Deep in the heart of Brick Lane, where you have to step around the guys hustling you to eat in their Indian restaurants, where cars are parked in every conceivable space and the twenty-somethings of East London jostle for position with the suits on a night out ("Thursday night is the new Friday..."), tucked away up an alley, is the Big Chill Bar.
It has little in common with it's parent festival in deepest Herefordshire apart from the relaxed vibe, excessive consumption of alcohol, friendly staff and, it is hoped, fine music. I play there every few months and it's not my favourite gig for the simple reason that most people don't appear to be there for the music, so it's a constant battle between me turning it up to try and get it across and the punters shouting louder across their pints. But I have come to enjoy the experience of driving for four hours, struggling to find a parking space, and playing my favourite tunes for another four hours before wisely driving home in less than three hours across a quieter London and an open M3. Last night's music included the Sahara Allstars, Afrodesiac Soundsystem's Fela Kuti vs. Queen mashup, new Lightning Head material (my ape-screeching take on the theme from 2001; A Space Odyssey certainly upped the volume of the pint-shouters), some legendary deep funk old and new, Sinead O'Connor's lovely version of War, War's lovely instrumental version of In the Ghetto, the full-length take of Masterpiece by the Temptations, the evergreen Cymande's Bra, some punk-funk, Naked and Boy's cult classic (or it should be) Jimmy, and many others to numerous to remember. Nice to see Funky Jim (of ATT100 fame, to which I'm bringing my favourite Henry Cow, Fall and Captain Beefheart - among other - records on May 17) along with Dr Emmental, The Fly's Gerry Hectic and Andy from the Bays.
I return to London on March 22 on a tropical tip, with Equator Sound System (me and Guy Morley from Yam Yam) playing at the Big Chill House in Kings Cross. Tuned into some ground-breaking sounds from Mary Ann Hobbs on the trip back, some very cool dubstep and an amazing mix from Klute.