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Oliver Keens

Oliver Keens

Oliver Keens is Time Out's former EMEA Music Editor.

Articles (68)

The 50 best drinking songs

The 50 best drinking songs

Alcohol and music go together like Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola. Is there any better shared experience than when the right song hits the jukebox at the peak of the night in a crowded bar, and everyone stops to raise a glass and sing along?  In all honesty, any song can be a drinking song if it plays at the right moment, with the correct level of intoxication. But true drinking songs are something else entirely – they speak to the experience of getting buzzed in a way even teetotalers can understand and appreciate. They also transcend genre: the best drinking songs can be Irish folk tunes, shout-along punk anthems, chest-rattling hip hop party jams or sombre reflections about the morning after. And, of course, not all of them actually celebrate drunkenness – think ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ by Kendrick Lamar. But for our purposes here, we’re mostly ignoring the songs about the dark side of booze, and focusing on those that recognise that making bad decisions is an important part of life. Written by Michael Chen, Brent DiCrescenzo, Sophie Harris, Oliver Keens, Andy Kryza, Hank Shteamer, Kate Wertheimer, Zach Long and Matthew Singer. RECOMMENDED:🎉 The best party songs🎤 The best karaoke songs🕺 The best pop songs of all time😃 The best happy songs🍆 The best sexy songs

The best European festivals in 2022

The best European festivals in 2022

Are we going to get a normal festival season this year? Okay, the very concept of a ‘normal’ festival is somewhat self-defeating, such is the insanity that usually unfolds at these events, but we would quite like a year where booking tickets isn’t buttressed by fears of cancellations. With that in mind, it is time to get excited about the best European festivals in 2022.The European festival circuit is legendary, and for good reason. The length, breadth, width and depth of the continent offers a something for everyone vibe, with sizzling boat parties in Croatia taking place as British rock festivals kick into gear. The options are properly overwhelming, in the best possible way. The help you out, we have shortlisted the best of the best when it comes to summer festivals in Europe, one country at a time. RECOMMENDED: The best UK music festivals

The 60 best Christmas songs of all time

The 60 best Christmas songs of all time

The mere thought of Christmas can get your senses abuzz, and we’re not just talking about the Christmas songs in this list. It’s the taste of gingerbread. The sight of your favourite holiday film. The cold winter wind. The grating sound of a choir of tone-dead toddlers slogging through an off-key version of ‘Jingle Bells’ for the 74th time. When most of us think of Christmas songs, we think of the worst ones. But in actuality, pop music has gifted the world with its fair share of perennial bangers. You usually have to skip past The Beach Boys and Biebers to get there, but holiday cheer has found its way into pop, hip-hop, R&B, metal, punk, indie… you name it. And as a gift for you, we’ve assembled 60 Christmas songs so incredibly catchy, you just might want to listen all year round. Good luck finding the nog in August though. RECOMMENDED:🎉  The best party songs🎤  The best karaoke songs🕺  The best pop songs of all time🎸  The best classic rock songs😊  The best happy songs

The 20 best jungle tracks ever

The 20 best jungle tracks ever

We got our Stussy tees on and rewound to the most innovative UK music scene of the early ’90s: jungle. Recommended: The best songs ever

The 20 best friendship movies

The 20 best friendship movies

Want to celebrate your bestie? When it comes to relationships, it’s usually romantic films that grab the spotlight, but there’s something special about movies that celebrate mates. From true-­to-­life coming-­of-­age tales to workplace dramas, friendship is portrayed in many different ways on screen. Read on for our absolute favourite friendship movies.

The 11 best James Bond theme songs

The 11 best James Bond theme songs

There are many constants in a James Bond adventure: high-tech gadgetry, slick cars, craft cocktails and a rampant disregard for safe-sex practices among them. But a booming theme song is absolutely clutch. Yet the history of Bond songs contains more misses than hits. The best build upon the foundation of John Barry’s iconic score and deliver the kind of bravado that pairs perfectly with silhouettes of semi-nude women and dapper assassins. The worst sound like Madonna having a midlife crisis at an EDM fest.   With Billie Eilish on song duty for No Time to Die, we dived headlong into the history of Bond themes, revisiting  the highs (damn, Shirley Bassey!) and the lows (Tina Turner, how could you?) to separate the zeros from the Double 0s. Here are the 11 best from across the decades.

The 24 best weed songs ever

The 24 best weed songs ever

Weed, pot, herb, bud, dope, skunk, hash, ganja, marijuana, indo, cheeba, chronic, dank, spliff… it's been celebrated for hundreds of years, under hundreds of names. No wonder hundreds of musicians have written songs in its illicit honour too. From reefer-puffing jazz pianists through red-eyed rockers and ripped rappers, right up to the bong-toking skate-punks of the 2010s, weed's been the catalsyt for all sorts of great music. We're not advocating drug use, obviously, but if you are getting blazed on 4/20 (a day traditionally associated with getting mellow) here's your ideal soundtrack. Did we miss out your favourite? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

The 100 best songs of 2015

The 100 best songs of 2015

We’re about to leave 2015 behind, but before we hurtle into New Year’s resolutions it’s time to cast a look back at the soundtrack of the last 12 months. From pop bangers and house floor-fillers to indie, folk, grime and R&B, here are the 100 best songs of 2015. Scroll through our picks – ranked from 100 right down to Number One – or listen to the whole playlist below. And when you’re done, don’t miss our round-up of the 25 best albums of 2015 for more new audio gold. It’s time to give those stale old playlists a spring clean ready for 2016. RECOMMENDED: The best songs ever Contributors: Jonathan Cook, Hayley Joyes, Mark O'Donnell, Ashleigh Arnott, Matilda Egere-Cooper, Tristan Parker, James Manning and Oliver Keens.

50 best nights out in London

50 best nights out in London

We've spent enough time inside over the last 18 months – it's time to re-immerse ourselves in all the things London has to offer. From clubbing to craftivism, and kayaking to karaoke, the city’s after-dark activities are more diverse than our pandemic routine of Zoom quizzes and Netflix binges. Whether you want to try something new or reacquaint yourself with an old favourite event, these 50 best nights out in London offer something for everyone.  RECOMMENDED: The best festivals in London

Valentine’s Day parties in London

Valentine’s Day parties in London

Valentine’s Day 2020 is going to be extra special. Why? Because it falls on a Friday, meaning extra scope for celebrating on the actual night – as well as the night after. Here are the parties that London has to offer this Valentines, with plenty to do for loved-up couples, embittered singles and anyone looking to segue messily from the latter to the former. Have fun out there, and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do! RECOMMENDED: More Valentine's Day ideas 

The best boutique festivals

The best boutique festivals

Not all great UK music festivals are Glastonbury-esque monsters. Some of the most enjoyable summer festivals out there are little boutique affairs with a low capacity and a cosy, friendly atmosphere. Save your feet (and your budget) by booking this summer for one of these brilliant small music festivals. RECOMMENDED: Your guide to this year's best music festivals

The best family festivals

The best family festivals

Children and music festivals don't always mix, but some UK music festivals are perfect for a family weekend away. Many events these days offer special family camping zones and reduced entry for little ’uns. Here's our pick of the best family-friendly events this season, with a laid-back atmosphere, and activities for kids of all ages taking place alongside the music. RECOMMENDED: Your guide to this year's best music festivals

Listings and reviews (6)

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

4 out of 5 stars

A diferencia del documental 'Amy', que tenía forma de elegía, no había ninguna razón aparente para hacer una película como esta sobre la rapera y productora M.I.A. Ninguna, salvo reconocer su importancia como activista. La historia se nos cuenta con vídeos caseros grabados desde que era una adolescente, que nos hablan de primera mano de su experiencia como refugiada de Sri Lanka, primero, y luego como inmigrante en Inglaterra. Encontramos momentos fascinantes, como el interrogatorio al padre que vuelve a casa después de una larga ausencia en la que ha estado luchando con la resistencia tamil. También momentos tensos, como la actuación en la Super Bowl del 2012, cuando plantó cara a América haciéndole la peineta. Es una manera de hacer justicia. Las generaciones futuras deberían estarle muy agradecidas.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

4 out of 5 stars

Unlike, say, ‘Amy’ (Asif Kapadia’s doc on fellow noughties icon Amy Winehouse), there’s no obvious reason why this film about rapper, producer and activist M.I.A. exists yet. Her last album was only two years ago and she still performs: so why make it? The bulk of this walk through her life – from Sri Lankan refugee to London motherhood – comprises homemade tapes taken since her teens. As befits a former film student, there’s absolutely loads of material. The result is stuffed with fascinating moments: interrogating her long-lost father, the day he came home from fighting as a Tamil resistance leader, and doing shots in her teenage bedroom (decked out in Wu-Tang posters) stand out. And then there are the tense hours after she flipped her middle-finger at middle America at the 2012 Super Bowl. But the real joy of this film, and why I think it exists, is in knowing how much future generations will benefit from M.I.A.’s story. Unlike Winehouse, whose influence has maybe plateaued, there’s a sense that M.I.A.’s status as a pioneering, outspoken, determined brown woman is yet to be fully celebrated in British culture. When that time comes, which surely it will, this doc will be there, waiting to influence and inspire in equal measure.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

4 out of 5 stars

A diferència del documental 'Amy', que tenia forma d’elegia, no hi havia cap raó aparent per fer una pel·lícula com aquesta sobre la rapera i productora M.I.A. Cap, excepte reconèixer la seva importància com a activista. La història se’ns explica amb vídeos casolans gravats des que era una adolescent, que ens parlen de primera mà de la seva experiència com a refugiada de Sri Lanka, primer, i després com a immigrant a Anglaterra. Hi trobem moments fascinants, com l'interrogatori al pare que torna a casa després d’una llarga absència en què ha estat lluitant amb la resistència tàmil. També moments tensos, com l’actuació a la Super Bowl del 2012, quan va plantar cara a Amèrica ensenyant-li el dit del mig. És una manera de fer justícia. Les generacions futures li hauran d’estar molt agraïdes.

Floating Points

Floating Points

Floating Points is the name that Manchester-born Sam Shepherd uses when he’s not pursuing his other professional interest – neuroscience. The PHD-holding DJ, who held down a residency at quasi-spiritual London club Plastic People until its sad closure in January 2015, had already released a stack of floor-focused 12-inches. But his debut album ‘Elaenia’ took the freewheeling Floating Points vibe to the next level, weaving together live cellos, voyaging synths, Rhodes piano and post-rock arrangements into a seven-track treat aimed at the head, not the hips.

Sager + Wilde Hackney Rd

Sager + Wilde Hackney Rd

4 out of 5 stars

Once upon a time, a slightly, let’s say, ‘exclusive’ pub sat at 193 Hackney Road, complete with ragged St George's cross bunting and frosted glass to keep prying eyes out. Nowadays, on the same site sits Sager & Wilde – a sleek wine bar with thick blinds which also work to keep prying eyes out. Though its two owners began by running a pop-up, the choice metropolitan design here – it’s laid out more like a Parisian corner bar than a traditional boozer – denotes that this is a permanent enterprise with intent. Behind the long iron-grate bar sits Sagar & Wilde's main selling point – its wines – served at a reasonable price by the bottle or glass, and varying day to day. The food menu boasts a shifting set of small plates, some of which have a slightly high regard for themselves, but if you struggle with the menu, just get the grilled cheese sandwich – it is uncomplicated and completely delicious.

King's Arms

King's Arms

5 out of 5 stars

Despite looking like just another old-school footie pub from the outside, the King's Arms in Bethnal Green – located on a quiet residential street – confounds a barrelload of expectations. Dimly lit like a Brooklyn dive bar, boasting a rotating selection of craft beers and with chic wooden trimmings, it should by rights scream 'hipster haven'. Yet this isn't a pretentious hangout. It's the perfect update of a local community boozer: its clientele reflect all shades of local life, regardless of whether they follow the King's Arms on Instagram or not. It’s all about craft beer here - plenty of it on tap, from new-wave IPAs to comforting bitters and jet-black stouts.

News (117)

Meet the new wave of London sex parties and events

Meet the new wave of London sex parties and events

In any city, discovering likeminded people who enjoy expressing their sexuality differently is, to put it mildly, a challenge. It will always be thus, sadly, but some people are working hard right now to encourage others to try something new. Blame Londoners hanging out in Berlin, bloody ‘Fifty Shades’, or just old-fashioned, lip-biting curiosity, but there’s been a palpable explosion lately in interest in kink, fetish, non-monogamy and parties that are proudly inclusive of all genders and profoundly sex-positive. Decoding it all without a sexual sherpa is sometimes daunting, so we spoke to the people behind three of London’s newer and cooler parties and meet-ups to learn the ins and outs…  Alex aka Kiwi, who runs Crossbreed Tell us about Crossbreed?‘Crossbreed is a collaborative, a kink-positive record label and a rave.’ What will happen on the night?‘We have three rooms. One is a dancefloor – I’ll be DJing with Mr Ties all night. One is a wellness sanctuary – an escape from the noise to decompress and have a cup of tea should you need it. And one is a furnished playroom.’ What’s a furnished playroom? ‘On the scene, people would refer to it as a “dungeon” or a “darkroom”, but I’m trying to move past some of these words. The word “dungeon” doesn’t sound that appealing and plays off some old-school fetish stereotypes where everything is a bit medieval. Also, darkrooms haven’t always historically been the safest of spaces. It’s a room separate from the main club, with fetish

The best live concerts to watch on YouTube

The best live concerts to watch on YouTube

The incredible, all-consuming power of watching a brilliant gig may be a pleasure that we’ll have to wait a few months to enjoy again. But to keep the fire burning for live music, here are just a few of our Music editor’s favourite full-length concerts that you can watch on YouTube. Tell us your personal favourites in the comments.   Prince working his tight buns off in 1985.  Don’t make us pick a favourite Prince concert on YouTube. Is it this, or this, or even this? Well, okay, if we definitely have to pick one, it’s ‘Prince and the Revolution: Live’, just for the sheer cheek of marrying high-energy rock and endless supplies of ruffled clothing.  Blur reaching the summit of Mount Indie in 1994.  It’s easy to forget how utterly random really, really good indie used to be. Within the first four minutes of this triumphant Blur show from Ally Pally in 1994, you’ll see a massive mosh to a pastiche of lift music and a country-and-western pedal-steel guitar sounding like a squealing pig. It’s an absolute triumph, all ’90s novelty aside.   Pink Floyd playing topless in a Roman amphitheatre. I’ve converted so many Pink Floyd sceptics over the years with clips from ‘Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii’. It’s the band, filmed in exquisite intensity, playing a giant empty amphitheatre in Pompeii in 1972. You have to have a heart of stone not to dig the stoner-friendly, intricate downtempo splendour of the

All Points East festival has been cancelled

All Points East festival has been cancelled

Another major blow has been dealt to the 2020 festival summer this morning, as Victoria Park-based six-dayer All Points East has announced it is cancelling. Headliners including Tame Impala, Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Kooks were due to play the late-May festival. In a statement, the organisers state that the Covid-19 outbreak will ’Make the implementation and staging of the event this year impossible (both in terms of the government restrictions that have been implemented, as well as the many logistical and operational barriers to planning and staging a safe event of this nature)’. Ticket purchasers will be emailed soon with details about refunds.  Many had been looking to see which way All Points East would go regarding cancellation. As one of the first festivals of the season, it was faced with a real challenge to stay on course despite the spread of Covid-19. However, it’s worth noting that a great number of London and UK festivals are currently holding tight and – at least publicly – not announcing any cancellations just yet.  Fingers crossed for all the hard-working festival teams out there. We love you. We’ll have more updates about the rest of the festival scene as we get them. Meanwhile, let’s put a record on, eh? 

Kinky Londoners can order a self-isolation pack of nudes, lube and sex toys

Kinky Londoners can order a self-isolation pack of nudes, lube and sex toys

Amidst this incredibly serious pandemic and very necessary lockdown, some of us stuck at home might have needs that can’t completely be satisfied by Netflix or Deliveroo. If you weren’t able to suddenly co-habit with a lover before the shutdown occurred, a phenomenon that occurred this week after government advice forced many fledgling couples to make quick cohabiting decisions, there’s every chance you might be going a bit stir crazy. But fret not: London kink-positive club night, Crossbreed (link NSFW, except of course WFH defeats NSFW) has assembled a survival pack for London’s most furtive self-isolators. For £40, you could be the lucky recipient of the Crossbreed Home Isolation Pleasure Pack. Featuring sexy items from brands such as The Underargument, Self & More, Sh!, Feeld, Lelo, Adult Store and Hanx, each pack will include: Lingerie Homemade 420 lube An impact toy A surprise sex toy Restraints A signed polaroid nude Surgical gloves  Condoms  …and earplugs for your housemates. Genius.  A pretty comprehensive list, we think you’ll agree. We featured Crossbreed back in September last year, in our piece about London’s new wave of sex parties and events. It’s their team of armband-wearing playroom assistants who have volunteered the nudes btw, and speaking of donating, a number of the 100 packs available will be gifted to NHS staff too. As with all events organisers, club promoters and DJs at the moment, the industry is having to be very, very imaginative and enterprising

Listen to our playlist of songs about boredom

Listen to our playlist of songs about boredom

Close your eyes and try to remember a time when we used to say things like ‘Jesus, I’m SO bored’ and would then be free to: a) leave the house, b) see a buddy, c) go to a crap pub with that buddy, d) go to a truly terrible house party after the pub with that buddy, e) go to seven more terrible house parties after that… Anyway, that’s enough remembering the good old days. For obvious reasons, there’s been a surge of interest in all things relating to boredom lately. Dealing with boredom is an age-old problem, dating back to when Adam and Eve’s stingy mate changed the shared Netflix password. But if you don’t have access to the existentialist canon of Sartre, Camus and Kafka to help you navigate the alarmingly calm waters of boredom, you could do a lot worse than see how singers and songwriters have written about the state of apathetic meh over the years.  In this playlist, you will hear the plaintive balladry of Father John Misty, kaleidoscopic ’60s pop from Dusty Springfield, narcotically inspired interpretations by Orbital and also a barrage of perfect punk too. Enjoy!  ...and after that, why not take a moment, with our favourite relaxations songs? 

No song encapsulates this last week like ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by Johnny Cash

No song encapsulates this last week like ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by Johnny Cash

It’s been seven days now since Time Out, like so much of London, began to go into isolation. And amidst the tumult, the blistering sadness and the staggering WTF-ness of this past week, one song won’t stop echoing in my head. It’s Johnny Cash’s version of ‘We’ll Meet Again’, which he recorded in 2002 as the last track on his ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’ album. The song is, of course, best known as a stirring anthem from World War II. Penned in 1939, it was at once triumphant (subtext: we definitely, absolutely, totally will meet again, okay!). Yet it is also impossibly vulnerable, too – evoking the painful foreboding of soldiers leaving Blighty to fight overseas. People leaving a comfortable life for an uncertain future. People getting used to the idea of seeing their loved ones... soon... don’t know where, don’t know when. Vera Lynn is miraculously still alive, as it goes. It’s actually her birthday today and I’m sure that as a 103-year-old, she must be delighted that the world is quite so messed up, AGAIN.  Stating the obvious, though, but Johnny Cash was not Vera Lynn.  Johnny Cash led many lives, including being a drunk, a drug addict and a hard-partying wildcat dressed entirely in black. He was a big gruff American dude, and that's why his version works so well in modern times. It strips all the WWII jingoism and all that 'Blitz spirit' guff right out of it. What you're left with is a man who’s clearly lived a life, who’s clearly our kinda guy, singing an impossib

Junction 2: Nina Kraviz, Four Tet and Romy xx complete the 2020 line-up

Junction 2: Nina Kraviz, Four Tet and Romy xx complete the 2020 line-up

Having replicated itself succesfully, expanding from a one-day to a two-day festival, London bop-a-thon Junction 2 has today dropped its full line-up for 2020, and it’s looking more lit than a Diptyque factory.  Set in Hounslow’s Boston Manor Park, and laid out over a site that takes in woodland clearings, ponds and the signature presence of the M4 motorway running above The Main Stage, Junction 2 has become a firm favourite of dance music fans wanting to bathe in a big tub of underground house and techno music faves across six stages.  Friday sees techno dream-maker Jon Hopkins playing live and last on The Main Stage, but head down earlier in the day for a rare set from The xx’s Romy and breakout house superstar Ceri. Nina Kraviz will be owning The Bridge stage, with a raft of fellas up beforehand – Four Tet, Midland and Leon Vynehall. Meanwhile, weekend resident Avalon Emerson plays among the greenery of The Woods stage, where Eris Drew will be going back-to-back with partner Octo Octa. The day after goes hard, not home, with highlights including Blawan in The Warehouse, Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann playing an extended Main Stage set, plus Amelie Lens, Adam Beyer, Dixon and another exciting back-to-back: Seth Troxler and Margaret Dygas. We’re counting down the days!  Junction 2 is at Boston Manor Park on Jun 5-6. Wanna get out of London this festival season? Then check out the best UK fessies here. And here's an earthquaking example of Eris and Octo Octa's back-to-back pow

This sweet music venue just opened in King's Cross

This sweet music venue just opened in King's Cross

We all know it’s a difficult time for live music venues and clubs. But we at Time Out also know just how many great places keep on opening in the city too. We’re not complacent: too many voids are opening up. But at the same time, we like to celebrate when the doom-and-gloom narrative goes the other way Lafayette is a new, two-floored, 600-capacity music and nightlife venue in King’s Cross. It’s located within a project called Goods Way, named after the road it sits on which carves up the new developments in the area that house Granary Square, Spiritland, Google’s HQ and that iconic Waitrose that for some reason has live jazz bands playing in it. The venue is run by Ben Lovett, boss of the Communion label and owner of Omeara near Borough Market. He’s also one-quarter of Mumford & Sons, but today, as he shows me round in pink hard hat and pink hi-vis, he’s totally in offstage work mode.   As you walk through the modest door into Goods Way, we land in The Courtyard, which initially reminds me of Omeara but goes harder on New Orleans and Louisiana-inspired design tropes and is covered by a ceiling of falling greenery. It’s primarily a street food space, with Temple of Seitan, Breddos Tacos, Duck Truck, Pomelo (a new venture from Lupins) and New York sushi makers Sushi on Jones all on-site and serving up the tasties. But there’ll also be a small performance space for live music or DJs on the balcony looking over the yard. To the left of The Courtyard are two entrances. One is fo

Why you should probably ditch those mates who keep letting you down

Why you should probably ditch those mates who keep letting you down

What should you do when a good friendship goes bad? Oliver Keens has the been there before and has some thoughts and reflections...  As a student, I first realised that quality trumps quantity after I developed scurvy from only shopping at Poundland. But it wasn’t until I was 27 that I realised a friendship should be like a nutritious Waitrose salad and not a multi-pack of Frazzles. Being super young and super sociable in London means it’s possible to accumulate friends as quickly as you can say ‘sesh gremlin’ . But my god, you pick up some wrong ‘uns along the way. Now I’m not a great exalted member of society, like a rabbi or Anthea Turner. But there’s one bit of advice that I’ve been sharing lately to friends in their twenties: soon, those dickheads you accumulate, those annoying friends-of-friends who always seem to be around will definitely disappear. It’s great news, really. For me, it happened quite naturally at first. I hated having to spend Saturdays watching rugby in pubs so, vooosh, out went the poshos. I hated being talked over at dinner parties so, voooosh, out went the lawyers. I hated ketamin so out went the Bristolians (that’s a joke obviously, I love ketamin). What I don't tell them is that it gets way harder, post-30. At the extreme end of defriending, I developed a moral code that sat at odds with the casual racism and sexism of my old school friends. Where they saw banter, I saw bigotry. There’s only so many times your non-English mum can be the butt of so

RIP Andrew Weatherall – a genuine Time Out legend

RIP Andrew Weatherall – a genuine Time Out legend

Time Out turned 51 last year. I’ve worked here about ten of those years now. After a while, you get used to certain names flowing in and out of the magazine, like a neighbour’s cat cruising charmingly through your garden. They’re in listings, they’re feverishly name checked in interviews, they’re used as sonic references, they’re held up as masters of their craft. This was the case with Andrew Weatherall, who died this week. It was impossible to keep him out of Time Out. Since he passed away on Monday at Whipps Cross Hospital, many have joyously shared his studio work online and drawn comfort from a body of recorded music that will thankfully last forever: pivotal work with Primal Scream that brought Balearica to Bradford and the rest of the UK, releases as part of Two Lone Swordsmen, The Sabres Of Paradise and The Asphodells, a weight of remixes on his labels Boy’s Own Recordings and Rotters Golf Club. But a strange thing happens when a great DJ dies. That side of their genius really does all go in an instant, just like that. That magic power to make a room fizzle with excitement, that shamanic ability to bewitch grown humans with nothing but sounds. Gone. His last London date was on New Year’s Eve, a five-hour set at Hackney Wick’s Mick’s Garage. It’s a lovely venue, but decidedly modest for a man of his immense standing: a founding father of the acid house movement and pretty much every indie fan’s favourite DJ, ever. But that was his thing. He very clearly eschewed the li

New festival Waterworks is coming to Leyton and it looks excellent

New festival Waterworks is coming to Leyton and it looks excellent

Exciting one-day festival alert! You might wonder what’s with the picture of an empty field? Well, it’s the site of a bold new festival from the people behind Percolate and Love International that’s coming to Leyton in August. It’s called Waterworks and, apart from having the cream of dance music like Andrew Weatherall, Ben UFO, Sherelle and more playing, it looks like a really interesting development in the city’s festival scene.  The field in question is set around an enclosed and secluded nature spot next to Lee Valley Waterworks, which makes this a brand new site for a London festival (also big up Leyton, which hasn’t played host to many festivals to date). Rather than the traditional ‘main stage’ hierarchy that governs most festivals, Waterworks will run differently. Five equally sized stages, with a capacity of around 2,000 each, will host a wide variety of DJs – all representing the best of the incredibly fertile UK dance scene right now, with a few honorary Brit guests such as delirious ravemaker Eris Drew. There’s also talk of a much-needed upending of the order so that upcoming talent gets to play at peak times, which, again, we’re really really into.  The first names announced really do represent the best of the UK across house, disco, techno, grime, bass and more: Pearson Sound, Objekt, Saoirse, Craig Richards, Novelist, Call Super and Shanti Celeste are just a handful, with more due. It looks like being hugely thrilling stuff – stay tuned for more announcements

Femi from Ezra Collective on why jazz could cheer London up

Femi from Ezra Collective on why jazz could cheer London up

Andy Parsons In need of some sunny inspiration during chilly months? Femi from London jazz group Ezra Collective reveals the things that make him giddy with joy.  ‘I’ve always loved drumming. And I’m mad attracted to music that puts me in a happy place.’ ‘I started early. Apparently when I was three, my parents would give me a pot and two wooden spoons. Then I studied jazz at uni. It was quite a judgemental place. There are elements of ‘Whiplash’ which aren’t that fake.’ ‘But I had a coping strategy. I’d switch on an Usher track, play along, close my eyes and pretend I was at Wembley.’ ‘I enjoy the process of practising. It becomes quite meditative and is fun as hell. You wanna always keep the tools sharp.’ ‘People think we can’t see faces when we’re on stage. We totally can. You can always see the people who are vibing. I have full-blown conversations with [Femi’s brother and Ezra bassist] TJ on stage. It will look like we’re talking about something technical but he’ll be like ‘Bro, do you remember Darren from school? He’s in the front row, fam!’ ‘That crowd roar at the end of a drum solo is beautiful, when the band crashes back in. You can be in your own musical world when you’re soloing. But you know they’re there with you.’ ‘Church is my happy place. I’m on drums there this Sunday. The Twelve Pins pub in Finsbury Park makes me happy too. You know that point where you can go into a pub on your own and someone will say ‘All right Femi’? I’m almost there with it.’ Ezr