Campus events are normally pretty lacking in terms of anything of any merit, at all. A mundane combination of an overhyped reject Kuda DJ, a sound system I’m pretty sure they nicked out of that rusting Nissan Micra round the back of V bar, and a smoking area substantially more crowded than the dance floor. Well thank fook for a potato-headed 41-year-old. Playing for a mammoth five and a half hours, Mr Scruff brought ounces of 90s per cent purity Manchester rave scene, ensuring every one of us in D Bar got more than a dab.
Credit where credit’s due, Breakz and YO1 really outdid themselves spending the money where it was needed in hiring speakers from Leeds, and ensuring all 600 tickets sold out. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was a localised ink crisis after that leafleting campaign.
For the first few hours of the set, Andy Carthy, showed off his eclectic collection of original vinyl, with some truly inspired mixes, who else has ever gone from James Brown’s ‘Blues & Pants’ into ‘Blackbird’, the Fat Freddy’s Drop single. Scruff then made a transition from record mixing to electronic, signalling the start of his trademark animation show. The hand drawn potato sketches frolicking in perfect time to every beat, trumpet and wobbling synthesiser, adding a dimension of comedy I’ve never really experienced in a DJ set before.
Its debatable whether it’s a pertinent comment on the standard of York’s clubbing scene that we have to resort to artists who’ve been around since 1994, or if it simply proves how well practised in his craft Mr Scruff is. Either that or we’re all just hipster douchebags who want to pretend we can remember the nineties when in actually fact we spent them crawling, crying and shitting ourselves.
The last hour saw this reporters hair go from curly to perm to slicked back and damp as Scruff expertly injected his own tracks into the mix, ‘Feel It’ marking a head first dive into house heaven. We were all completely under the control of that tea swigging northerner’s fingertips, as 2008 single ‘Kalimba’ marked a divergence into a jazz beat crescendo, culminating in ‘Corn On The Cob’ by Riot Jazz Brass Band, an absolute meltdown of a record, which set Scruff grinning like bearded balding baby.
Having been scheduled to finish at 2am, the crowd exploded upon hearing that oh so familiar saxophone intro of ‘Get A Move On’. Having reached the front barrier by this point, I can safely say the atmosphere beats some of the best gigs I’ve experienced. Having ‘finished’ his set, we stood there knackered, sweat dripping from our foreheads, but very much musically satisfied. And yet out of the darkness grew one of the best layups in DJ history. 1975 hit ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ sung by Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, might sound absurd out of context, but at this precise moment in time it was as if that chorus was being pumped through the very nail holes in Christ’s newly resurrected wrists. Twenty minutes later with the ‘Spandex Man’ guitar still ringing through our ruined eardrums, Mr Scruff left us.
It was an absolute display of genius, made all the more exhilarating for seeing Mr Scruff buzzing as much as we were. Anyone who missed it will be hearing stories about it for the rest of the year, and they’re definitely not just saying that because they were wired off their tits.
Breakz’s next event will feature Loefah/Zed Bias/Klose One at Tokyo on Friday 8th November