Posted by: pascoesabido | June 28, 2008

ChockABlock@Egg

ChockABlock – GrimeVSRave@Egg 20-06-08

[Data Transmission] http://www.datatransmission.co.uk/features124.aspx

January 2008 dealt a heavy blow to the Kings Cross clubbing scene’s unmentionables: the loveably-scummy corner of North London, once home to the Cross-Keys-Canvas complex, had to stand back and weep as Goods Yard was trampled by bulldozers. However, further up York Way, Egg is hoping to keep the metaphorical torch alight slightly more successfully than the Olympic misfits – even without its partners in crime.

Although more notorious as an after-hours venue, thanks to its legendary Sunday morning al fresco Breakfast at Egg sessions, the quirky yet stylish club is broadening its horizons and spawning nights like the monthly ChockABlock, aimed at a “younger East London based crowd”. The experimental cross-genre party – Grime VS Rave (techno on this occasion) – couldn’t quite find the balance, but the concept’s a good’un.

John Humphrey – the man responsible for Magic Circle, another of Egg’s Friday offerings – has now taken full control of the night and is relishing the prospect of a free rein for next month: “I have a few changes up my sleeve, so watch this space!” The plan is to open up all three rooms – only two were available last time –and really push the eclectic agenda, offering a bigger stage for those underground acts “just bubbling under the surface”. Along side more established names like Ellen Alien and Miss Kitten, artists such as Radioclit, Edu K, and Riva Starr have also played the Egg in the past year, epitomising what Humphrey is trying to nurture.

Despite the chaos surrounding performance times, I manage to catch a set from Man Make Music boys Noel Mas and Fitzgerald. Their technofied, synthed-up ‘80s chords bring life to the upstairs room while their deep thudding beats threaten to bring down the sound system. Regardless, the crowd – not your traditional techies – still love it, and along with fellow DJ Another Amit, Man Make Music deserve the credit they are currently receiving as the boys take applause from all corners. A twist on the typical is always necessary as electronica evolves, and each member of the MMM ensemble certainly holds their own. Husley & Gunz also impress upstairs, providing the perfect remedy for those not at home in the Grime room.

The attitude and energy that accompanies the more underground of grime nights is elsewhere tonight, and although I had to admit to being pleased – getting to leave my full-body Kevlar suit at home – it’s to the detriment of the atmosphere. I’m definitely not up for a gun/knife/plastic-fork fight – and neither are security going by the airport-style metal detector that greets guests at the door – but the magic of grime is in its rowdy rawness. Downstairs lacks it somewhat as people concern themselves with looking cool instead of letting go. My gallant efforts are met with derisory looks of ‘oh no he didn’t!’ from the packs of silent strangers lurking along the walls, themselves having already made the decision that dancing is no longer where it’s at. My sympathy is with the DJ, who is trying but failing to motivate the masses. However, I do leave the grime room somewhat the wiser: I now know that traditional bling is yesterday’s news, and Lego Marios on gold chains are where the cool kids are at – unfortunately Lego Luigi may be as far as my pocket money stretches.

Despite the two clashing genres, the mythical “melting pot” occurs most tangibly in the garden, where grimers and tech-heads alike congregate in the warm cosy spaces of the spacious outdoor area. Cheap drinks flow from the garden’s very own all-night bar, and you feel that if the mix was right, the Egg could pull off a rather special night. I’m with John Humphrey on this one, something didn’t mix: although he wants to keep the grime and scrap the minimal tech for something more accessible – remaining true to the Grime Vs Rave tagline and also keeping a younger crowd – I gotta disagree. To make grime work, you need the griminess. Ease it up in favour of some dubbed-up fun (be it dubstep, jungle/rave, or just good old fashioned dub), keep the tech-house – but not too minimal, and open up the third room to some dirty electro-breaks or fidget house, with some indie-electro performances to kick it off. Indeed this a recipe that the Egg’s usual Friday nighter Always Frydaze follows and pulls of quite successfully – but then again I guess the idea with this night is a slightly different musical remit. The garden looks after itself, although flying in Jose Padilla couldn’t hurt – or even a cheeky bit of Audiofly?

For those with a taste for Grime but not too keen on the gun-totting, who want something other than Kellogg’s Cornflakes from their variety pack, then ChockABlock at the Egg gives you that and then some. For those slightly fussier, more “refined” music aficionados, you wouldn’t go even if I told you to. Bloody snobs.

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