In 35 years of listening to Hip Hop I have never had the opportunity to see Jazzy Jeff live, so when I heard he was going to be in my town, I stood up and paid attention! Alongside the UKs finest cut & paster DJ Yoda and Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, with Boogie Storm on dance duties it was shaping up to be a belter of a night.
“May The Fourth Be With You” said Daffy Duck once (probably) and it stuck, so since a long time it’s been official Star Wars day around the world, so with Imperial Storm Trooper balloons adorning the stage, Wookies walking around in the crowd and DJ Yoda warming up the set, I was about ready to break out the blaster & bust some middle aged uncoordinated bloke dance steps…
Sadly I missed the first hour but as I entered I could hear some vibes coming from the main stage and could see Yoda was in full effect. On this particular day, we had all 4 seasons seemingly every 5 minutes it changed. There was a sea of people wrapped up to fend off the seemingly sub zero temperatures, but still all up for a good do!
Yoda played a good mix of party tunes, a few obscurities & some really well known tunes with is individual style of chops & screws. As a DJ myself I was interested in what was going on behind the wheels of steel. There were lots of mashups & party faves played in to the mix which went down a storm!
For the final 2 hours of the night, the magnificent Jazzy Jeff came on and did his thing. Now I first knew of him waaaaaaaay back in 1986 when Jeff was cutting up the classic Ultimate Breaks & Beats volume 3 (see below)
Many of you will know him from his days with Will Smith on the classic “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. To me, I’ll always know him as a scratch DJ from this classic set. He is literally the reason why I wanted to become a scratch DJ! Flash, him, DJ Cheese and later DJ Aladdin, but with the transformer scratch like he performs here, it cemented the deal for me!
Over the years, Jeff has honed his skills and with the advancements in technology, with him changing with the times all the way, he has mastered the way to use the technology fully… and I’m not talking about just using the “Sync” button! With the introduction of the new “Phase” kit, which I know Jeff has adapted, there’s not even a worry about needles jumping any more!
But, you can have all the DJ tech in the world, but it’s what comes out the speakers that is important! And that’s where he shined last night. Constantly keeping it moving and playing across all genres…even though he is from the world of hip hop, you’ll hear tunes from Pop, rock, metal, funk, soul, hip hop, house, jungle, garage and all the genres between in a melting pot of tunage!
The only negative thing I have to say about his performance, is from time to time he would drop a blinding track which you could tell everyone wanted to hear, but he mixed out of it too quickly… but I understand why… if you let tunes roll too long it changes the paradigm and then it becomes a different thing. The MC hosting the event was nice and kept the crowd engaged throughout.
I did manage to grab a short interview with DJ Yoda while he was walking away from the stage, but on my recorder I didn’t have the wind proof covers for the mics and so all I got was a load of wind noise with us drowned out in the background! Anyway, a great night and I’m looking forward to more sets at the venue throughout the summer. Many thanks to Dreamland staff for taking care of business, especially Sinéad who arranged press access. Please arrange for warmer temperatures haha! Peace, Waxer.
All photos courtesy Dan Thomsett