With Days 1 and 2 well and truly covered, the Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight posts his final reflections on what has been an amazing three days at Beat-Herder 2018, with Hervé, Mr. Scruff, and some big, silver balls.
Day three of Beat-Herder was by far the most exciting for me, given that there were artists playing that I have either been chasing down for years, missing completely by mistake, or who I have just never had the opportunity to see live. Days 1 & 2 had already offered up a wealth of amazing acts, from Orbital and Soulwax, via James Ruskin and Fusion Brothers. But I had waited with anticipation for day 3, as I knew one particular artist I’ve been waiting about six years to see, was playing.
After a hearty breakfast of Wasabi instant noodles (which, by the way, are absolutely revolting), we headed down to the Toil Trees to catch a bit of the incredibly talented South African DJ, SNO. One word. Ongelooflike. Which is Afrikaans for ‘amazing’. The Afro-beat queen was dropping little nuggets of hip-hop, bass music, and grooves rarer than a hen with teeth, with a delectable twist that would be just as at home on the Western Cape. Expect to be seeing more of this amazing DJ.
We stuck around to catch (almost) the entirety of Mr. Scruff‘s four hour marathon (the longest set of the festival, I think), which was idiosyncratic of the Mancunian’s diverse repertoire. He started off with a cracking mix of hip-hop and broken beat; the kind of music for which the Ninja Tune mainstay has been peddling for many a year.
What followed was a schooling in disco, house, latin, the odd droplet of breakbeat, and all in-between. Obviously, Scruff knows how to handle his beats as well as his audience, and everyone was twisting, swirling, swaying, bouncing, and boguling in time to our DJ’s perfectly orchestrated mix. Check out our exclusive video, below.
We kind of spread ourselves between several stages once Scruff had delivered the goods. We slipped off just before the end of his set, visiting Trash Manor for a touch Manchester’s almighty dub soundsystem, Dub Smugglers, enjoying a few cups of Pimms before we headed back through the Toil Trees stage for a bit of Late Nite Tuff Guy. The Aussie DJ was storming through tracks, but we couldn’t stay there for long, as the breakbeat frenzy proffered by Ray Keith was threatening to collapse The Fortress, where we stayed to ‘get mampy’ in the sunshine.
We did attempt to catch a bit of David Rodigan, but his mistimed rewinds, which were poorly cued and punctuated with cries (his own) of ‘again’ simply started to irritate us a bit. Having never seen Ram Jam in full effect, we were left a little bit frustrated by his performance. There is no doubting his skills as a selecta – his tracks were on point – but at times I found myself thinking ‘Jeez, would you just shut up’. Of course, this is my own opinion and I have no doubt the thousands of other people watching were having a ball. Different horses and all that.
We left Mr Rodigan and his MBE on the Main Stage as we could hear some divine beats emanating from the Toil Trees speakers, but a stone’s throw away. This was the doing of Hammer, who has recently seen releases on Bicep‘s Feel My Bicep label. His C-Space EP had an airing, with the brilliant Inside Soul giving my spine the wake up call it needed before I downed a fat burger and headed to the ring for the highlight of the whole weekend. Not before we stopped to indulge ourselves in some visual pleasure, courtesy of the Travelling Light Circus and their hypnotic Pendulum Wave Machine installation, which saw all manner of shapes created by the swinging silver globes.
Now, I don’t want to gush, but I’ve honestly been waiting for what seems like a lifetime to see Hervé. It clearly isn’t an actual lifetime, but is feels like one, so when Muzi had finished his really quite fantastic stint (we only caught the end of this, sadly), in stepped the towering French-sounding (in name) DJ for an hour and thirty minutes of pure bass-heavy joy.
My first exposure to Hervé‘s style was his 2009 compilation mix album, Ghetto Bass, a record that saw my car windows at shattering point during many a journey. I was delighted to discover that the Cheap Thrills mainstay hadn’t lost what I’d been chasing for so long, and to see him play was awesome. The Ring didn’t seem to know what had hit them. I did, and I flung my little self round gleefully as Hervé gave us all a cheap thrill to write home about.
Finishing his set with Aphex Twin‘s R&S classic, Digeridoo, Hervé had given me everything I had hoped for and more and, with an hour left of the festival, we headed to The Factory to catch K-Klass in full live splendour. You simply can’t beat a bit of piano house to end a wonderful weekend, can you? They even did a rendition of Finally; a track I have loved for many a year.
Our warm thanks goes out to Brick London for inviting us down to see what was happening at this year’s Beat-Herder, to the organisers for producing a stultifyingly brilliant event, and to the crowd for being as loopy as ever. See you next year!