Alex Kidd, Live at Mission, Leeds
Hundreds of the 2½ thousand people who attended the excellent TW11 at Pontin's in Prestatyn back in March 2007 were privileged to see an impromptu performance, on the Sunday afternoon, by Alex Kidd.
This unscheduled affair took place in the cold afternoon sun, outside someone's chalet, and soon drew a large and appreciative crowd.
Alex was banging out tunes for fun and, as the word spread and the crowd got bigger, so did the tunes.
It was, without doubt, one of those occasions where people say afterwards "I wish I'd been there!" I still can't think about that weekend without hearing Loops and Tings and seeing Alex playing air violin.
This happening has now gone into legend as "Kiddfields"
This was the first time I had ever seen Alex Kidd.
I was blown away by the experience and decided to 'stalk' Alex for the rest of the year to see if he was a just a flash in the pan, or whether he really was as good as he seemed to be that afternoon.
The next time I saw him he was playing at the opening night of a new club in Glasgow called 'The Clinic' where he was just as good as I remembered, despite the fire alarm going off part way through his set.
He absolutely stormed the place.
The following night he was to be found blasting the Tidy tent apart at the excellent Coloursfest, also in Glasgow.
I managed to catch a few words with him after.
Amongst all the usual questions about what he'd been up to and where he'd been playing lately I asked him what he'd got planned for the rest of the summer and this is how I found out about Kiddstock, which was to be Alex's first foray into promoting a gig as well as playing at it.
And what a debut it turned out to be.
Held on a remote farm in the wild north of England, and featuring 30+ DJ's and 500+ specially selected fans of the best hard dance music on offer, it was a mini festival that, for me, was one of the highlights of last summer.
The atmosphere was fabulous; it was well organised and everyone there had an absolutely brilliant time and, at £10 a ticket, was surely the best value for money any clubber has had in a long time.
Top club brand Goodgreef (who have had a great year, especially at Amnesia in conjunction with Cream) and club clothing and lifestyle brand Contagious were on board as co-promoters/sponsors and, with the passion and commitment shown by everyone involved, it's hard to see how this could have been any better
Apart from the mutant smoke machine in the main tent, obviously.
Alex himself, Matt Hadder, Mark EG, Kym Ayres, Kutski and Gary Proud were outstanding, though it's probably not fair to single them out because everyone who played there was absolutely on top form.
The next time I was due to see Alex was at Globalgathering, but I got stuck in traffic and missed him, so I had to wait until Creamfields which, for me, is easily the friendliest, best organised and most compulsory dance festival in the country.
Despite some problems with the volume levels (noise abatement. can't upset the 20 people who live within half a mile of the site!) Alex totally nailed the crowd in the Tidy tent with some blistering tracks.
And then there was TW12, in October, which was even better.
Not only was it the most successful Tidy Weekender since TW5 (under the new head of events, Keiron Gallagher) but the standard of music was just incredible and the roll call of DJ talent on offer couldn't be bettered anywhere.
Alex's set was amazing.
Which brings us nicely to his appearance, on New Year's Day 2008, at Mission, in Leeds, for Goodgreef vs Sundissential.
As Julius Caesar said after upon arriving in England in 55BC. "Veni, Vidi, Vici." (If you didn't do Latin at school - and I didn't in case you're wondering; I saw this on the back of a beer mat years ago- it means 'I came, I saw, I conquered'
That is exactly what Alex did with a top-notch set that had everything.
It's been interesting for me to see how his sets have developed over the course of the year, with more hardstyle and more complex mixes as well as more intreraction with the audience though, to be fair, Alex has never been shy when it comes to working the crowd.
I saw him in the bar afterwards and asked him what were the highlights of last year, and what we can look forward to this year, here's what he had to say.
" Without a doubt Kiddstock was massive..such a different experience from when you go out DJing every weekend.
The clubs are what makes you and what I live for, but to be able to run a project, develop a concept and just have a team around me where we're all working towards the same goal is so much different from working in the studio, or getting prepared for a gig.
I had the promoters boots on for a change and, although I said I'd never be a promoter, it didn't feel like I was a promoter because I was organising an event that meant a lot to me."
He also revealed that plans are being made to take Kiddstock to Northern Ireland this year... "because the Irish and the Scottish have really started to pick up on Hardstyle this year and it's becoming the predominant music style in hard dance and, in Ireland, they just go absolutely ballistic. I was in Northern Ireland last night for New Year's Eve and I just know when we take Kiddstock over there it's just going to kick off big style."
Kiddstock International is not the only thing Alex is going to be springing on the world this year.
Manchester's K2 club is the venue for the launch of Kiddfectious, which is a new concept bringing together events, record label and a stable of artists under one banner at Kiddfectious vs Goodgreef on the 25th of January.
"Really it's just going to showcase all the DJs I support and the producers whose tunes I play, but more than that, it's just putting a stamp on what we're all about, because you've got your Tidy's and your Frantic's and your Goodgreef'sand stuff, but you don't really get the perception or the angle from the DJs. This will put a whole new slant on it cos I like to think of myself as more of a clubber than a DJ anyway, more of a raver, and this will just showcase what I'm all about."
For me, hearing a DJ play on a record is one thing.. you hear how technically good they are and you admire the mixing and all that; you marvel at the skill of it all and wish you were even half as good as them and you wonder how the hell they do it.
On the other hand, to be in the room when a really good DJ plays live is to witness something else altogether.
Obviously they will be technically good and there won't be any fuck ups with the mixing.
Their choice of tunes will be excellent and the set will flow seamlessly from start to finish and take you on a musical and emotional journey that should leave you drained and exhilarated.
What you will see and experience is total commitment and absolute conviction.
You will see into the very soul and mind of the artist as you and he/she become one in the music.
You will feel a bond you haven't felt since you were breast-fed.
At least that's the plan and there are only a limited number of DJs who can carry it off with the right combination of skill and charisma.
I truly believe Alex Kidd is one of those DJs and, if this year lives up to expectations, he is surely about to join clubland's elite.