In a year fundamentally defined by villains, my three musical hero’s of 2016 are all women who have, in their own ways stood against the insidious creeping Right Wing Populism of 2016. Let’s keep things light…’eh PJ Harvey – *Not my image. It’s Brexit + 2 days. I’m stood calf deep in slurry in front of the Other Stage and PJ Harvey is astonishing. With absolute poise she works through a set heavy on songs from her new album, and the 2011 Mercury Prize winning Let England Shake. Now imbued with extra meaning following Friday’s referendum result, she doesn’t say a word to the audience. Instead, half way through her set she reads the poem ‘No Man Is An Island’ by John Donne. Written in 1624. It strikes a nerve. “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Kate Tempest –
*Not my image
“Let Them Eat Chaos”… Quite.
It’s a Sunday night in December, and it’s a cold, cold night in this city. Lets call her Birmingham. In a small room in the Digbeth Institute, Kate Tempest rages through her album. She starts with Picture A Vacuum, and ends with Tunnel Vision. “That’s it” she says. “There is no encore” she says. “I’ve said everything I want to say.” No one in the room minds, what they’ve seen this evening will last in the memories for a long time. Her words and story telling are deeply affecting. There is a huge storm coming, and Kate Tempest is stood in the rain pleading with us to wake up, and love more.
“…Till love is unconditional
The myth of the individual has left us disconnected, lost, and pitiful I’m out in the rain It’s a cold night in London And I’m screaming at my loved ones to wake up and love more I’m pleading with my loved ones to wake up and love more”
The Black Madonna –
*Not my image
It’s the middle of the night in Block 9 at Glastonbury. There is too much mud, and too many people, and I’m trying to get into the NYC Downlow nightclub. It’s never going to happen.
I’m trying to get into the best club in the country to see one of the best DJs in the world. That DJ is The Black Madonna. I decide to cut my losses and head for bed, and as I do, one of the bodies pushing past me in the opposite direction is The Black Madonna herself. Another time I sigh.
It’s Midnight in an underground car park in central Manchester, and word gets round that the two headline DJ’s at tonight’s Warehouse Project party have cancelled. The upshot to this is that The Black Madonna gets pushed up the bill to headline. That’s just fine by me!
At times this year just congregating with friends and strangers to have fun has felt dangerous and subversive. When the message is fear the different, the answer has to be The Black Madonna. The Black Madonna, and House Music,
Have a look at the Resident Adviser ‘Between The Beats’ documentary below.