Bournemouth has always held great memories for me. Even back when I was a lad, and we’d go to the beach there for a day out, Bournemouth had this allure. Clubbing wise, the South coast town was dominated in the 90s by one brand in particular – Slinky. And the Opera House in Boscombe was our church for many years. In those days, I saw the likes of John Kelly and DJ Scot Project in the main room, while out back in the Cocoshebeen room, Jungle and Drum n Bass heroes old and new would lay down a think urban vibe us skinny white kids didn’t really understand, but enjoyed nonetheless.
I hadn’t been back for over a decade. And my anticipation for Krafted at The Winchester was palpable for all to see. I arrived way before the rest of the gang and took the time to reacquaint myself with this sleepy seaside town, and also find a bar that was showing the England vs Wales rugby match. The air was cool and the early spring sunshine had gotten people up and enjoying a walk along the coast. Tourists and locals alike wondered at the sheer majesty of the sea as the sun, barely noticeable behind the clouds, shone defiantly off the swell. All was good in the world. Faith in humanity restored, I made my way back to a busy bar close to my hotel in West Cliffe called ‘The Hop’. It was a bit too busy to enjoy the match, but the beer was cold and the inhabitants friendly enough. Afterwards, I made my way back to the hotel, and tipsy from the win as much as the booze on an empty stomach, had a quick disco nap before I went to meet the Krafted gang en masse. I know, I AM old! haha
Our meal was booked at a delightful Italian restaurant about 10 minutes walk away – Piccolino’s. I arrived shortly after 7 and was escorted to where a motley group of mid 40s gents were quaffing beers and talking music. Up until this point, I had only briefly met some of them at a previous gig at Ministry of Sound, so I was a little apprehensive going in. It soon turned out I had nothing to worry about and was greeted with open arms (and some free drinks). The rest of the gang arrived in small groups, and by 7.30 we were sat down together and checking the menus. I was sat with Jamie, a veteran DJ of Krafted’s whose something of a Jack the Lad. Ordering his meal of White Bait for starters and a Pizza for main before anyone had even realised the waiter was stood there, he declared triumphantly in a thick south coast cockney accent, “Right, I’m gaan for a smoke!” and promptly left. On his return some 10 minutes later, giggling like a school boy, he dumped 15 packets of bread sticks on to our table! “Want anovva breadstick? They’re facking lush mate…” I ate 3 packets. Quickly. …in my defence, I was hungry!
The Winchester was just as I pictured it. In previous life it had been a bank, now transformed in to an inner city bar, it retains many of its original features including, to my joy, the bank vault! The night started slowly and Jamie Ryves provided a suitably groovy and melodic soundscape for curious passers by to enter. The die hards would come in due time, but as any promoter knows, its those first few hours of uncertainty which plays on the nerves. After a few drinks, I was introduced to headliner for the night Pop On Acid (or Dirk to his friends). He was in a jovial mood and we chatted for quite some time, not least as I will be moving to Holland in a few weeks to live. Mostly though, we talked about music and Rotterdam where he’s from.
As the night wore on and the Jack n Cokes started to take their toll on me, Soultrak took to the stage. Bouncing between tough edged tech and smoother progressive sounds, the duo carved out a real ebb and flow set which kept the Bournemouth faithful, happily on the dance floor. Pop on Acid came on at around 2am, although by then, my mind was focused on the music. Cue the first of many curveballs that night, the locals were a bit confused… Undeterred Dirk continued with his modern take on the US/UK garage sound dropping some absolute beasts and the odd Michael Jackson tune. Fun, fresh and complete nuts (much like the DJ himself) Pop On Acid’s set was a complete surprise and I for one really enjoyed the night ending with some proper sing-a-long anthems instead of linear heads down nameless techno. Rook took over to round out the night, but my bed was calling me, so I headed back to my hotel for a few hours sleep before the mammoth task of getting a train home on a Sunday…
Our return gig with Dirk and his crew in Rotterdam is already pencilled into my diary. Cannot wait!