Words by Ed King
On Saturday 28th July, DJ Format and DJ Pogo headline a day of hip hop, breaks, summer beats, break dancing, and sizzling snacks at The Brum Do Over BBQ – as presented by Scratch Club, Breakfest, and The Yardbird.
Entry is free, gratis, zip, nada, zilch… leaving some room in the pocket for whatever’s looking good on the grill and the cocktails that should be floating around somewhere. It is officially summer, after all.
Coming up from Brighton, DJ Format is a stalwart of UK hip hop – cutting his teeth with Jurassic 5 and DJ Shadow back in the early noughties, then stamping his authority with his revered debut album, Music for the Mature B-Boy (2003), and ‘tougher sound’ sophomore, If You Can’t Join ‘Em… Beat ‘Em (2005). DJ Format’s latest LP, Still Hungry, was recorded alongside MC Abdominal and released on AFF Records in 2017.
Travelling from a little further afield, DJ Pogo is one of the founders of DMC Brazil – setting up the South American arm of the DJ competition after being crowned the UK Champion in 1997. An ambassador for the Brazilian turntable movement, DJ Pogo also has a strong name on the UK scene as the man behind remixes and productions for UK rap troupes such as London Posse, Demon, and Monie Love.
For direct event information about the The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, check out the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.
So why a ‘do over?’ We get the BBQ bit, but as the event itself declares ‘the do over is a chance to do something over and over again to right a wrong or make something better.’ The key to this is the promoter collaboration; skip back to the first line of this BPREVIEW and say those words out loud. If you’re of a certain age, stage, or sensibility you’ll get this straight away. But if you’re not, allow me to furnish you with a little of Birmingham’s cultural back catalogue.
Before the centre of town was permanently ‘under construction’, and the revolving glass doors of Paradise Forum were still turning (and stalling, and stalling again) there’s was a feisty little independent music venue called The Yardbird. A proper meeting place for artists and performers, The Yardbird had jazz, funk, hip hop, and roots running through it’s small yet well endorsed veins – seeing the rise of DJs like five times World DMC Mixing Champion Mr Switch nestled alongside the great, good, and going to be huge from the jazz fraternity at Birmingham Conservatoire.
As eclectic as Birmingham can be, The Yardbird was quite simply a home away from home for many musicians and music lovers alike. Then one Tuesday evening a new hip hop, freestyle, and breaks night opened called Scratch Club… eight years later and the event packed around 200 people into The Yardbird every fortnight without fail. Until The Yardbird closed, and a sigh was heard echoing round the city.
It sounds romantic, sure, but just mention a few of these names to certain people in certain corners of this city and see their reaction. The Yardbird was one of those ‘special places’ for many people in Birmingham, with the regular success of Scratch Club born from an open mic/open door policy and supported by a venue whose firm drive was the music.
And now the partners that brought that touch of magic to our city’s soundscape are back – taking over The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, with DJ Format and DJ Pogo headlining a crew of DJs and dancers including DJ Mushroom (Breakfest), Automoton (Scratch Club), Ill Boogs & Rob Life (Breakin Bread), DJ Silence/Tha Tarmac Nomad (Break Mission), DJ Junk (Second to None) and the man who opened, owned, and ran The Yardbird – Ollie Lloyd.
“A ‘do over’ is actually an American expression, it literally means to do something again,” explains Tom Dunstan – aka Automaton, and the promoter of Birmingham’s Scratch Club. “Sometimes it’s to right a wrong, sometimes to do something better than you have in the past, however, in this case, it’s to work in collaboration with Breakfest, Scratch Club and The Yardbird.
Historically, we’ve each helped one other out from time to time and collaborated at music and dance events. But this is the first time all three of our brands have stood up together to do something like this.
In a music scene that can be divided at the best of times, we’re genuinely bringing this show to Brum in the spirit of unity. It’s being held in an independently owned, off grid venue; it’s entirely a not-for profit music showcase and, therefore, completely free to attend. I hope it’s the first of many.”
And I’m sure many would agree. But the bricks and mortar that bound you all together shut around three years ago; despite being the hottest British summer on recent records, what’s the impetus for a ‘do over’ now?
“Well, some might say that there is a rare planetary alignment of the hip hop and funk planets over Birmingham on Saturday the 28th of July,” explains Ollie Lloyd, who opened The Yardbird back in 2007, “but I’d suggest it’s more the case that everyone on the bill has a long standing relationship with Darren (DJ Mushroom) and also many of the DJ’s have roots in the Midlands so I’m sure there will be a few family catch ups on Saturday.
What started off as Mushroom looking for a venue to put on DJ Pogo, whilst he is visiting the UK from Brazil, grew into something bigger and funkier than was ever planned. It’s not often you see a line up in Birmingham with the calibre of DJ’s that this session offers, but luckily everyone involved was available and happy to contribute their records and skills for what promises to be a legendary meeting of musical minds and sounds.
As owner of now-closed The Yardbird Jazz Club, I had the pleasure of hosting Format, Pogo, and Rob Life over the years, all DJ’s that have instant power and musical charisma over a dance floor and created some of my favourite memories at the venue. Darren is a good friend of mine, someone that I met through his involvement as main organiser of the Breakfest B-Boy events that used to be held nationwide. Tom (Dunstan/Automaton) is an old friend who launched Scratch Club at the bird, which ran with us for many years. Not forgetting DJ Junk, legendary Bournemouth based producer and b-boy (Second 2 None Crew) and Ill Boogs, heavy weight funk/breaks producer (and b-boy too) on the Breakin’ Bread label .
It’s a nice feeling to work with a collection of Birmingham promoters (and friends) to pull together an event that is just for two things – the music and the people. Our gift to Brum is the perfect line up in the coolest outdoor space, absolutely free, and packing in 10 hours of the slickest funk, soul, hip hop and breaks known to man.”
DJ Format & DJ Pogo headline The Brum Do Over BBQ at The Hawker Yard on Saturday 28th July, in a collaborative event from Scratch Club, Breakfest and The Yardbird. Entry is free, with a range of food and drinks available on site all day. For direct event information, visit the Facebook Event Page by clicking here.
For more from Scratch Club, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/scratchclubbirmingham
For more on The Hawker Yard, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hawkeryard.com
NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.
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