Mellow Mellow @ Relish Thursday 20th March 2008
Review - T2 Bad
After the success of the pre NYE 07 Rare Groove night with DJ Mistri (London) and Bizzi B (Manchester) at Relish, Mellow Mellow had the impression of being the most eagerly event of the Manchester Soul Calendar so far in 2008. Needless to say, I was seriously intrigued as to how an event which was based on mellow grooves and Neo Soul would be received by the Greater Manchester masses.
The first impression that I had on arriving was that although Relish wasn’t as packed as the pre-NYE 07 event, it was sufficiently packed where it mattered, on the lower floor where the main music arena is situated.
The upstairs was sparsely populated, but the upper mezzanine is usually just utilised as a chill-out zone anyway.
The atmosphere was really strange because although it was a great one, it seemed detached from the actual music that was being played!! The attending masses were soaking up the aura of Relish being a classy venue and with there being a huge number of classy people in attendance and not so much with the music on offer, so much so that I spent the majority of the first hour just catching up with old friends which was really nice.
Now let me elaborate on the atmosphere where the music was concerned; the dance floor was generally full with people dancing, but instead of the usual comings and goings on the dance-floor as the music went up and down, the crowd would just stand still nodding there collective heads to the music and some were even striking up conversations with their dance mates. This indicated to me that the Mellow Mellow masses were up for the night, but not so much the music on offer but this was the risk that Tony Gordon the driving force behind the night took. The Sound System used on the night was excellent, but only served to highlight the disadvantage to DJ’s who continue to play vinyl as opposed to CD’s or MP3’s as there were many instances of musical feedback through the speakers throughout the night.
As a DJ with varied tastes, I can appreciate all forms of music as long as it’s good, now this isn’t to say that the music wasn’t good, but I think in general the Mellow Soul and Neo Soul on offer went above most people’s heads and this was constantly being remarked on throughout the night by numerous people. The issue that I had with this is that I asked the majority of these people if they’d actually looked at the details on the publicity for the event where it clearly stated that what they were hearing was the intended music policy for the night!!!
Amazingly, almost all of the people whom I spoke to hadn’t paid the slightest bit of attention to what was advertised and therein laid the problem where the music was concerned. The DJ’s Kev Edwards and Irfan admirably did what they were expected to do, but I would say that the musical fare on offer from Irfan in particular was more akin to a Lounge night and would have been more suitable in a standard bar setting more than being the focal point of a club night. Kev Edwards of Spin Inn Records and Mr Smith’s fame rolled back the years with some timeless classics mixed with more up-to-date tracks which were of a similar ilk.
I’m not into categorising Genre’s of tastes within a defined genre of music, but even I have to concede that this is sometimes the only way to explain what a specific type of Soul sounds like. Neo Soul is a 90’s American Soul Movement where the main exponents of this brand of Soul are Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Bilal, Dwele etc, so hopefully if you didn’t already know what Neo Soul was, you now know what it is. Personally I think this brand of sophisticated Soul is more suited being played whilst in an intimate setting, chilling with friends over a glass of Rosé wine and it’s debatable whether it’s suited to a full on Soul Night.
This isn’t to say that the Neo Soul played by Irfan wasn’t appreciated by some; it just wasn’t appreciated by the majority in Relish on this night. All the same I think the night could still be classed as successful because it was something a bit different from the norm. The promoter Tony Gordon has proved a breath of fresh air for the Manchester Soul movement because of his ability to provide the masses with that something a little bit different which has made his Good Times Promotions brand unique and for which he should be proud.
Soul Control Verdict:
Mellow Mellow did what it said on the tin!! Although this wasn’t appreciated by many of the people in attendance, the general impression gathered was that it was still a good night although not musically spectacular. Good Times Promotions are bringing DJ Mistri (London) and Bizzi B (Manchester) back for their next promotion on May 25th 2008 at Relish and this night will hopefully provide the Manchester masses more of what they have come to expect from the Good Times Soul nights at Relish.
Soul Control Rating: