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Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Electric Frog Street Carnival

Easter: a time for children to be off school for ages, eat too many eggs, hop about like Duracell bunnies on the biggest sugar rush of the year, and then crash into bed. Awaking the next day for even more eggs their Mummy couldn’t finish and more fun fun fun. Lucky. Little. Rabbits.
So, since we only get two days off rather than two weeks off, it’s only right us adults should get to have fun as well – Right? Thank you; Electric Frog Street Carnival! Providing two days of rushes no sweets could ever match, and beats to hop around to until your shoes disintegrate from your paws, it’s the perfect antidote to that Easter childhood nostalgia. Anyway: there is no chance you ever had this much fun as a kid…
DJ Yoda, however, knows we will always have that wee kid inside us. And to satisfy our child-like kernel, he expertly mixes up theme tunes like the Inspector Gadget title music with other beats and loops. His early afternoon set is blighted a bit by the lack of crowd and the broad daylight however. Glorious sunshine takes away from his burning turntablist talent. But you can’t complain about the Sun in Glasgow, it doesn’t appear all too much, so Yoda powers on with a set that is a warm welcome to the event – even though a lot of the revelers are only half listening – most are topping up their tan outside the marquee!
Inside the warehouse, things are even hotter, with Unabombers providing a set of laid back kick drums, clicking snares and spacey chord stabs. A huge videowall made out of chunky 80s TV sets and a projector sends all kinds of visuals to the back of our retinas, and soon flashes up the evenings programme of artists.

With the word “Optimo + Ivan Smagghe” beside some numbers that nearly match the present time, it’s time to roll like eggs down the warehouse steps into the marquee.
This is the arena where the three amigos of Optimo and Ivan Smagghe want to smash open our already cracked painted shells and unleash a yoke of techno fun. Fuelled by the chip counter (an urban festival this is, but festival food it still has) and, em, other things, dancing erupts all over the place for a long set from the three, who take turns on the decks, looking like they are genuinely having as much fun as everyone else.

If fun was the main factor of Optimo and Ivan’s set, riffing is the focal point of Erol Alkan’s. An electronic artist he may be, but working with many rock bands including Late of the Pier and Mystery Jets, the legendary “power of the riff” harped on about by people with dodgy tattoos and combat trousers is clearly evident tonight. It’s an abrasive, exciting act from the producer/DJ that sets the bar high for tomorrow’s acts.

And it’s evident local veterans SLAM have every intention of clearing that high bar with a jet pack powered leap into the cosmos. Hammering down some meteor like four to the floor kicks, rushing arpeggios, and a very loud but very controlled ethic, these masters have complete control of their machines and the crowd, providing a heavy start to most people’s night.
Sounding less strict and scientific about the beats being laid down is Kode9, taking command inside the warehouse. 80s drum loops, the swing % dial on his sampler set to high, and lots of catchy snippets of melody, he provides a much more rolling and jumping feel to his set which contrasts nicely with the assault of SLAM down the stairs. Its a crazily enjoyable party atmosphere that’s perfect for the Carnival – tempting even unwilling backs off the wall to jump around.

Wrapping things up tonight is Green Velvet, a DJ and producer who has been through all the club trends and never really lost his appeal. And with the cancellation of other headliners, J Rocc, he has the pleasure of a whole warehouse party on top of the crowd that he would have pulled already. Looking placid and cool he unleashes a set similar to SLAM’s in it’s controlled and heavy ethos; never really breaking down, just building layers and layers of synths and beats and samples that match the rumbles of the commuter trains on the arches overhead. He himself even gets more and more giant with some trippy back projections using his image and projecting it on a grand scale – all shrouded in green like a giant DJ Goliath. Cute Easter bunnies? No where to be seen.
Unlike the beginning of the festival, the heat is definitely inside the marquee now: a total sun trap of dancing, fun, and loud, loud, very, very loud music. You may never have had this much fun as a kid, but you will probably be hugging your bunny teddy and nibbling chocolate eggs all Easter Monday. What better way to recover from your best Easter ever?

photoset on Flickr