Picture it, a sun-dappled road leading to a cool shaded event space where an already expectant Synth clad crowd had formed outside by 1pm. The ole familiar beat pumped direct from inside and I smiled….this is it Ladies and Gents, we are BACK! The Sun hath shone so let’s OUTRUN it!
Instantly greeted by friendly faces I made my way into the neon lit bar area where
DJ SHE-RA was playing those banging tunes from a booth on high & it set the day up beautifully.
So what did I think of the event proper? Let’s get into it.....
VENUE – The Hairy Dog, Derby, UK
Its hipster aesthetic belied the outstanding vibe I felt as soon as I stepped in. Having flown worldwide and being in many an event space for gigs the one thing this venue proved beyond reasonable doubt is that you don’t need an auditorium or an overly large room to hold a Synth Event, just some great Artists, decent beverage areas, clean toilets, good crowd and lastly a great sound system but more on that later.
The space where the stage was set was quite roomy allowing for adequate social distance, which let’s face it was forgotten by nights end. Room was well cooled which is a welcome change from some of the sweatboxes I have had the misfortune to stand in the world over. All in all a venue I would attend again and more than meets the needs of those looking to experience intimate gigs.
All acts ran mostly on time which gave the attendee a chance to plan their day and who in particular they wanted to see which is always welcome especially seeing as there was so much catching up to do with some familiar faces of the scene.
This retro pop project is a headlining act if ever I saw one, simply sublime from start to finish. Josh, the lead vocalist, a raconteur he’s not and said as much himself but what he definitely showed was his outstanding vocal ability and command of the stage space. They played for approx. 30mins and showcased tunes off their eagerly awaited debut Album ‘House
Plants’ available 15th October.
They didn’t leave without playing one of my most favourite tracks ‘Metline Blues’ and it was just as rousing as when I first heard it live some 3 or so years back! IVERSEN - A perfect opener!
Fronted by Crayg Williams the decibel levels creeped up a little. Whilst the sound was less than favourable, they definitely made the best of it. I’m not so familiar with this band but I walked away secure in the knowledge that I should get acquainted, there’s no time like the present!
The third act of the night ROXI DRIVE
was one I was certainly looking forward to having never seen her play live before. Regrettably, there appeared to be more issues, as there was no sound coming from her in ear or stage monitors, which I’m sure to an
Artist is beyond disconcerting. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm coupled with the band themselves lifted the entire set and you would never have known there were Gremlins at work. The keep calm and carry on spirit soared and her astounding professionalism shone through.
The set finished with ‘Electricity’ one of my favs and by then the audience was carrying her on their metaphorical shoulders as I’m sure like me they saw the hard yards she put in to get the set across the line! Good on ya Roxi!
Last up before the intermission...
These guys were instrumental (no pun intended) alongside DJ SHE-RA and Player One’s Crayg Williams in bringing this event together so it made perfect sense to place themselves on the bill. It was a great performance over all with some good lighting, which definitely set the mood. They’re a live band with amazing potential and the lead vocalist sings with wonderful clarity. It’s easy to understand why New Retro Wave listed them as one of their Top 10 Newcomers back in 2018. I hope to catch them again soon.
A welcome retreat to re-fuel and recharge after the first few bands. I really hope that this aspect of all day Synth gigs takes hold. It makes for a more engaging audience when there’s time to relax and enjoy the event itself other than having those tired eyes facing front and standing for hours. DJ MAX SPEED of Artefaktor Radio and Steel City fame added much flavour to the downtime spinning more fantastic synth classics.
M E R C H S T A L L
A brisk and steady trade for most of the day/night the Timeslaves guys had your Merch needs in the bag so to speak. From coveted Timecop1983 vinyls to Tees of all sizes they did the event proud.
PART 2 commences with the incomparable DUETT. 40 mins didn’t seem long enough for such a fabulous act as these but I’ll take what I can get.
Definitely one of my highlights of the night and having already heard them play live before I expected same and got much much more. When Le Flex Music joined DUETT on stage to sing those timeless classics ‘Julienne’ and ‘Running Scared’ I was in undoubted heaven. An epic start to a promising night, once again there where brief little mic niggles but that aside I really enjoyed it.
New Arcades took to the stage next and they knocked it out of the virtual park. I’ve seen these guys play live before and they never disappoint. The duo gave us some real crowd pleasers finishing on a high with ‘Into the Unknown’. Beside and behind me were a myriad of different people singing at the top of their lungs and I felt so pleased that they had such an engaging audience, no more than they deserve!
The penultimate act of the night KALAX played to a welcome crowd. I must admit there was an element of trepidation about how he’d go over given his hardships of late. With such crowd pleasers as ‘The Ride’ (into the midnight) & ‘Out of Time’ it was always going to go over well & the crowd lapped it up! Those hoping to see Kalax at some point in the future need to know that he isn’t accompanied by a live band, it’s just him, his rig and a banging set and let’s face it if you’re as brilliant as he undoubtedly is essentially that’s all you need!
Closing out the night….
WOLFCLUB the veritable neon cherry on top of an altogether very enjoyable Synth cake. This duo never fails to disappoint having seen them live before and once again they blew the roof off serving some new and relatively old gems to an expectant crowd to include the favourite ‘Summer Lights’. Altogether an outstanding highlight of the night and thoroughly lovely blokes too!
With a DJ Set from Artefaktor & Steel City Collectives MAX SPEED to finish the night where the dance floor became a who’s who to include Wolfclub themselves, Sunglasses Kid, Nona from FHE, Shaun from LeBrock and more it certainly was the place to be if you where an ardent Synth fan!
Niggly sound issues aside this particular night will live long in the memory and with talks of another next year no prizes for guessing where I’ll be! Hats off to the Organisers and the Event Space ‘The Hairy Dog’ with super friendly staff, a lovely little arcade and great space to sit and chat it was the ideal venue!
Up next OLLIE WRIDE – 5th December | LaFayette, London, UK
Click the picture for limited ticket availability.
Photos for Iversen, Roxi Drive, Lost Outrider & Player One by Glen Jevon