The Big Mix - Rich Mix, London
The Big Mix is a one day event organised by Macmillan Cancer Support that takes place in East London, featuring over 80 acts delivering music, comedy and cabaret at nine venues, with the money raised helping to improve the lives of people living with cancer. This was the third time the event had been held in Shoreditch (it's previously been known as the Brick Lane Takeover) but was my first time of attending. It was a bit of a dreich day in the Capital so I was glad all the acts I wanted to view were under the one roof - Rich Mix on Bethenal Green Road.
My main reason for attending the Mix was to catch sets from The Pipettes and Cocknbullkid, who were both playing late afternoon / early evening sessions but I popped down a lot earlier so I could see what Kid British were up to. I'd seen the band play a couple of gigs back in 2009 and was impressed both times with their full on boisterous performances. The band's musical output mixes up Indie, Ska and Hip Hop, usually delivered by three vocalists. Unfortunately one of the singers wasn't able to make the London show so the band ploughed on without him. They seemed to miss their absent vocalist slightly and I may be wrong but they also looked like they were having problems with a sampler so they weren't as good as I remembered them for the first part of their set. Things did pick up though as the gig went on and the last couple of numbers showed the band really on form, with stage invasions from a few of the fans they had in the house adding to the proceedings.
I had a couple of bands to sit through before The Pipettes took to the stage and they were both worth watching, with London's Bleeding Heart Narrative very interesting at times and Nottingham's Yunioshi producing a couple of really fun uptempo tracks.
Bleeding Heart Narrative
I was a big fan of the classic Pipettes line up so was disappointed when two of the members quit the band in 2008. I caught singer Gwenno performing with her sister Ani and further new addition Beth a year or so later at The Roundhouse but hadn't viewed the girl's live since.
Beth left the band a few months after she joined leaving the two sisters to front the group, backed by The Cassettes, with the girls releasing album number two, Earth vs. The Pipettes, last year. The band were originally known for their retro 60s sound but their sophomore release has taken a slight detour adding a bit more of a modern dance element into the mix. I can't really say I've ever warmed completly to the collection compared to their previous work but live it was a different story as the new material sounded great alongside the "oldies" that were given an airing. Gwenno and Ani certainly brought smiles to the faces of the majority of the audience as they busted out their moves, causing a few to join in, especially during set closer "Pull Shapes".
Cocknbullkid's debut album Adulthood is one of the finest pop collections of 2011. I'd managed to watch Anita performing a brief stripped down acoustic set at Brighton's Great Escape Festival back in May so had hoped to hear a full band set up at the Big Mix so was a tiny bit disappointed when I found out another "unplugged" performance was on the cards. It was only as I wanted to hear what the album tracks sounded like live with a full band sound as I certainly couldn't complain about the standard of the actual songs on offer, especially the stupendous version of single "Asthma Attack". Mind you I should really take a point off for Anita not playing "Hoarder" as she delivered a great version of it at the Escape but I'll let it slide as it was her birthday and she did throw in a decent cover of Plan B's "She Said"!
Although I'd seen the acts that I'd attended the Mix for I decided to hang around for another couple of hours. I didn't really take in much of UK singer Clare Maguire perfomance whilst photographing her apart from the fact that she only seemed to play three or four songs, which I thought was strange as everyone else played much longer.
There was a large crowd gathered by the time Newton Faulkner took to the stage. Newton wasn't the last live act to play but he was certainly the headliner in most people's eyes. Newton performed solo, completely winning the crowd over from the off. I'm not a huge fan personally of the man's work but as a guitarist certainly admire his playing skills and he always comes across as an extremely likeable character onstage. I'm not too sure of the contents of Mr Faulkner's set but he did end it on a great note with a cover of Massive Attack's "Teardrop", his own "big hit' "Dream Catch Me" and finished the evening with his party piece - "Bohemian Rhapsody", complete with mammoth crowd singalong.
The crowd had really thinned once Newton's set had ended but there were still a few people assembled for folktronica musician James Yuill. I hung around for a couple of songs and although it wasn't really my thing I did notice a few people, eyes closed, lost in Mr Yuill's beats as I made my way out the building so I'm sure the party continued for a while, especially as there was a "Guilty Pleasures" session straight after James's set.