Photography: Aaron McManus

MR SCRUFF

The Kazimier 13/11/15

As we draw ever closer to its closure, The Kazimier seems, ironically, to be more alive than it’s ever been. Its swan song is a chorus that sounds titanic.

One such artist is the one and only MR SCRUFF, who has apparently been in line to play at the venue for a while but has not yet been able to do so due to scheduling conflicts. Tonight, though, he’s here and so are we. ‘We’, being about 500 or more excited individuals, who bustle about the large room chatting and laughing with one another. The atmosphere is warm and the anticipation is unbelievably high. This show sold out pretty quickly when the tickets were released and the run-up to the day of the show has felt similar to that of the run-up to Christmas.

The wheels of steel receive a slow-burning warm-up session from the Madnice Marauders DJs, who dip into their jazz and soul archives to set the scene. As the changeover occurs and Mr Scruff starts to ready himself, preparing his gear and sifting through the records, the crowd gather around the stage. Expectations are high.

The first beat drops and we’re immediately transported. Scruff’s first port of call is to delve into different styles of world music, covering Latin America, Africa and beyond. This is only the beginning of a monstrous five-hour mix and already Mr Scruff is delivering stylistically diverse cuts that are in tune and on time. Tonight is an all-vinyl celebration of turntablism in all its glory.

The rest of the mix showcases hip hop, gospel, soul, disco, funk and much more. The crowd dance furiously and even Mr Scruff shows us some of his own moves. He’s visibly thrilled; all smiles and nodding to the beat. This is nothing but a party.

Throughout the set there is the occasional emergence of one of Scruff’s own pieces. The reaction to the massive Music Takes Me Up has every hand in the air and every voice singing. The visuals on the screen at the back of the stage show dancing cartoons of Scruff’s creatures playing instruments as well as boomboxes, bass monitors and messages including “big up Liverpool massive”. That last one always generates a scream from the crowd.

This is one of the most energetic, diverse and powerful DJ mixes anyone is ever likely to witness. It’s a one-night-only pairing of a perfect set played in a perfect setting. It may be a little late on in The Kazimier’s lifespan, but it will surely become a big part of its history.

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