30.06.06 – 02.07.06
What struck me immediately was that this year’s Urban Games was nowhere near as packed as it has been for the past few years and it was a strange sight to see hardly anyone milling around. Even from the start when we went to watch some of the skaters practise runs, walking past the BMX and the vert ramp, there weren’t many people watching and it felt as though we’d turned up a few hours too early.
What must be commended though is the music put on, especially on the Friday. Even though the crowd was quite sparse, Sway‘s demeanour always endears him to his audience and because there weren’t as many people as you’d expect, it gave Mr DaSafo the chance to have a chat with people at the front, asking who was going to buy his album and picking out the people who said they were going to illegally download it. He was even so much at ease that he told the crowd he was due to do a song with DJ Yoda but that he hadn’t learnt the words just yet so he was going to have to pass. But throughout his set, the people that were watching were enjoying themselves and the sound was very good for a small stage.
After Sway, the crowd were treated to a brilliant set by the ever innovative DJ Yoda. Not many people can stand there and mix in Johnny Cash with Motown and Crunk but Yoda did it without breaking a sweat, something of a feat considering just how hot and sticky it was in South London over the weekend. Whether he was knocking out the oldies or mixing up new stuff, Yoda always makes you get your hand to your mouth in admiration and sitting in the shade listening to him was a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
The UK b-boys were out in full effect on the Friday and despite the lack of crowd, the energy levels were high, the music was bumping [maybe Wireless can learn a thing or two from here about how to make the music sound loud] and everyone involved seemed to having a load of fun. Whilst Derby’s Trinity won the UK event, big props need to be given out to Flow Mavericks and Ghetto Lowlifes.
The next day was just as hot and a little fuller and though many people’s minds were on the football [which you could gather by the number of people gathered round a tiny TV set] it seemed as though everyone was having a blast. Skate novice though I am, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the vert comp, especially Terence Bougdour who was absolutely killing it during the time I was watching and who I couldn’t believe didn’t win!
The breaking was the highlight of the day again for me though, with the international crews getting involved. From our position sitting right by the stage, we were able to see just how technically sound every single member of each crew was and it was amazing to be as close to the action as we were. The style of every battler was amazing, and I was particularly taken by one member of the Japanese crew in his proper old skool 80s steez including fat pink laces. But it was Denmark’s Natural Effects who took the title and their moves proved that no-one could challenge that decision. Big mention also to Mouse and Blanca for grabbing the 2 on 2 crown, absolutely wicked.
It was a great weekend for the breakdancing, with the UK representing to the fullest, and the music was absolutely banging, which made for a wicked atmosphere, loads of smiles and some definitively ill moves. If the event was as packed for all 3 days as it had been for the past few years, it would have been a phenomenal success. As it was, the lack of people meant that it felt like a little bit of an anti-climax.