The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Whew! How busy have we been?!
It?s a bit delayed this gig report - let?s call it, An Overview of the Past Few Months.
The ugly: London, Birmingham, the newspapers, the world. Has it always been this horrible?
The bad: Having to officially launch a night you?ve worked 6 months on the day after the first bombs in London.
The good: There?s been plenty of good and we?ll get to that in a bit...
Channel Zero @ Cargo on 8 July 05
Well, we were getting pretty excited in the couple of weeks leading up to Friday, 8 July. We were almost at the finishing line although it had not been without a good deal of stress and headaches which I was pretty much done with. The line-up was a bunch of excellent VJs; me/VJ_0, Locomotif, VJ Kitten, Beatmap, loulou&lolita and me (VJ_0), AV extraordinaires; VJamm Allstars and Eclectic Method and music makers; DJ Frankie Gee (TUKAI), splendid vocalist, Lady Free (DRUMCLUB), and the fantastic electronic group, Infusion.
I am Infusion?s biggest fan.
I was going to VJ with Infusion.
Then I wasn?t, then I was, then I wasn?t. I didn?t really need this indecision a week before the big night. I had carefully worked out a set to match their latest album, which I played endlessly. And then I was informed that they were bringing their own VJ. This would have been fine had I a) been told much earlier b) not been responsible for promoting the entire night (who was this other VJ?) c) not finalised a line-up. Now I felt not only like a mug but completely pissed, as I now had no slot for myself - in my own night!
To cut a long story short, I was finally back on VJ-ing with the Aussie outfit.
I had ordered a screen, I had thought about every possible outcome, detail, problem, issue, encounter, I had talked about every possible outcome, detail, problem, issue, encounter, I had enthused about every possible outcome, detail, problem, issue, encounter. I?d worn myself out with nerves and excitement and also everyone I knew. (Bless ?em.)
We had a videographer and photographer lined up. I had heavily promoted the night through friends and sources alike. I had press coming, as well as some very fine VJ contemporaries. (I think this probably freaked me out more than anything. ?What if they see my stuff and think it?s shit??)
But soon enough, there was no more time to worry ? only time to buy new shoes and run through our material.
We couldn?t wait!
On Wednesday, London won the Olympic bid. It was fantastic. What an incredible week this was turning out to be. On Thursday at 9am when I went to get on the tube to work I couldn?t as the entire network had been shut down. What ensued was a pretty terrifying and then ultimately sombre day. I never got into work. After some hours when I finally reached home again, a cup of tea, then some beers and a million phone calls I had to start thinking about our gig the following night.
I was in email/text contact with my bookings manager @ Cargo. He said we might have to cancel. I thought we might have to cancel. Then a million phone calls of a different kind ensued. Some of my VJs were travelling down from oop North and up from down South and they obviously needed to know what was going on to make appropriate arrangements. Basically it was a nightmare. The general consensus was to put the night on regardless. We thought most people would feel the same about coming out. Still, in spite of optimistic ?blitz spirit?, there was the issue of public transport and whether people would actually be able to get to the venue.
We were in limbo.
We were still in limbo the following morning and understandably some of my VJs/helpers/contributers had to drop out. The venue then offered us a deal to play for basically nothing (as they/we couldn?t guarantee anyone turning up), with the option of splitting the door.
We decided to go with it. We wanted to do it. Infusion pulled out. That was fine, it gave us more room to play with. I lost a couple more VJs who missed buses/trains as the decision was made literally a few hours away from kick off.
It started off quiet. Everything got pushed back a bit. And then slowly but surely the place filled up. Everyone who said they?d come, came. And then the real fun started. Locomotif kicked off and warmed up an empty room. People started to filter through and have a look and their gritty mind bending visuals. Eclectic Method followed and the place was jumping up and down to their mash-up of MTV bootlegs and randy breaks. The VJamm Allstars followed suit with equally fantastic breaks, stylish and famously satirical imagery. By the time all this had finished and I had run around like a headless chicken not really talking to anyone in any great depth (you never do), it was getting late but it was my turn to go on. Locomotif Ben took the podium with me and thank god he did as my new Inspiron 6000 froze - completely froze - 3 times and I had to reboot. But we got there in the end. By this time, everyone was crazy dancing with their hands in the air to DJ Frankie Gee?s sublime cuts and Lady Free?s always excellent uplifting vocals.
The place was heaving ? as it had been for the past few hours. It was brilliant! And we were having a brilliant time.
John HD our videographer was superbly committed and filmed all night long (as well as giving out hugs when required).
The lights came up, people smiled, cabs were booked.
(I was feeling more stressed than I have ever felt ? one of the wonderful perks of being a promoter/VJ!)
We got bugger all on the door and there was some fallout that needed dealing with for weeks afterwards, which was a major downside. The upside, was that the night went on under unique circumstances and feedback was that it had been one of the best gigs ever - from both a punter AND performer?s point of view.
And then we got ready for the next gig...
The following Friday, we did Channel Zero vs TUKAI at Vibe Bar in Brick Lane, London. At the end of the night folk were literally dancing on the tables (Frankie Gee & Average White DJ did us proud) and people came up to shake my hand, in appreciation for the visuals.
We got booked for Global Gathering but were unfortunately a couple of sods who got mucked around and decided to give it a miss ? although have mates who VJ?d and enjoyed the big screens and bright lights.
We went to the Big Chill festival and got stupid. What a fantastic weekend.
Last weekend, we celebrated TUKAI?s 5th Birthday Boat Party which lasted a good 12 hrs.
Next Friday 2 Sept, guess who I?m playing with? Infusion at the Encompass Sessions @ Cargo.
11th Sept I?m VJing at DRUMCLUB?s day sessions @ Cafe 1001, Brick Lane.
16th Sept Channel Zero returns to Vibe Bar.
21st October we will do the visuals for TUKAI?s VIP Old Skool Party @ Herbal
And, and, and...I?ve just bagged 93 Feet East to do another big, dirty, breaky Channel Zero on 28 October.
Oh, and did I mention the small matter of a festival? Yup! We?re putting on our own festival next summer (12&13 August 2006) called ?Little Big?. Loads more info to follow on this one
Exciting times indeed! Good times, I would say.
I?ll upload some photos soon and I?ll drop a line about future line-ups on the events page.
Big love to you all.
Hope you?ve been keeping safe and happy,
www.channel-zero.co.uk & www.tukai.co.uk
Channel Zero Channel Zero Channel Zero