Posts Tagged ‘NEC’

BPM – BACK!!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

BPM, the DJ Expo at Birmingham’s NEC is back again. I’m especially excited, as The Wife has let me go on the Saturday when the guest DJ is none other than Grand Master Flash himself – YEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!

Have been working on a surprise for The Wife for Sunday (various reasons – won’t divulge here).

Will let you know how BPM goes down – if you don’t here from me, chances are I made a right mess of Sunday………………

MJB @ The NEC, November 3, Wifey & Me

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Mary J Blige:

  • Queen of Hip Hop Soul
  • Survivor
  • Diva
  • Amazon
  • Owner of a stunning array of wigs, weaves & hairpeices (if you don’t believe me, you’ve obviously not seen any of her videos!)

The lady possessing the finest thighs in music strode into town to give it some.
It was our first time at the new(ish)-ly renovated LG Arena – clearly money went into extending the building, although the arena itself is still essentially a large shed.
Despite the cash spent on the refurb, my wife was singularly unimpressed, not least with the DJ stationed in the atrium. I was quite nonplussed with it – he seemed okay, neither here nor there.

We got to our seats during the last track of one of the support acts (some shouty MC or something). Again, The Missus – unimpressed.
Next up – Gyptian.

(I found a Youtube link to a video  from Wego Entertainmanent)
Skinnier & younger than his voice seems to suggest. As with most JA artistes, he performed with an easy confidence & cocky charm. It was a great performance, although marred by the tech bods ‘overcooking’ the PA sound. This was something dogging the all the support acts (ironically, as I play clubs but struggle with loud music).

Last of the support was Lemarr. He put on a fairly well polished set & like Gyptian got the crowd going, despite his vocals getting swamped at times by the PA.

Mary J then finally arrived. All wannabe divas-in-waiting & X-Factor hopefuls should go & see her in action: only 1 costume change plus a semi-acoustic set in a 2 hour trek through her extensive back catalogue. She didn’t so much take to the stage as instantly command the entire auditorium with an incredibly tight backing band. I was even allowed by The Wife to marvel (albeit briefly) at how Ms B poured herself into a sequinned catsuit.
There was no need for superfluous frills. This included the eye candy in the form of 2 male dancers, appearing for 2 songs & their sole purpose seemed to be striding on stage, pose for a few bars, hold their crotches before striding off. I do however accept there were loads of women (and more than a few men) who would disagree with me. Mary J DID look good in the cat suit, so fair’s fair I suppose.
In contrast to the ear-shredding sound mix of the support acts, the sound was good for the main event.

(another Wego Ent video link)
The only fly in the ointment was during one of the ballads. She clearly brings raw emotion to her songs, many of them deeply autobiographical, but the emotion displayed during the closing adlib seemed forced. That said, given the life experiences she’s endured, it’s a minor point, especially given the length of her stage time.

All in all a great show, terrific value for money. We’d already seen her once before, so let’s see if we can go 3 for 3…………………..

BPM 2010, Part 1

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Once again it was  that time of year, earlier this month. This year’s event coincided with our Anniversary – major pain (that said, circumstances conspired to have us celebrate on the Saturday with me being able to go on the Sunday (LOADS of love to my darling Wifey on that one!! xxxxxx)
Though it seemed not quite as many exhibitors were  there this year, it was still quite a show to get around. On this day I found:

More Women!!
No, simmer down!

DJ at BPM Vestax stand

Don’t get the knives out to carve up my sexist backside – I’m not talking in terms of eye-candy ‘brolley dollies’, none of that nonsense, I mean ladies on the stands Djing, demonstrating & advising. This was something I thought was lacking from an otherwise excellent exhibition last year, & it looks like they’ve taken it on board. A welcome change in my book, not a moment too soon.

Quite a few djs were there, & as usual, standards were high. DJ Angelo was back – check his MySpace  & very good easy-to-follow tutorials (bloody nice bloke). DJ Ratzi (find his Facebook page). A couple of the So Solid Crew had a spontaneous freestyle session before their set in the BPM Arena. I even captured some of this on video. If it’s not up by the time this goes on the site, I’ll try to get it sorted. Also ran into DJ SS, one of the guys from my way, back in the old days, looking well & really up for his set later on.

To get through this day I found the following was helpful

  • A well stocked bag –  important.

Being a cheapskate, I take my own provisions, using the on-site facilities for top ups/snacks rather than anything substantial. Also, some of the free bags aren’t as strong as you need if you’re spending on lots of items or a few awkward/bulky ones. The downside is, you have to carry the damn thing with you all day & negotiating your way through crowds/doors/ stands can be quite a test of one’s spatial awareness & physical endurance. The weather on the day also meant taking a coat. Oh joy.

  • Cash.

You’ll never have enough, but it helps to have some idea of what you want to get before you go. That at least gives you something approaching a budget. Most places do fairly good deals, & I came home with a few choice bargains, much to the annoyance of my (long-suffering) wife. Ooops!

Networkapproach people AND talk to them
It’s a DJ exhibition so go & speak to people about dj/sound stuff. Selling or buying, their there to make contact – plus they’re human, they can be approached, other wise they wouldn’t be there

  • Demos – If you’ve got any give ’em out, drop ’em off

This year, I had something vaguely resembling a plan

  1. Go to the SAE Learning Zone, get some advice on automation & set up of my Korg Nano stuff in Ableton (Got some good advice on automation, showing I still have a limited practical aptitude, but I’m working on that. Forgot about the Nano stuff though)
  2. Go to a couple of seminars, particularly about Serato’s The Bridge (Missed that, but got to have a chat with the guys in their Demo Room – bloody nice, the CEO/Inventor/developer of Serato also came in & had a bit of a natter. Not often that happens, top marks, people!
  3. Take cash but don’t over spend (oops!)

(Well, I didn’t break the bank or indulge in any ‘lose the house & sell your kids’ – type of spending, but I will have to watch the pennies, for the time being at least).

This time I took a digital camera with a CHARGED battery. It’s amazing how little things like that make such a difference. It held out, allowing me to document the proceedings in something approximating their glory.

SAE Learning Zone BPM

The SAE Learning Zone at BPM

Serato Demo Room

The Serato Demo Room. Those lovely Kiwis, flew all the way here & dealt with my questions, despite my profound ignorance. Bless 'em.

DJ Ratzi -happy as the Duracell Bunny

I’ll get to the rest in the next post…