ROMEO….MAGNIFICENT IN ALL ITS MANIFESTATIONS

Basement Jaxx had ended the 20th century as one of the hottest and most popular new pop/dance acts in the UK, thanks to debut album Remedy, a Top 5 hit that had also spawned four massive singles including the infectious Red Alert which was used on film soundtracks as well as the music in an advert for Coca-Cola.

It took a couple of years for the duo of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe to emerge with new material, and when they did, it was with this instant classic:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Released on 6 June 2001, it was met with enormous enthusiasm, helped immensely by a terrific video that paid homage to the Indian Bollywood films of the 70s.

Here’s a taste of the reaction from some of the media:-

It is groovy and luscious enough to be the next single from Destiny’s Child and can be likened to old school disco music. A bittersweet pop classic and will break your heart or make you dance in one frantic twitch, complete with a sassy disco-diva vocal, cornball lyrics, and cheesy new wave synths and background vocals that quickly establish the duo’s obsession with retro kitsch.

It’s also a frisky slip of spicy feminine pop perfectly tailored for maximum radio rotation (the lead vocal is delivered by UK R’n’B artist, Kele Le Rock).

But the song itself went beyond that tailor-made for the charts, as can be heard in this stripped-backed version that highlights it also works as a defiant feminine anthem that wouldn’t sound out of place at a Las Vegas cabaret night or the sort of song that Marc Almond would make a great job of covering:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Romeo (acoustic)

And finally, it was put in the hands of the Dewaele brothers, part of the Belgian indie-band Soulwax but who had branched off as 2 Many DJs under which they would become one of the world’s most sought after remix production team. One of their specialties was the mash-up in which the vocals from one song were played over the tune of another. Somehow, they made this one work with The Clash:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Magnificent Romeo

Originally issued as a 2 Many DJs white-label single, it was later included on a bonus disc when Basement Jaxx released a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation in 2005.

JC

CONCERT SOUVENIRS

Three times in my life have I been the recipient of something thrown from the stage by a singer or member of a band.

The first was many years ago when the Manchester racist, as has always been his wont, threw his shirt into the audience at the end of an encore, creating general mayhem in the vicinity of where it landed.  I reckon that initially when he started this particular caper, he wanted a fan to get a unique and valuable memento.  He probably hadn’t reckoned on the fact that his rabid fanbase wanted any part of the shirt and it was inevitably torn to shreds in an unsavory fashion akin to a pack of lions devouring an unfortunate gazelle.  Nowadays, knowing that’s how fans react, I reckon he takes great delight in watching the violence unfold beneath him.

Let’s just say that having very briefly thought about hanging onto the shirt, I gave up on the idea as I valued getting out of the venue without bruises or broken bones.

Incident #2 came on the first occasion that Belle and Sebastian decided to play Glasgow Barrowlands – it was back in 2001 if t’internet is correct – and they had a bit of fun by tossing confectionary into the audience at the start of the first encore.  One of these landed at my feet.

Now, to be fair, it was actually a tartan-coloured cardboard tube that landed at my feet, inside which was a stick of rock. Sadly, I would later discover when I got home that it didn’t have the words ‘Belle and Sebastian’ all the way through – from recollection it was just something like ‘A Gift from Scotland’ and as such, was no different or more collectible than something you could get in a sweet shop. It was eaten soon afterwards.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Boy Done Wrong Again

The third, and thus far, final, incident was at the very end of a Basement Jaxx gig at the Carling Academy, Glasgow in April 2009. This time, the prize was one of the pair of drumsticks hurled into the crowd at the very end of the final encore. I’ve still got that tucked away in a box under the stairs – or to be more precise, it belongs to Mrs Villain.

See, the thing is, on the previous two incidents the objects ended up with me when I very close to the stage. This time around, we were at the very the back of the lowest tier of the venue, with nobody behind us to push or shove us for the reason that Rachel was still recovering from a nasty fall some 10 days previously when she had been out running. She was cut and bruised in a few places, with the worst injury being a broken nose. Basement Jaxx gigs, as we knew from previous experience, can be quite boisterous affairs and it was all about keeping safe.

I would love to tell you that the drumstick landed at my feet, or that, as I spotted it come towards us I put up a hand and caught it as cleanly as a baseball outfielder pushed up against the boundary fence.

I really would love to tell you that.

The reality is that I didn’t see it until it was too late and could only cry out the word ‘drumstick’ as a warning to Rachel as to what was happening….and as the ‘k’ was sounded, the flying object hit her full in the face, including her nose.

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Red Alert

It all happened stupidly quickly and Rachel, unsurprisingly, burst into tears, more thankfully from the fright of what happened rather than the actual pain. The drumstick had traveled a fair distance to reach us and its downward trajectory meant it wasn’t quite at full pelt. But still, it was a scary few seconds looking at her face and praying to a non-existent god that there was no serious damage.

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At

If we had been more switched on, we’d have been straight onto social media to talk up the incident as no doubt there would have been some sort of apology and an offer from Felix and Simon to come to another gig to say hello. We would have quite liked that……

JC

 

HIPS SWAYING

It was back in the Autumn of 1999 that I first came across Basement Jaxx, thanks to two of their singles being played in all the pubs and clubs I found myself traipsing into on the Costa Del Sol while on a golfing holiday with a crowd of mates.

Now I’ve never been someone who has dismissed dance music as ‘not for me’, but to be honest I don’t have that much of the genre in the collection. But Red Alert and Rendez-Vu had become such an integral part of the week that I set out to track them down on my return to Glasgow.

In the end, I bought the LP Remedy and found that there was an awful lot to like about this lot. Indeed, not long afterwards they played a show at Glasgow Barrowlands and I dragged Mrs Villain along and we had a right good time despite being among the oldest folk in the venue, and that more than anything else convinced me that Felix and Simon were well worth keeping an eye on.

Since then, we’ve gone along to see them on a few more occasions and never been disappointed, although it’s fair to say that the shows at the Barowlands outshone those at the Academy, mainly due to the sound at the latter venue often being problematic. They’re an act that always get me off my seat and onto the dance floor – as can be testified by a good friend of ours who, somewhere, has video footage of myself and Mrs Villain dancing to Red Alert at his 40th Birthday party a number of years ago….the icing on the cake being it was a fancy dress bash and we were there as Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell.

I’ve also picked up cheap second-hand copies of the two singles that made such an inital impression; I flipped a coin on which to feature – the image at the head of this picture gives away which song won..as do the mp3s:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Rendez-Vu (single edit)
mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Miracles Keep On Playin’ (Red Alert Remix)
mp3 : Basement Jaxx – All U Crazies

Also forgot 2 Many DJs took a Basement Jaxx number and mashed it up with something by The Clash; it was made available on a bonus disc when the Jaxx released a Greatest Hits CD:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx vs The Clash – Magnificent Romeo

JC

JUST FOR YOU, HERE’S A LOVE SONG

indexFrom wiki:-

Romeo” is a song by British electronic dance duo Basement Jaxx, which was released on their second studio album Rooty (2001). The single was released on 4 June 2001 as the first single from the studio album. The song received acclaim from music critics, with many referring it as one of the best dancefloor anthems to date. The song also had good commercial success, becoming one of Basement Jaxx’s top international hits, peaking at number six in their native UK, and also scored a top ten in countries like the US, Norway and New Zealand.

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Critics used words like joyful, bouncy, cheerful and catchy. And to all intent and purposes, the tune and thus the song is just that. But, just as Billy Bragg‘s stripping back of Jeane (as featured a few weeks back) demonstrated a new feel to a song, so does this specially recorded version for a BBC Radio 1 session:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Romeo (acoustic version)

Not so joyful and cheery now……….