Mike Relm / One Self
When DJ Vadim and Yarah Bravo took to the stage, with the aptly named Bongo Pete, the Jazz Café wasn’t even half full. This was a shame because, despite the lack of Blu Rum 13, the opening act were really very good. Vadim has always been able to bring out a multitude of different beats and tonight was no different, going from soulful smoothness to big band bounce.
Yarah’s voice sounded superb over the beats and live percussion, and this was never more apparent then on the renditions of Be Your Own and second single Bluebird. She can rap, she can sing and she’s good with the crowd, you really can’t ask for anymore in a front woman, and she was enjoying every minute of it, bouncing around with a beaming smile on her face, responding to the growing crowd. The addition of the live drums really gave an extra edge to the tracks and brought the songs alive, especially during his solo, when he used every instrument he had lined up by his side, to construct a chorus of head nodding noise.
All the right things were said in between songs too, the props for Latryx [Lyrics Born and Lateef] and the vehement opposing of the booty-led rap videos and when new tracks were debuted, it capped off the perfect end to an opening set that could easily have been the main event.
Up next was the show stealer, Mike Relm. I’d seen the diminutive DJ supporting another Quannam group, Lifesavas, 2 years ago and he took my breath away. But if he was good then, he was absolutely incredible now. Setting himself up with a video screen to the side of the stage and numerous turntables, he started the party off with various mash ups, which brought the noise levels increasingly higher.
After the crowd pleasing use of White Stripes track, he showcased his enormous talent for multi-tasking during his live sets. He started to play Bjork’s No Sensuality, along with the video, which played out on the screen to his right. Over the top of this he mixed in Run DMC which got the old skool fans rushing to pay more attention to the man in the suit and tie. He moved over to his smaller turntable and proceeded to scratch wildly which, it turned out, was linked to the video, so everytime he scratched a track, the video scratched with it. When the song skipped backwards, so did Bjork, walking backwards instead of forwards.
This continued throughout the set, the best example of which was his use of a Fight Club segment. As Edward Norton threw a punch at Pitt, a snare went off as it connected. Relm played on this and started scratching slowly, ensuring Norton’s punches floating through the air before the snare snap, but as Relm got increasingly fast, the punches turned into a flurry and by the end, the DJ’s hands were going as fast as I’ve ever seen, leaving Norton’s fist nothing but a blur. Needless to say the crowd went ape shit over it, and rightly so.
The bespectacled turntablist used all sorts in his set including Rage Against The Machine, Led Zep and even had a small intermission whilst he caught his breath and let a Family Guy voiceover keep the crowd interested as he got some water. When he threw on the twist competition video of Pulp Fiction and stuck Blondie over the top of it, following up with numerous 80s classics, the crowd were at fever point. He finished off, as he always does, with a hip hop beat-led version of John Lennon’s Imagine, and had the words up on the screen as a pre-recorded Relm had written the lyrics on a note pad. The lighters were in the air, the mobile phones were in the air, the hands were in the air… Relm had taken over, the star of the show.
Much the crowd’s delight, it turned out that Mike Relm was on the decks for Lyrics Born’s set too, and as LB came bounding down the stairs, hand raised in the air asking for noise, Relm dropped the first beat and the headline set was underway.
It was a pretty entertaining set, especially when the crowd pleasing Do That There was wheeled out from the back catalogue and it was during this song that the crowd got most hyped, singing along with the chorus and punching the air in time to the beat, copying the MC they were facing. My personal favourite track, Bad Dreams, was also on the set list and the bouncing bass of that song certainly made a big impact, going by the smiles on the faces of everyone around me.
LB then got to telling us that whenever you turn on the TV or look in the news, you see bad things, but that the world isn’t based on hate, its based on love and we should all remember that. On that note, he dropped Stop Complaining and the message was driven home in his own inimitable style. The other stand out track in his set was Changed My Mind, another song that everyone in the audience was happy to sing along to without prompting.
Overall, this was a great concert. The two support acts were, in my view, stronger than the headliner, who wasn’t helped by the female singer on stage with him, who tended to drown out the beat a little too often, but regardless a lot of fun was had by all.