May 27, 2009

Posted by in Birmingham, Events, Featured, Festival Style, Past Events, Reviews, Workshops | 1 Comment

Mr Elephants Second Birthday Review by Dom Brotherton – A Large Slice of Birthday Cake

Mr Elephant’s Second Birthday Review by Dom Brotherton

A Large Slice of Birthday Cake – Mr Elephant is Putting on Weight!!

Mr Elephant by Elin Morgan

Since its inception in 2007, Mr Elephant has been on a steadily increasing diet of eclecticism, celebrating some of the best underground club nights, djs, vjs, live bands, dancers, performers and inhabitants that Birmingham has to offer. Now with 5 residencies all offering different slices of Birmingham’s nightlife, it seems appropriate to celebrate Mr Elephants success by sticking 2 candles in a cake to mark its second birthday, but on the 23rd May there was a whole lot more on the cards than our average birthday party…

Dj & Vj Workshops - Photo by Dan Roblin

Dj & Vj Workshops – Photo by Dan Roblin

Throughout the afternoon there were opportunities for all ages to learn an array of different skills in a series of grass-roots workshops, and in most cases enabling those involved to participate in the performances of the night. Drumming, vjing, djing, beatboxing, poi, animation, etc, all workshops were offered for free to anyone who wanted to try the various creative artforms, and were hosted by an excellent cast of contributors.

Drumming Workshop - Photo by Dan Roblin

Drumming Workshop – Photo by Dan Roblin

As the sun set, the herd moved in-doors to be entertained by a fine hour of acoustic music from two of Birmingham’s most modest stars, namely Richard Batsford and Laura Louise, who both delivered magical performances.

Laura Louise - Photo by Dan Roblin

Laura Louise – Photo by Dan Roblin

Rich Batsford - Photo by Dan Roblin

Rich Batsford – Photo by Dan Roblin

At 10pm the Osmosis hosted Dance Stage kicked off with phat breaks & banging techno, while the Live Stage commenced with the mighty Jam Jah reggae collective, who got people up and grooving, providing the perfect backdrop to those of the audience who were adding the finishing touches to their carnival masks.

Jam Jah Crew - Photo by Dan Roblin

Jam Jah Crew – Photo by Dan Roblin

As the crowd welled up, the 1st band of the night Circadia took to the stage with new changes to the line-up adding more seasoning to their tasty flavour of psychedelic ska.

Ciradia - Photo by Dan Roblin

Ciradia – Photo by Dan Roblin

Up next was a crowd pleasing half hour of monkey swing from Marc Reck,

Marc Reck - Photo by Dan Roblin

Marc Reck – Photo by Dan Roblin

followed by the now infamous mr elephant midnight parade, which invited all poodle creations out for their midnight dance-floor stroll, and offering two prizes for best in breed.

Mr Elephant Midnight Poodle Parade - Photo By Dan Roblin

Mr Elephant Midnight Poodle Parade – Photo By Dan Roblin

Following, was an unexpected drumming jam session with beat boxer and host of the Live Stage, Bass6, who as always, entertained and mediated with more energy than an army of Duracell bunnies.

Mr Elephants Midnight Percussion Jam - Photo by Dan Roblin

Mr Elephants Midnight Percussion Jam – Photo by Dan Roblin

With the night in full swing, Bristol beat-boxer extraordinaire, Dub FX took control, complimented perfectly by talented female MC, Flower Fairy. There was a lot of buzz around Dub Fx, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! With just his mouth and a loop station with efx unit, he created phat beats, huge basslines and orchestral melodies that cranked up the atmosphere with each track.

Dub Fx - Photo by Dan Roblin

Dub Fx – Photo by Dan Roblin

With the crowd almost at fever pitch, the 3 piece live dub, breaks & drum & bass act Alphadrive, delivered a slick set of some of filthiest breaks I’ve ever heard come out of a live band, before handing over once again to Marc Reck who delivered a massive drum & bass finale ending with don’t worry be happy as a 2nd encore.

Alphadrive - Photo by Dan Roblin

Alphadrive – Photo by Dan Roblin

Over on the Dance Stage techno superstar Jerome Hill was rinsing it out with a hugely powerful set which sent the osmonauts into overdrive, in amongst big birthday sets from 32DM, Hijacker, and the mighty Dk Roon who finished things off with a big bang.

Jerome Hill - Photo by Tina Taylor

Jerome Hill – Photo by Tina Taylor

Massive applause is also necessary for visuals maestros Blendstate and The Lab for providing some truly awesome visuals; always interesting, innovative and apt for the occasion.

Blendstate & The Lab Visuals - Photo by Dan Roblin

Blendstate & The Lab Visuals – Photo by Dan Roblin

Mr Elephant comes off as a much more dynamic event than your usual club night, and feels closer to a festival than a club night. Always looking to broaden horizons, it off-sets different musical genres and strives to include much more than just DJs, visuals and a space to dance in the quest to create something groundbreaking, inclusive, and celebratory. Adding to the diverse range of musical styles and the conglomerate social strata that regularly appear at Mr Elephant events, even the barrier of age was broken by the scurry of little feet in the workshops that began early in the day, and it’s refreshing to see an event that appeals to such a huge range of tastes, and ages!

Mr Elephant doesn’t have punters; it has contributors; and the evolution of audience participation from an amusing quirk to a fully fledged feature is a wonderful thing to see, because it gives us all more ownership over the event, engaging us well beyond the boundaries of the venue. Even after the final curtain call, the place was rife with chit-chat and the exchange of phone-numbers, and it’s fantastic to experience such a collective engagement, rather than the typical race for an unoccupied taxi. (My own eventual exit was met by communal singing and a drum performance by an enthusiastic fellow whose flow was only ended after 15 minutes or so due to apparent complaints from the neighbours.)

The organisers of Mr Elephant turn clubbing into a real adventure and I love that they want to celebrate the fun of interaction and offer so many ways for everyone be part of the festivities whilst also having a real desire to make elephant noises about their home city of Birmingham. With the Party Rockin Mammal Sessions @ Bulls Head showcasing Birmingham djs, The Live & Free events @ Adam & Eve showcasing live bands, the new Cinephonic & Intermix events @ the Hare pushing dj & vj boundaries, and with the forthcoming grassroots workshop programme, elephant radio shows, elephant tv, and their large website – www.mrelephant.co.uk, it seems that there are now plenty of large tasty elephant portions that we can feast on in between the big festival style events, and it only looks to be getting bigger and more inclusive! Mr Elephant clearly invites us all to join the conga, if not start our own, so let’s put on our dancing shoes, bang on the Brum, and celebrate!

By Dominik Kai Brotherton

————

Massive thanks and respect to Dom for that review and to the Night Times for publishing it! Jack Brabant, and Jules Hyland were videoing the event and Jack is putting together the entire 12 hour footage into a 4 minute video, so that will be online hopefully by mid June. Also Tony from the Lab will be putting together the Elephant Tv dvd episodes which will should be online by July.

Feel free to subscribe to the Rss if you want automatic notification, and we look out for more photos and videos as they return, plus a special Jam Jah recording of their set on Mr Elephant Radio, when it finds a new time slot.

And here is Jacks 8 minute video

And a bit of footage of the headliner Dub FX & Flower Fairy!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mr Elephant’s 2nd Birthday on video | Rich Batsford - [...] PRESS - this event has also been reviewed by Dom [...]
  2. A very happy new decade from all at Mr Elephant! | Mr Elephant Presents - [...] Epic from 2007, the 12 hour celebrate underground from 2008, our 1st birthday also from 2008 and  our 12…
  3. A very happy new decade from us all at Mr Elephant! | Marc Reck - [...] at Epic from 2007, the 12 hour celebrate underground from 2008, our 1st birthday also from 2008 and our…

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