2nd and their appearance at Meadowlands Festival - pretty perfect timing . And about right too - interestingly they are as much taken by the immersive aspect of the event as I was.  I suggested to the label boss/ promoter/ DJ Nick Hollywood that this was rather a coup for him and his team and he replied "Mixmag is without doubt one of the most respected dance music magazines in the world. To be named by them as one of the best 3 parties - not just in the UK - but in the world (because they are very much focussed on Ibiza right now) - really says a lot about the phenomenal growth of electro swing as the most important new music genre on the dance scene... And no, it has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol we plied them with when they came down to the club on several successive nights in a row!". For me this is further evidence that electro-swing is here to stay and is not a mere flash in the pan. I also saw a something on The Correspondents' Facebook wall about them heading to Radio 1... yet more grist to the electro-swing mill. No doubt this summer will see the electro-swing stages at the festivals becoming among the more popular. I can hardly think of a better genre for festival goers - big beats, cheerful tunes and smiling faces! I cannot begin to describe how excited I am about the prospect of Parov coming to London, and even more so now that the location and line-up of the afterparty have been announced - Purple Turtle in Camden will play host to DJs Jon Bingly Bongly, the legendary DJ Chris Tofu and DJ Dr Cat on the decks, with the promise of 'friends and special guests' - I wonder who... The full details can be seen here. The Austrian and his band will be performing tracks from the new album 'The Princess'. This is one of them.
    With just a day in between for recovery (cutting it fine, I can tell you), the Jack the Cad team will be sallying forth once more, to the White Mink event mentioned above. That event will see the excellent Sound Assembly playing a live set: the four piece produce sexy, seductive and slightly scary vintage tunes set to some grubby grubby dance beats. Sound Assembly presents ....Nu Skool Swing (FREE download at by soundassembly Other acts will include the usual troupe of magicians and dancers, plus mash-up maestro Scott Cairo, DJ Tallulah Goodtimes (the side project of House veteran SophieDJ) and my personal favourite, a GlitchSwing set from DJ Razzamatazz.  Here is a little sample of what to expect from Tallulah: Tallulah'sother4minutemix by tallulahgoodtimes And a little something from Woolfie Razzmatazz, and blunt instrument is quite right!   Blunt Instrument Vs. The Four Lads - Constantinople Train (Razzmatazz Mix) **DOWNLOAD LINK INSIDE** by Wolfie Razzmatazz The Jubilee Weekend promises to be a big one, but stand by for information about the events happening between now and then. Jack

    Electro Swing Club - London

    It is to my great shame that I had never been to this event, even though it is the longest running in London - the timing has always been a bit of an issue - the third Saturday of each month is quite some distance from payday and funds always seem to be a bit low. This month was different as it was the Hon Rumple Fuddly's birthday, so a group of us trooped over from West London to Liverpool Street and thence to The Book Club on Great Eastern Street. Clearly the length of time that this event has been running has worked in its favour, as when we approached we were rather surprised to find a huge queue. Using a certain amount of chicanery we were able to bypass this and get out of the rain pretty quickly. The venue, which covers two floors, is pretty big, but there were a lot of people there. The ground floor, which has lots of seating, played host to Aunty Maureen's Silent Disco, which looked like it was drawing lots of Shoreditch locals. Downstairs was the main dancefloor, where DJs Globalution, Woolfie, and Kitten and the Hip played some great tunes.
    We decided that we would rather be downstairs, but there was not a lot of seating. A little exploration revealed a small room at the back, so we piled in there, only to be told that it was a private party. Happily, Ruth, the guest of honour at that party, graciously allowed us to take a table as a base of operations - thanks to her we achieved our second blag of the night. From this auspicious start things just got better. The DJs surpassed themselves time and again. The real climax of the evening for me was the final set from DJ Woolfie. His swingstep and swing-hop set completely blew my mind. One track in particular, a remix of Dead Prez's "Hip Hop" was so pleasing that I had to go and ask him what it was - it turned out to be the first track on this little mix from DJ Twister.   Swing Session Vol. 1 (preview) available now at JunoDownload by Dj Twister All in all I think it was probably the best electro-swing night I have been to. The main dance floor had just enough space for some vigourous dancing, without being empty, and the people were extremely friendly. I love to see other people really getting into the music, so it was especially nice to be able to share a couple of dances with complete strangers - a sign, I feel, of the friendliness of the crowd. In the absence of any pictures from the night, I offer you instead this rather lovely little mix from Woolfie. The title says it all really. Note that the whole mix is available for download from Soundcloud. Wolfie - Razzmatazz Whomp Concerto no.5 by Wolfie Razzmatazz

    White Mink

    Since the last post about one of the smaller electro-swing nights in London I have been racking my brains as to how to do justice to what is probably now the biggest. I do not know if I have done so- hopefully this is informative and entertaining, if nothing else.
    White Mink’s nights began in Brighton as a launch party for their compilation albums (White Mink : Black Cotton) and have grown rather quickly. In addition they have run successful festival stages, including the Larmer Tree Festival and The Thames Festival.
    The brains behind the outfit are Nick Hollywood (described by the Guardian as “Godfather of electro-swing”; Chris Tofu ( of Continental Drifts, the team behind the Shangri La and Lost Vagueness stages at Glastonbury, and the one of the team behind the international “Electro Swing Club”); and Dan O’Neill, who brings business nous to the table. It is also worth pointing out that that these are the guys behind the Freshly Squeezed Music label, to which many of the biggest names of the genre like The Correspondents and Swing Republic belong. NB –their radio show is well worth checking out.
    It is this combination that makes the White Mink nights so much fun. They are, as I mentioned in the previous post, immersive nights – while the dress code is not enforced people are encouraged to dress in a ‘vintage’ style (I am sure you can imagine that I need no encouragement) and in additon to DJs and bands there are a number of cabaret performers – magicians, burlesque dancers and so on - drawn from the books of Continental Drifts.
    I have now attended two of these events, at New Year and the inaugural monthly event at the beginning of March. The venue, The Bedroom Bar , is ideally suited – it is a bit of maze, which helps to create the ‘speakeasy’ vibe.  The main room is downstairs, and at first glance it appears that this is the full extent of the place, but in fact recent refurbishments opened up a staircase which gives access to the upper level. Here you will find another dancefloor, plus the ‘chillout room’ or Kasbah Bar, where you can relax on comfy sofas amid Moroccan-style furnishings . The corner of this area has been curtained off to create the bedroom in the name of the bar – this is reserved for private bookings. The higgledy-pigglydy nature of the venue help to create a sense of space too.
    When I attend an electro-swing event I am there to dance, and at the most recent event I found that the main room was too crowded for me. I was desperate to see the performance by Bart and Baker (who have played at events for Dita Von Teese and Marc Jacobs), but I had to vacate fairly quickly as the crush was hindering me. That that I did catch was fantastic - really great beats and a lovely swing, so it was a bit of a shame that it was so crowded. It is to be expected of course, so I certainly don't see it as a negative, it just doesn't suit my more, shall we say, expansive style of dancing.
    Most of my time was spent upstairs, enjoying the tunes that Chris Tofu was playing and making the most of the extra space (there was only one incident, when one of my friends, Madame Catastrophe, had an encounter with a pillar - this may have been partly my fault, though the booze helped). Spending time in this room worked in my favour, as the Hon. Rumple Fuddly has worked at festivals with Mr. Tofu. Thanks to this connection I was introduced to not only Chris, but also to Wayne - the venue owner, and, joy of joys, to Bart and Baker themselves.
    Wayne is a big fan of electro-swing, and there was one thing that he said to me that really sums up the appeal of the genre. He told me “[White Mink] is one of my favourite nights – everyone gets really into it, the people are fantastic. I love the fancy dress, the performers and the atmosphere.”
    Speaking to Bart and Baker was a definite highlight for me. These top-hatted gentlemen are amongst the most important DJs in the genre at the moment – their celebrity connections as mentioned above are influential in spreading the word into the world of media luvvies, thus helping to bring the music to the attention of a wider audience. They were extremely friendly, as can be seen from the position of the Hon R-F in the last picture of this facebook album.
    I am hoping that this could result in an interview feature with Bart and Baker – watch this space!
    The next White Mink event is this weekend, Saturday 7th April, and the line up features Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm, Madame Electrifeie, Don Dapper of Swing Zazou, Nico Bently and The World's Tallest DJ, plus cabaret acts, black and white movie visuals, swing classes and an official photographer. At the time of writing there are still tickets available - I look forward to seeing you there!
    Lots of love,

    Nysa Speakeasy - 1920s nostalgia fused with house

    The start of this blog has coincided quite nicely (not entirely by accident) with my venturing out into the London club scene to sample some of the electro-swing nights that are on offer. Until this month there was just the one offering, the Electro-Swing Club at the Book Club, but now we have at least three monthly events.
    Nysa is the smallest and the newest of these (White Mink’s new London night is the other, which I will review in the next post) and is in many ways the most ambitious. The promoter is Barry Madej, house DJ and electro-swing fan, who decided to try his hand at putting on a night – a brave move considering the size and ubiquity of the other two promoters, and their ability to attract big name acts.
    Rather cleverly, this night doesn’t really attempt to compete with the all-singing, all-dancing immersive experiences offered by White Mink et al., but instead focuses on the music. The venue is in part the cause, as Nysa takes place in a bar with a capacity of about 100.
    Baz maintains an air of mystery – his events are held at a ‘secret location’ in Notting Hill and operate on a strict guestlist only policy and it is only once you have applied to be on the guestlist is you are informed of the address. This helps to create a sense of exclusivity and justifies the ‘Speakeasy’ in the name of the night.
    As the subtitle suggests, the music owes more to house than any other genre. Chatting to Baz at the afterparty, I learnt that he has been DJing on the house scene for many years, so this is perhaps not all that surprising. There were some garage tunes, so for the odd ten minute period we were denied electro-swing, but my friends and I were glad of the respite from dancing. Having said that, the electro-swing sections were very good indeed, with some well-known staples of the genre and one or two tunes that were new to me. Another nice touch was the video projection of original artwork from L.A based artist Anja van Herle.
    Overall, it was fairly clear that many of the attendees had never come across electro-swing before, and that the party I was in was the only one there specifically for the music. When we arrived most of the guests were milling around, chatting and drinking, but pretty soon my chums and I had taken to the floor and the atmosphere changed quickly.
    One member of our party, The Hon. Rumple Fuddly developed quite a following and cleared quite a circle on the floor with his dancing. He was even asked if he had had ‘electro-swing lessons’, which I am pretty sure do not exist.
    A good litmus test for any genre-specific event is what someone new to the music makes of the event. To this end I took along a lady known as Sweetness, who, I am happy to say, fell in love. Sadly she has now moved back to her native South Africa, but hopefully this just means she will start flying the flag for electro-swing south of the Sahara. (Actually, the seeds have been sown)
    The next event from Nysa is on Friday 23rd March. To apply for a guestlist place and to find out the location, click here.

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