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Mantua music festival, County Roscommon, Ireland, September 2006
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Several Birds, One Stone: Mantua and All Thats Fit to Print
Mighty Morphin Mega Power Illegal Raves.
(Photos/words © Sound Tracks For Them, August 24th 2006)

According to the Guardian, the bobbies across the water are on the look out for a 'mega illegal rave' due to take place somewhere in the south east of England in the next few weeks.

Sarah Champion, one time music journalist and sometimes editor of mid 1990's rave zeitgeist fiction compendiums has also been pushed to comment on the phenomenon, leading to some heavy doses of nostalgia over on the Guardian blog.

There's definitely something in the air, with many inhabitants on my usual internet merry-go-round asking similar questions of a rave scene revival, there was even a bit of a discussion on this over on U75 a while ago.

Its possibly all hype, with journalists eager to chase after the latest underground fads, last month it was the Artic Monkeys and this month its purple dreaded psy-trance ravers on ketamine.


Mantua music festival, County Roscommon, Ireland, September 2006

Its tempting however to think dance culture, or at least some harder edged variant more firmly rooted in the underground is on the up over here as well. There's a certain tiredness around how so much of the new wave of British lads on guitar have colonised the soundtrack of the city at night.

As well as that a generation that grew up as kids with romantic notions of rave are now old enough to start pulling things together for themselves, there's been a nice confluence of interest as a result of this. People have been able to break away from some of the more established venues and promoters because they simply do not provide any more due to the declining fortunes of commercial dance.

If there are no reliant official nights churning out what you want to hear, then people cater for themselves. Equally the mid 90s commercialisation of dance spelt the death of the rave hysteria, opening a space for its limited return outside the eyes of the cops.


Mr Oizo Impression Inducing Techno.

Of course this is all premised on you actually believing the hype, the Mantua and Leechrum festivals have come and gone again this summer with heavy doses of hardcore dance on rotation at both.

Mantua music festival, County Roscommon, Ireland, September 2006

That both these festivals were possible in one summer on such a small island, surely is some way testament to a vibrant underground, but you have to ask yourself why such annual stalwart events like the Jigs and Rigs weekend and the regular Creation parties have exited the building before cuddling up to any doses of optimism.

Mantua was great, a field located some where in Roscommon that for two days was dominated by clusters of people insanely dancing before finding themselves sheepishly disheveled the next morning being micro-waved in their tents.

With little by way of sobriety and a critical facility intact, memories of Super Exra Bonus Party delivering a high octane bouncy set that got the crowd in the Alphabet Set tent jogging on the spot tell me they are worth checking out again.


God Is An Astronaut left no surprises and no highlights, suggesting that a band that once represented something of a bright hope for Irish experimental music are going to have to significantly revise their set listing and their on-stage audio-visuals before churlishly churning out more by the book performances to increasingly bored audiences who have seen them all too often before.

Radioactive Man turned in a stomping set of Mr Oizo impression inducing cheeky techno before momentarily descending into some early drum and bass.

Bringing the tempo back up again, it was all I could do to sit outside the tent and stare at the light show, wondering just how much harder this head case could take people.

Later in the night, Ed Melody Masher spluttered long lines of amen breaks and staccato gabba out for hours on end, firmly in recovery ( not like this thank christ )at that stage it was impossible to enjoy what was an impressively competent set that machine gunned the assembled crowd until well into the next day.

The reggae 'stage' was impressive, consisting of a section of field framed on either end with two walls of babylon's finest rigs sound systems in the form of Cork's Rootical Soundsystem.

It was impossible to get into the mood, little crowd or dance floor dynamic developed there, harder to discern what this strange land walled in reggae was never mind where to congregate to dance to it.


Mantua music festival, County Roscommon, Ireland, September 2006

With no more food available than a lame Fallaffel stall, and a hippie in some sort of native American garb running around with his arms outstretched flying through his own head it was clear the best option was to leave for the creature comforts.

And All The Rest.

Back in the cold hard and rainy streets of this fair and fucked city, Duran Duran Duran delivered a sickeningly but air punching good short set in Kaboogie as the bar man decided 'ya basta' around 0030hrs.

Over on Oldrottenhat, our former glammer slamming Herr Philosopher Sir Krossie has delivered another traveleouge of his mad cap antics as the GoawayRecords lads touched down in Berlin for several album launches and a dose of paddy whackery.

Now on slightly related note, someone from a clubbing forum in Dublin has put together an index of all the old raver anthems up on Youtube, some of them are classics.

Enjoy the vidiocy!

(Photos/words © Sound Tracks For Them, 5th Sept 2006)


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