From dreamy DIY to acid house: a rundown of November’s Strange Parade

A few weeks ago the UML held its first Strange Parade of the 15/16 academic year and we were super pleased with how it turned out! Strange Parade is a ‘live mixtape’, where UML members and local bands come together to create an eclectic night of music, hosted at the wonderful Wharf Chambers. Here’s a basic rundown of what went down for those who missed it/are eager to relive, and be sure to get in touch with us via email if you’d like to be involved with the next one – we’ll be looking for local acts and UML members who’d like to DJ (or who have any other idea for a performance), and no experience is required!

After a few delays with soundchecks, Stephen Daniels’ finally got things underway for us with a mix of car-boot sale records and various 7-inches. There were plenty of hidden gems (Annie Lennox included), which were all beautifully weaved together by Stephen, who is now a regular at our weekly Friday night residency at Old Bar. Helena Goode followed things up with a wonderful Bjork vs. Drake set (UML are famously trendsetters and you should all expect this to become the next big thing), after which our first band of the night Kumiko delivered a half-hour set of their warm and dreamy alt-rock songs, rounding up a perfectly mellow start to the evening.

Next up, we had Max Omamogho and Harvey Coleman’s battle of the super producers, featuring Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) and Timbaland productions. The pair filled their 45 minutes effortlessly with every track being a hit and getting the dancefloor going like only Missy Elliott can.

Sam Wang and Ryan Lewis kept things suitably eclectic for a Strange Parade with a techno set to follow. They went deep and dark and gave a great taste of one of the finest genres that Leeds is a driver for. If you dug this then don’t miss SECT at Wharf Chambers next Friday, featuring Clouds (Turbo, Soma Recordings) and raising money for the very worthy cause of War Child.

There was a lot of excitement for our second band of the night, Zozo. The CHUNK legends’ energy was incredible and infectious. If you haven’t listened to them or seen them live yet you’re missing a treat. Frontman Fred is also part of UML’s favourite club community Come Thru with Harvey, and you can hear them on the KMAH Radio airwaves every other Sunday at 6pm.

Next up to the decks were two masked marauders, who we are now at liberty to reveal were Andrew Kemp and Ranyue Zhang (who DJs as Slowcook) – two of our regular Friday Old Bar residents, who played a set of all-Asian music. This had curveballs galore, from the chilled to the intense trap music of Howie Lee.

To close we had Oliver Walkden’s acid house set. Oli is another Old Bar regular, where he’s more known for his high energy disco selections. The obvious musical freedom that Strange Parade provides got him thinking though, and he landed on this concept because he feels that, in our current state of politics, the values posited by rave culture in the 80s and 90s are starting to regain relevance. In his words, ‘both apolitical and, by paradox, implicitly politically engaged, acid house fought against conservatism and acted as the soundtrack to a disenchanted youth.’ Both politically relevant then and also full of squelchy bangers – we couldn’t have asked for a better end to the night (evident by the very long encore, sorry Wharf!). The dancefloor was full and thriving and Oli’s selections provided us with some of the same solace that the ravers of the 80s and 90s were seeking.

We were delighted with how it went, from the turnout to the great mix of performers we had, and we can’t wait for the next one. Be sure to join us for our screening of Wildness on Tuesday, and if you like the sound of what you’ve read, our final Old Bar session of the term will be happening from 9pm this upcoming Friday.

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Tom O’Rourke

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