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Mr Scruff - Forum (May 23, 2003)


Story: Roland Stanbridge-Miles

I'VE found, when people ask you who you're going to see and you
answer 'Mr Scruff', you tend to get a funny look, followed by the inevitable question: "What's that?"

The expression on their face gets worse as you mumble something about 'jazz, house rhythms,
breakbeats....'

And, true to form, Mr Scruff's DJ set proves to be as hard to describe as his albums, which makes writing this review more of a challenge.

What I can say is that it ranges from an early helping of Latin (good) to some reggae (very good) with a finale of house, which bores me to tears.

Maybe I just don't have as much stamina as the man who can manage a six-hour stint at the decks with only one noticeable fuck up with the mixing, which is greated with ironic applause by the
audience.

I can't remember noticing him leaving the stage for a toilet break - either his visits to the bathroom coincided with mine or, ever the professional, he has had a colostomy bag installed specially for the night.

There's no need - he could have
followed the old indie DJ trick of sticking on 'Paranoid Android', leaving him with enough time not only to visit the gents but also have a quick drink at the bar and maybe even a bit of a dance.

To mine (and many's) delight, he finishes with Bob Marley's sublime Could You Be Loved.

Along the way, of course, he throws in a few of his own songs, including Get A Move On and Fish, which predictably get the best response of the night from an up for it crowd, who enhance the pleasant atmosphere in the Forum.

And, by the end, indeed well before, the dancefloor is packed and euphoric.

Six hours staring at one bloke is a bit much, so for our visual stimulation..... belly dancers!! No, actually, it's just a screen showing looped footage of animation, some lifted from videos and some produced especially for the occasion I believe, but all in the brilliantly simplistic, yet idiosyncratic, style featuring a collection of endearing blob-like characters living in a 2d blob world.

Doesn't sound great but there's something special about it that keeps my eyes glued to the screen.

It's a bit disappointing that there aren't any full length videos played, like when Gorillaz played the same venue on their tour; but, in fairness, it's a very different kind of show (not least in length) and no doubt less well-funded than Albarn's likeable side project.

Maybe a DVD a la Super Furry Animals Rings Around The World or forthcoming Phantom Power would be a good idea, although perhaps limited Ninja Tunes purse strings could prevent that - wishful thinking I guess.....

Overall, good music in a good setting, with a good crowd.

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