Having had a week to recover, now feels like a good time to recap on August bank holidays’ Moovin Festival. After seeing Lee Scratch Perry and A Certain Ratio share the same bill there last year, I was wondering how they were going to top what for me was one of the best performances I’ve ever been witness to. The Ape Man had been everything I’d wanted him to be and with nearly 30 years of ACR gig experiences under my belt this was without a doubt the best gig I’d ever seen them do, with Denise Johnson being particularly incredible.
So the standard had been raised ridiculously high for Moovin 2017 but it’s fair to say it equalled the musical majesty of the previous year and proved just as much fun to attend. In fact apart from an incident involving a very oddly attired couple falling into me, spilling half my pint all over me and then just staring up into space rather than apologising, it was the perfect weekend.
Things kicked off on the Friday night with exotic world music-esque tunes from Djembeklan and a sterling set from Henge who are like a Millennial reincarnation of Gong and really know how to put on a show. Saturday’s line-up was an incredibly dubby affair-r-r-r-r-r-r-r (see what I did there) with the Mad professor and Gentleman’s Dub Club both doing their best to blow the bass-bins before the legendary Roy Ayers took to the stage. Everybody loves the sunshine and everybody loved Roy Ayers who left us all with a beatific smile on our faces before mixologist DJ Brace upped the pace and segued nicely into more bass bin abuse from Roni Size. I missed DJ sets from local heroes Greg Wilson, Mick Pickering and Graeme Park but friends tell me that they delivered the goods and had heads bobbing with glee in the Udder One tent.
Sunday was the main event for me as despite having seen the Happy Mondays live a fair few times I’d never managed to see Black Grape live. Shaun & Kermit arrived characteristically late to a mass of applause that followed an amazing gig from the 808 State posse. To be honest I’d have paid the entrance fee alone just to hear Shaun & Kermit’s on stage comedy routine, with the ruthless rap assassin playfully winding SWR up throughout the concert who at one point reminisced about writing ‘Get Higher’ together in 1997. “We hated each other when we wrote this didn’t we Shaun? We wrote it in a wardrobe whilst smoking crack. We both wanted to get off but couldn’t as we both knew there was some crack left and didn’t want to miss out. Crack wardrobe!: Kermit also showed off about having died twice thanks to his chemically dependent past whilst boasting “that’s one more time than Jesus!”.
Despite their colourful pasts and now both being in their fifties they put on an extraordinary show that covered all the best numbers from It’s Great When you’re straight, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid and the new album Pop Voodoo. I love the fact that Black Grape still defy categorisation and that their songs can still make you piss yourself laughing at the same time as jumping up and down like a nutter to their grooves. Which is is the best vibe to leave a festival on isn’t it? Laughing and jumping up and down like a nutter. Top marks to Moovin Festival, 2017 is going to take some beating but I’m sure you can do it.