Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Northern Disco Is Worth A Million

This Saturday sees the Northern Disco Inc. boys celebrate their one year anniversary with a double header in the Manchester. It's been a year since they launched with a party that featured Rahaan at Urbis last year where I got a bit too excited too early, I think it was the free lunch, and Paul and I ended up playing one or two too many house records while jumping about. Sorry, Lee! Here are some pictures from last year.

As Shanky says, "In the 12 month period since Northern Disco Inc was launched the world has said farewell to the Godfather of Disco Mr Mel Cheren.

In addition anybody who has attended one of our parties knows that the undisputed Northern Disco hero is Walter Gibbons who, along with Mel, the legendary Larry Levan and so many others in the dance music industry, was also taken from music lovers far too soon due complications with AIDS/HIV.

Its for this reason that we have decided to try and raise money from this years birthday party for The George House Trust in the North West.

Promoters with a surefire money-earner putting all the profits back into a charity? Bravo!

The first part of the marathon sees Northern Disco Inc. in association with Last Rites taking over the Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street with a host of disco favourites playing music from all four corners of the record shop with a smile, a laugh and a ton of enthusiasm. Special guest on the day is Leo Elstob of Faith, A Mountain of One and Dab Hands fame who will be lighting up the dancefloor with a typically educated disco set. Supporting Leo on a day and night that will end in new friendships being fostered and quite a few spilled drinks will be my personal favourites, Adam H, Paul Hughes, Steven McNulty and Juliet Shaw with a special Sheffield invasion lead by Solid State and MF Marek amongst others. All killer, no filler guaranteed.

Then the strong stumble a short distance to the Attic on the corner of Oxford and New Wakefield Street for the main event with Lucy Lockett and disco's most enthusiastic man, Ben Turner whipping the place up into a fervour. Basically what Ben has forgotten about disco most of us will never know, so get there early. As usual Al's flyer is outstanding.

On Easter Saturday, it'll be one year to the day since Northern Disco teamed up with Million Dollar Disco to bring the sound of 1970s New York to Manchester's ears (and feet). Rahaan flew in from Chicago for our first party and since then we've had the pleasure of welcoming the who's who of the disco world; Kon, Monk One, Sean P, Victor Rosado and the unforgettable Dimitri from Paris.

To celebrate our birthday we decided to rewind and bring back the DJ who was there on day one - Rahaan. We're flying him in from Chicago again for an exclusive Northern Disco set. But this time the venue will be right for him. The lights will be low, the balloons high and the system tweaked. For those who are unfamiliar with Rahaan, he's been making waves in Chicago for years, taking a big influence from his forefathers Hardy and Knuckles, editing his disco records beyond recognition and seriously rocking dancefloors. When his mixes started appearing on the whole world got to know about Rahaan. He's now becoming a regular visitor to Britain, though this is only his second visit to Manchester.

As if that wasn't enough, since it's a birthday celebration, we're pushing the boat out and throwing Kon into the mix too... Kon played for us at our first party in Mint Lounge last year, and totally blew us all away. His selection, DJ style and attitude reflect exacltly how we see our parties. One half of Kon & Amir, the Kings of Digging, this guy knows records! And knows how to play them. He and Amir have just released the first in their "Off Track" series on BBE, with another four volumes to follow. Meanwhile Kon continues in his endless search for those long forgotten records to unleash on dancefloors all over the world.

And Al Kent will be playing too. Al's a self confessed disco obsessive and Glasgow native, where he's been throwing his Million Dollar Disco parties for a few years now. His sets have earned him fans in the shape of Joey Negro and Dimitri from Paris (The kings of disco), with Joey describing him as "Scotland's answer to Walter Gibbons". In January this year, Al joined Kon as a BBE artist with the release of "Better Days" by The Million Dollar Orchestra, his first full length album, recorded over two years and currently receiving praise from all the right places.

We've specifically picked the Attic for this party, as we wanted somewhere intimate, the perfect setting for this kind of music. And, as always, no expense will be spared when it comes to decor. Balloons, streamers, drapes and the obligatory mirror balls will be plentiful!

Can't go wrong with that, can you? I'm not 100% sure but I think the event is sold out and it has been confirmed that they have a 6am licence, so it's a guaranteed roadblock.

Al Kent is the man behind Million Dollar Disco and a few months ago he released the frankly brilliant Better Days LP on BBE which he recorded in mostly one take, with a full orchestra and in an analogue studio. Al clearly doesn't mess around and to my ears the album is Al's love letter to the music and the producers that have shaped his musical influences and traditions. To me, the best compliment it has been paid is when people seem amazed that it was recorded in the 21st Century and that just shows the authenticity of the music on offer from Scotland's answer to Walter Gibbons. It's also one of those records that you can put on from start to finish and it works on all levels. Superb stuff, Al and get your Million Dollar Orchestra touring.

Out of respect for Al and what he does I've decided to put up only samples from Better Days and please go out and buy the album, you won't regret it. It gets five KUMOs.

Rock Freak Boogie (Sample)
Canal Street Bus Stop (Sample)
Doncha Wanna Get Down (Sample)
Keep on Doin' Whatcha Doin' (Sample)

To hear more samples and find out a bit more about the album have a little look here. To buy the album check your usual suspects like Juno and Piccadilly Records or you can buy it directly from BBE.

As an added bonus here are 17 edits that have been posted on the Million Dollar Disco forum for all of you to sink your teeth into. As Al says, 'They're only 96kbps MP3s, so please, don't embarrass yourself by attempting to play them in a club or bar.' If you download them then please sign-up to the forum and vote for your favourite and who knows, it may become available on a meaty, dancefloor erupting slab of wax. Get the edits from here.

Best of luck with all this Lee and Al, hope it's a blinder.

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