headliner Afrika Bambaataa proves to be a guilty pleasure

BLOC weekend 2009 reviews

published: Thu 19th Mar 2009

Afrika Bambaataa

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March 2009
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
£125 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 11th Mar 2009

The last day at BLOC was a short and lazy one. We started by ambling over, once again, to the Red stage to see Skream & Benga. The pair have quite a history together. With many early releases being a joint effort, as well as their project 'Magnetic Man' with Artwork, they obviously enjoy working with each other, and it showed.
Skream
The two of them were pretty wasted considering the seven o clock start to the set, but by the looks of things most people had adopted a 'start early' philosophy for the Sunday because the stages would all be closed by one o'clock. The pair still managed to mix flawlessly considering they could hardly walk, which they tried to do anyway, coming up to the front of the stage arm in arm taking turns to get the crowd to scream for the other one. The amount of fun the two friends were having really rubbed off on the crowd and broke down the barrier between audience and performer.

What ruined this, though, was the sheer amount of rewinds. When a highly anticipated song is beginning DJs will often rewind the track just as it kicks in, making the crowd wait. This is effective when done sparingly and only for those really heavy and really popular tracks, but it felt like this was happening for nearly every song. What's more is that most of the time it wasn't even Skream or Benga who did it.

There was a whole troop of people on stage, whether they were friends or roadies I don't know, but what I do know is they need to leave the decks alone, or do their own shows where they can rewind tracks to their hearts content. The epitome of this crime came when Skream's brilliantly reworked 'In For the Kill' came on. The beauty of this track is in the long introduction, the bass only kicking in properly about a minute and a half through the track, at which point the song still has a reflective and relaxed feel; a feel that in no way calls for someone to 'weeerrp-weeerrp-weeeerp-weeeeeeeeeeerrrp' the record back to the beginning and make the crowd listen to half the song again. It's a real shame because this would have been a brilliant set if it wasnÂ’t so consistently interrupted throughout.

Afrika Bambaataa
The evening brightened when we saw the final headline of the weekend Afrika Bambaataa. The cheesy eighties and early nineties hip hop was a welcome and alarming change from the serious, often dark dance music that had been the focus of the weekend. He even dropped 'Hammertime' by MC Hammer which is a tune you secretly hope but never expect to hear played out on a big system. Intensifying the nostalgic enjoyment even more, Afrika added a generous amount of bass to the tracks. Looking around, everyone was dancing their heart out and laughing as more and more cheesy tracks were facilitating a more and more profound guilty pleasure. An uplifting end to what had been a memorable weekend.

The new site for the Bloc festival is perfect. The line-up was perfect. The general sound and visual set up throughout the stages was staggeringly impressive. Bloc 2009 was a huge success and I can only see the festival growing in popularity and quality in years to come.
review by: Robert Knowles

photos by: Bryn Russell

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March 2009
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
£125 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 11th Mar 2009


latest on this festival

BLOC weekend
festival home page
last updated: Wed 10th Feb 2016
BLOC weekend 2016
festival listing
last updated: Mon 18th Jan 2016
BLOC weekend 2016
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Wed 18th Nov 2015