Snow blogging @ Snowbombing
By DanVF on 30 March 2009
“Because 2 Many DJs were stuck in traffic we got an hour extension, but it does mean we have to stop at 10.30,” a voice announces dimming down the chant of “one more tune.”Luckily the evening is just getting started then…
Much worth the wait, 2 Many DJs are sublime this evening. They may’ve left a vocal or two at home but a selection of their best remixes including ‘Hey Girl Hey Boy’ by The Chemical Brothers, The Gossip and, track of the set, MGMT’s ‘Kids’ make sure the crowd amongst the alpine evergreen forest will enjoy a set they’re unlikely to forget.
Beardyman plays on because 2 Many DJs are stuck in traffic – just what does it take to get a headliner over here?
“I’ve been partying for three days,” Beardyman tells the crowd, "and my voice is completely fucked!" As rough as he looks – is that a beard young man? – the beatboxer hammers out a hit heavy set which includes Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, a little Duran Duran and even the theme tune to 90’s children game show Funhouse. “Who fancied the twins off of Funhouse?” he asks the crowd, “fuck it they were fit man!”
Hidden through the woods, and performing out of what seems to be half a Scandinavian lodge, Layo And Bushwakca! drop their own ‘Love Story’ and the saxophone echoes out around the entire valley.
The one thing this festival has been full of is killer sets, and as Chase and Status launch into Mr Oizo’s cut of ‘Killing In The Name’ they make sure their performance will be etched into Snowbombing history.
With Chase and Status having their set pushed back to witching hour, the Racket Club is packed by the time they take to the stage. They kick off with some drum n bass before flooring the crowd with some heavy dubstep. Remixes of The Streets ‘Blinded By The Lights’ and Rusko’s ‘Cockney Thug’ by Caspa keep the tempo up before the duo drop their own ‘Snoop Dogg Millionaire’ back to back with ‘Against All Odds’.
On the way back down towards town, and with Captain America crowd surfing over the hoards in the ski lift, I meet a pair of enthusiastic 16 year olds at their first Snowbombing. Mike from Cumbria tells me: “It’s the best festival in the whole bloody world,” with his friend Jah adding: “I’ll be back next year, without a doubt.”
The igloo is rammed with the ice walls melting and dripping onto the sell out crowd below as Cagedbaby spins a house set peppered with a few crowd pleasers. The Chemical Brothers ‘Do It Again’ and a mash-up of Daft Punk and Justice’s ‘D.A.N.C.E.’ make sure that Fatboy Slim’s absence tonight should go unnoticed. That and the five free drinks revellers are given on entry.
The hottest ticket of the week is the Southern Fried night at the Arctic Disco and as the crowd walk up the torch-lit side of the mountain towards the bonfire outside the venue it looks like it could be very special indeed.
Greg Wilson is playing a funk and disco set up at the Artic Disco. There are moments like this, when the sun is out and Wilson drops tracks like Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ as people drift down the piste and you have to ask - does life really get any better than this?
Men In Masks are getting sweaty in the Schussel, one dressed in a Stormtrooper helmet and the other in a golden Mexican wrestling mask. The busy club is pumping along to the duo’s fidget house, with the DJs themselves unable to stand still. But with the smell of the built in kebab and pizza shop the lure of food and bed is just too much…
After an hour’s history lesson of the some of the best hip hop tracks ever made, Grandmaster Flash leaves the stage even more of a legend than when he walked on – sublime programming.
“I don’t care who made the record, as long as it has a beat. So to Flash, this is a hip hop record,” the DJ announces before thundering into Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
The crowd are really bouncing for Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ – the first ever number one with a rap in it – and Run DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’.
The Racket Club is the busiest it has been all week for hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash. Queen’s ‘Flash’ is playing while the screen behind the decks tells the story of how Grandmaster started DJing, with the man himself narrating: “In the seventies, people were scared to touch the record, I changed all that.”
He kicks off his set with his own track ‘The Message’ setting the tone of the performance with quick mixes of killer tunes as he flips into KRS One's ‘Sound Of Da Police’.
As the rumbling drums of The Jam’s ‘Going Underground’ begin, Barry Peters gives a shout out over the microphone: “this one is going out to Joe Fritzl, we’re going underground.”
Mobile disco Barry Peters is throwing down some party tracks – think Rainbow and AC/DC – while his son Kevin Peters and Dave Japan (all three are part of The Cuban Brothers crew) do a dance routine that apparently got them 16th place in a recent dance competition in Ghent, Belgium. “They’re definitely not gay,” Peters tells the crowd, “they’re definitely not gay.”
Thousands of people have packed outside one of the ski lifts to drink and groove along to the mellow house of Dave Beer including some smurfs, Osama Bin Laden, a few soldiers and Barry Peters from Halifax Radio.
It’s the first time that Snowbombing has the communal atmosphere of Glastonbury or Bestival, but with the mountains providing the most serene of backdrops; this really is something very special indeed.
They've closed off the main road in the town for the traditional street party which includes mobile bars, DJs and the return of the brass band from earlier on this week. Dave Beer, Russ from The Cuban Brothers and Beardyman are all set to rock the road in the coming hours. Much better than the street parties held for the Queen's coronation back in 1953...
The View seem a lot better as they pack their bags onto their coach ready to leave with a few girls in tow.
And I seem to have found it in behemoth bassline brothers Plump DJs. The pair have The Arena rammed, with a one-in-one-out policy in place. Dangermouse seems to be the real celebrity in the place though, high-fiving people outside the toilets.
Goldierocks takes over at the Schussel with some obvious electro tunes. Mixing may not be her bag, instead she’s gone for tracks from Little Boots, Herve’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ and a remix of the Aeroplane remix of Friendly Fires’ ‘Paris’. Yawn – I’m off to find something other than Zane Lowe’s playlist.
Jaguar Skills mashes up hip hop, indie, drum n bass, reggae and dubstep in a manic set that has the Schussel steaming with sweat and sticky from Jager-bombs.
Finishing on ‘Mountains’ Biffy are like a rocking avalanche that’s destroyed The Racket Club in one fatal swoop – outstanding.
Biffy Clyro trash out one of the best live performances of the week with a wall of girls on shoulders blocking The View for rest of the crowd during ‘Now I’m Everyone’ which is segued into a mammoth rendition of ‘Who’s Got A Match’.
No Fakin DJs are bashing out party tunes before Biffy Clyro come on. The Jungle Book’s ‘King Of The Swingers’ babbles over Charles Wrights' 'Express Yourself’, while a Cuban cut of ‘Girls Of Film’ and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Crosstown Traffic’ get the crowd grooving.
Hitting the slopes with Chase And Status for a beginners ski lesson. See, musicians aren’t that cool underneath it all, practising snow ploughs down the nursery slope.
But today’s not the day for snoozing with James Zabiela storming The Arena - an underground club beneath the floors of the hotel. A hectic blur of stabbing buttons, spinning discs and house mayhem keeps the crowd bouncing before the DJ prepares to go back to back with Nic Fanciulli. I’m back off to bed though.
One Snowbombing regular reveals the secret of doing the event properly: “You need at least one night when you get seven hours sleep, that’s it.”
After one more song, with Falconer on bass duties, it seems that The View are the joke this evening. Kyle leaves stage for a second time and doesn’t return. Answering to a chorus of boos Webster tells the crowd, “Kyle’s not feeling well, he’s already fainted once. I’m really sorry.” They were sounding awful anyway.
After just two clattering tracks The View’s frontman, Kyle Falconer, walks off stage. Bassist Kieren Webster fills the time with some comedy. “You wanna hear a joke? A Glaswegian joke?” he drawls in a very strong Scottish accent, “The Fratellis.” Boom boom.
Despite only getting a crowd of around 50 people, Mongrel really go for it in the Racket Club. "There ain’t a lot of people, but fuck it, let’s have a party," the crowd are told and that’s exactly what happens. Rapper Lowkey’s astute and poignant rapping is mesmerising, while McClure swaggers around the stage like an ape - the set of the festival so far.
In the X-Box Social (a small stage squeezed inside the hotel’s bar) is Master Shortie rousing the crowd with his hip pop - a great start to the evening.
Walking back into town to watch a oompah brass band that have amassed quite a crowd to hear them cover tracks like Madness’ ‘Baggy Trousers’ and the Rocky theme tune.
I can’t move from the Arctic Disco, with Sombero Sound System hammering out an eclectic mix of funk, dance hip hop and indie across the Alps. La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Mix)’ and Animal Collective ‘Girls’ elegantly echo around the ice, making it feel a little out of this world – a bit like heaven’s waiting room.
Killing off the hangover on the piste watching a super set by The Loose Cannons at the Artic Disco. The venue, some 2000m up the mountain, is a maze of tunnels burrowed underneath the snow. The DJs are spinning al fresco, while skiers and snowboarders drink beer, chill and bop along.
After a comatosed sleep thanks to the strong Austrian larger (at a jaw-dropping 4Euros) I’m up, ready to hit the slopes after helping Kissy Sell Out work out how to use the orange juice machine. Press and hold Mr Sell Out, press and hold.
The last tenth birthday I went to I spent the time hogging the package at pass the parcel, puked up about 14 French Fancies and pushed over a girl called Ellie to make her cry.
That was well over a decade ago and now, having travelled for around five hours to attend Snowbombing’s 10th, I find myself trying not to vomit again, this time holding down a warm Jagermeister.
It’s been a hectic opening day. After losing an hours kip after the clocks went forward I travelled from Munich to Mayrhofen with Reverend And The Makers, Mongrel and The Cuban Brothers. Let the anarchy begin I remember thinking before falling asleep as the bus set off.
Arriving at the hotel, the party was well underway as an astronaut made his way past the penguins in reception clutching a Jager-bomb. All the talk of the first evening entertainment is of Dizzee Rascal at The Racket Club - an underground tennis centre - and boy, does he get the party started: freestyling over MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’ and covering ‘That’s Not My Name’ by The Ting Tings.
The venue has drooping handmade icicles, glowing statues and a very wet entrance. This might be the snow melting from the slew of bodies inside or it might be the from the boy’s toilets which have overflowed – either way Skream And Benga’s throbbing dubstep and beats blaring from the speakers will make sure the birthday bash runs well into the early hours… unlike me.