All The Pretty Horses…


Bloc Buster
March 28, 2007, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

And so the festival season started early this year when I headed off to the Bloc Weekender up (almost) on the Norfolk coast (nr Great Yarmouth). The line-up was a fair mix of stuff I really wanted to see, things I was curious about and things that were bound to sound great if I was completely off my tits, which is as good a combination for a weekend as I could hope for really.

A dreadful – long, cramped, boring – coach journey (which saw other punters necking port and ketamine, among other things, to alleviate the horror) saw us dropped off at the Pontins site at about 6.30pm, just in time for someone to steal my sleeping bag (and exactly at the point when the wind blowing in off the north sea really hit me).


Ailsa, Rob Orang Utan and myself met up with Suzy and Paul (Cut Out), dumped our stuff in the fairly grotty chalet and got stuck into the chems. I’ve done the Pontins thing before – for an All Tomorrow’s Parties some years ago – but if anything this was even grimmer. There was a hole in the back of the bathroom door which I suspect was the result of a former occupant kicking out as he hanged himself. The site is really really horrible – a major road to one side, nothing attractive in view, just generally rancid (to be honest, this seems to be true of the whole area) – but I had a feeling that the Bloc crowd would make more of it than the surly indie and hardcore types had down at ATP. We never made it to the reportedly ugly seafront (which had a gift shop featuring all sorts of little tat-statues of comically-lipped black fellas with spliffs, Irish burglars and the like. Plus a poster for an Afro Caribbean Night – Bring Your Own Grass Skirt! … Ah, Norfolk.. )

There were three venues, basically – the 24 hour Queen Victoria Pub (the Smashbloc Arena!!), and then the Bassbloc and Tecbloc “arenas” – basically two large function rooms / bars connected by an amusement arcade, which was a great place to spend some time. Aside from usual attractions like airhockey and machines, many a happy hour could be spent watching the munters and ketmonkeys staggering dazed from one battery of flashing lights to another. My particularly favourite was a little fella who – deciding the glass cabinet full of toys looked comfortable – attempting to scale the 8ft high sheer glass sides to get in.


And that, my friends, defines the margins of my weekend. No sleep, almost no food (half a rancid jacket potato from the lovely Carters – cheese OR beans, you understand, the management won’t permit bohemian combinations or any of that malarkey) and a frankly terrifying amount of chemicals.


Knew a lot of people there – mostly from Urban 75 but a few from the party scene and the Unsound trips to Italy. The atmosphere was wonderful – no bother (that I saw), the staff were mostly friendly, if a little dazed by it all – and the fun never stopped (although checking through a fairly mediocre selection of photos suggests otherwise!).

So who did I actually manage to catch?

Friday night in Bassbloc was live night, pretty much, and things started with Wevie Stonder.

Very highly rated by some (they allegedly changed Jerome Hill’s life!) although they struck me as a kind of mid-80s Stonehenge band with some electronic bits replacing the skanking bits – dressing up, twatting around, the usual. Amusing for a while..

It was around this point I somehow contrived to bite a big hole in my tongue and spent about the next 4 hours with a constant mouthful of blood – which managed to disgust some, worry others and entirely freak out one guy who was clearly tripping..

Seeing Two Lone Swordsmen was bizarre.. I knew Weatherall had explored a more band / vocal direction, but I wasn’t expecting what was essentially a gothabilly band – all indie musicians and riffs. Weatherall himself now looks like a slightly portly cross between Ian Dury and Dave Vanian and put in full rock’n’roll performance. Johnny Cash covers, the works.. most unusual.


Kool Keith? Kool Keith phoned it in. It was a laugh – a whole routine giving the ‘laydeez’ underwear and making them model was too bizarre for words – but really, he was just waiting for his cheque.


I saw some other techno acts on Friday night / Saturday morning, including the appalling Michael Forshaw, and finished back in the pub necking pills, listening to Cutlass Supreme’s booty bass and watching people unravel.


Saturday daytime was spent in the chalet with a bunch of friends working our way through the list of available chemicals (including, I’m ashamed / proud to say ) alloy cleaner. I dragged myself out of bed to see Rhythm & Sound. They were pretty disappointing, all in all – some fairly obvious and mediocre dancehall and roots, average sound, a small and largely fucked-up crowd. In the end I went back to the chalet to try and get some sleep, to no real success (which is a shame, because it meant missing Muziq, Clark, Vex’d and Mark1 / Virus Syndicate). Woke up to see Tim Exile – joystick cock and all – mashing things up on the consistently excellent Bloc TV Channel (could have easily been Spaced re-runs and Human Traffic, but instead it was a packed bill of cult movies, Japanese oddities, political content, manga, madness and live slots). I scurried back up to see the end of his set and then to be bored rigid by Autechre – just dreary as all hell, despite having ‘toughened it up’ a bit for the set.

But the highlight of the night, the weekend and probably the year thus far was Surgeon – just a blinding set of brilliant and well-structured techno. Universal Indicator – on before – was also a brilliant surprise. Jungle dominated the other room for the rest of the night – Technical Itch, Black Sun Empire and Noisia were all excellent. Congo Natty on the other hand was something of a disgrace – Mr Natty himself failed to show (he was apparently on a rasta pilgrimage to Ethiopia, having recently converted, and sent along his crew – a pretty poor DJ plus Tenor Fly and Top Cat, who were a little too preachy but did their best without the main man). Some stumbling back and forth also saw me take in some Advent and CJ Bolland but again, all a blur.

Another night without sleep – just chems and booze – and by Sunday afternoon things were getting pretty twisted. Rob had already done his pantomime cow turn, there were people on the lawn with their pants round their ankles and some kids were necking ket and playing football (an entertaining but essentially useless attempt).

Being out of chems by this point, we dragged ourselves up to the main room to see an afternoon of dub and dubstep hosted by Mark Iration. As we drank ourselves stupid and said goodbye to the first friends to head off, we saw first Exodus then Youngsta and Loefah play some wonderful, head-noddy dubstep (and slip some regular digidub in as well) before Mark stepped on at the end to show them how it was really done. I suspect they’d kept the dubstep fairly low-impact considering the slot, but it was excellent nonetheless – deep and rich. Lots of siren action, then a dub-fi-dub session from Loefah and Youngsta.

Then, after some more faffing about, a smelly and grumpy long coach trip back home – I fell asleep, Ailsa puked, Rob smashed wine all over the floor.

An excellent weekend and I’d definitely do it again

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

my god -it sounds horrid beyond belief……

Comment by alice

actuallt that was me….

Comment by brokenyolk

it was marvellous. You’re just old and boring 🙂

Comment by dubversion

i may be that, i’m not sure……. but it still sounds terrible! where was the joy?

Comment by brokenyolk

the joy was in the dancing and the seeing of friends and the brilliant music and the running around like an excited child 🙂

Comment by dubversion




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