Mr Scruff is a legend. Let’s just establish that early on, ok?
His influence reaches far and wide. He’s one of those DJs/producers who:
This was my third time seeing him and the levels of excitement were as high as ever. The results are some truly eclectic sets that makes punters have to choose between getting their phone out to Shazam a track or just be in the moment and skank harder.
Listen to his mixcloud if you want proof. You can fight me on that, and you will lose.
Walking into Hifi Club, the venue for the night’s impending sweatiness, I was greeted with a distinctly red room and the disco ball still glinted. The array of vinyl and CDs on display you walked inside was enough to make Shazam crash: we were definitely in for a treat. The vibe was set... Tom from Cosmic Slop began the night grinning from cheek to cheek and singing along to his glorious gems. There was a remix of Q Tip and Busta Rhymes that I’d never heard before and blew my mind. Immediately I was dancing, thus setting the tone for the whole night.
In my case I had to try and time my photo-taking moments well with writing this and letting loose...I’ll admit, I did my best but the groove soon ensnared me.
Tom even dropped some traditional Nyabinghi rasta riddims that connected me with my heritage in a totally unexpected way. He definitely got everyone’s hips and necks moving and relaxed enough for them to want more...and by midnight, HiFi was packed.
The crowd was a mishmash of ages which I’d come to expect at Mr Scruff events but this time, there seemed to be a slightly younger majority. Needless to say, everyone was after the house party vibe and it was certainly delivered in bucket loads of audio awesomeness.
Then Mr Scruff appeared, beaming equally as much as Tom as they began going back to back. Scruff was kind enough to invite me onstage to take more pictures and even complimented my dance moves. His humbleness really shines through when he plays, you can tell he loves what he does and works hard to make every set unique.
All of the feels, tempos, rare genres, skull-busting basslines and house party vibes were there, coupled with afro beat, latin vibes, 90s house, slow funk, twisted hiphop. Every record was rare but also new to our ears, and it was glorious. Scruff would play with the frequencies, cutting the bass, mids and/or highs out to get the crowd even more hyped up...and once all the frequencies were back in the mix, we’d cheer, jump, shout, wolf whistle and continue the celebration.
It was as though Tom and Scruff had reunited us with summer back for one night. Perhaps that was why the room was red, to signify an extended sunset on a beach somewhere? Who knows. I was caked in sweat by this point.
Friends who didn’t know other mates were attending would yell out and dance over to each other, creating bigger friendship spaces within the packed venue. Others made new friends and danced together, I was involved in a mini dance off (as you do, happens everytime I go to a Scruff gig...can’t complain!).
Plus he sneakily mixed in “Fish” and once the main chorus part of the track shone through, there were wolf whistles galore!
Overall, the humble musical camaraderie between Scruff and Tom was electric and to see them look up into the crowd or find a beautiful tune to put on next and smile, or crack a joke between the two of them, was a clear signal that they both genuinely love what they do. By the end of it, the crowd was all sweaty, hyped up and smiling as the kaleidoscope of rich melodies, drum solos and bass lines from every genre imaginable swayed us into the early hours of the morning with foot-stomping and hip-swaying ease.
Scruff and Tom love music, and enjoy sharing their libraries with people who are keen to be caked in sweat from dancing.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s extremely keen to see the two play together again.
Photos courtesy of Nicole Raymond