Southport Weekender 41 Review, 2/3/4th Nov 2007

Southport Weekender 41 Review
2/3/4th Nov 2007

Jazzie B

The brilliance of Southport Weekender continues. From the momentous 40th Weekender in May SW41 continues the joyous celebrations of its 20th year of partying with some of the best cuts - from the best DJ's on the planet.

Southport Weekender is all about the love of black soul music and all the extensions of that sound from the Northern Soul days to the progressive loosely based jazz sounds that you can hear in the Bacardi Bar. There's stomping house tunes in the Powerhouse and the best of r'n'b and hip hop in the Alize Funkbase. What's testament to Southport is the loyal party people who make this weekend what it is. The event sold out four months before the event without even common knowledge of the line up. This shows how much trust and love the crowd have for Southport and indeed there's no way they're going home without having a good time.

It was great to see faces from the 40th Weekender at the November one. It was like a home coming. There were also a lot of first timers who must have been pulled by the Southport vibe and the reputation of the last one. We were lucky this year as it wasn't that cold compared to past Weekenders in November. Obviously it's going to be different in November to May as the nights are longer and the sunshine less frequent however this didn't seem to deter the loyal Southport crowds love for the music and desire to have a good time. As soon as we got there everyone was ready to go, with fresh blood wanting a peace of the action and regulars still buzzing from the last one. The DJ's that have made Southport what it is were there in force like Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson, Giles Peterson, Snowboy, Bob Jones, Terry Jones, Bob Jefferies and Simon Mansell all making an appearance and showing their loyalty to a party that has spanned 20 years. It's pretty hard to beat a Southport line up. Every DJ here is totally on their game, either a master, regular or new cutting edge hot shot on the brink of big things. There's no denying the Southport tunes are hot and if you're playing with the best you've got to be on your game. The Southport crowd wouldn't expect any less.

So we rocked up on Friday night full of anticipation. We went straight into the Alize Funkbase at the tell end of a dynamite set by the talented Rahsaan Patterson, a perfect way to set the standard for the weekend. Bigger continued the vibe with his killer tracks and lively comparing. The party was getting warmed up. Steve `Smooth' Sutherland played some interesting tracks and even a grime track that went down well. We then went to the B-Live Arena where Snowboy and Mad Mats were playing some serious fusion funk-jazz progressive stomping bass lines that was vibing everyone big time. It was very difficult not to dance in there. Lady Alma featuring Mark De Clive Lowe was one of the first live acts in the B-Bar and it went down well with Lady Alma displaying good vocals. For the rest of the evening it couldn't get much better for a line up with Jaime Lewis, Karizma and the mighty Todd Terry in the Powerhouse. Giles Peterson, Henrik Schwartz, Rainer Truby in the B-Bar and Norman Jay, Simon `Schoolboy' Phillips and DJ Swerve in the Funkbase. Oh and don't think the cold weather deters the Southport crowd to keep going all night. The chalet parties were still in force.

Saturday came and what we a treat we had that day. The Fatback Band and Soul II Soul were playing live in concert!! The Fatback Band being all time true legends of funk music and Soul II Soul changed the face of British music as we know it. The Fatback Band displayed great musicianship and a good time feeling that really brought up the crowd.

We ducked into the B-Bar to see Colin Paterson playing some deep tunes with Basil Black2Basic on percussion giving a dazzling display of mastery. But it was Soul II Soul I was most looking forward to seeing. Jazzie B walked onto the stage with a host of musicians. I don't think anyone was expecting to see Rose Windross and Caron Wheeler take the stage! Both singers showed immense power soul vocals and reminded us of those club classics we've all grown to love. It was quite a privilege. The blend of sounds with instruments such as violins made the experience enthralling and interesting and took us through the history of Soul II Soul. I think most of us were left inspired and it was time to get some respite time for the big Saturday night.

Saturday night was going to be a big one. We went down to see Christian Prommer's Drumlesson Live in concert that was tight, uplifting and seriously funky. Michelle Weeks live in the Powerhouse was well worth watching and really got the crowd going. Tony Humphries got the privilege of doing his 50th birthday special straight after.

We had to go see the legendary Marley Marl, prolific hip hop producer, play a class set of old skool hip hop in the Funkbase. We dipped into the Connoisseurs' Corner to see the mighty Leroy Burgess hit us with some serious soul and a class rare groove set by DJ Spinna that gets one of the best sets of the event in my book. I had to go back to the Funkbase to hear Shortee Blitz and Trevor Nelson to remind myself why Southport is what it is hearing r'n'b classics and bad boy hip hop. Back to the Powerhouse to see Keri Chandler before the end was in sight but don't forget the party never stops at Southport and it was chalet 184 that dropped the best party at Southport this time.

Sundays are always good at Southport. Some need to get back home as so many people travel from all over the country or even the world to get here. It's best to book Monday off and see it through to the end. DJ Simon Mansell and DJ DA Costa play straight down the line disco to get you feeling universal. There wasn't as much P-Funk in that room as last time which I missed although we were lucky to hear Sugarush Beat Company live in the Funkbase. It was interesting to hear a guitar based band that kinda' worked but there's denying the sweet vocals in this band. So the finale happened to be Sounds Of Blackness. Lovers of Southport knew there was no way this truly soulful outfit would disappoint. Playing uplifting and mesmerising soul tracks it was a great way to end to the 20th year celebrations. There were many a happy person and lots of fresh blood who no doubt have been hooked by the Southport buzz. There's no doubt Southport will keep going from strength to strength. The regulars make Southport but the word is out and we look forward to more people experiencing Southport and continuing to make it what it is. Bring on the summer!!

Tareck Ghoneim