I don’t know whether you call it a gig, but I’m not sure if it was considered to be just a DJ set. Whatever you’d refer to it as, it was unique, it was one hell of an experience, and it was pure brilliance.
On May the 17th 2013, the living legend embarked on one of his famous five-hour sets, spending the whole time flipping from genre to genre with such ease. His eclectic style filled the room with Jazz, soul, hip-hop and more for a marathon night of great vibes and an atmosphere I hadn’t been a part of for a long time. Many things about Scruff and his DJ sets are notable, but one thing in particular is how down to earth, void of ego and just downright lovely the man is. For example, the Engine shed is a large room with a big stage, and many an act or a DJ has performed on it. Even your average student club night DJ’s put on a performance like they believe they are headlining Glastonbury. On arrival I went straight over to the dance floor to catch a glimpse of the hero himself, and when he wasn’t there, I assumed the venue was playing music to warm the crowd up for his arrival… but then as I looked closer, it became clear, that the man who has released six studio albums since 1997, as well as a load of compilations had actually decided against using the stage and was actually content on the floor, at the same level as the crowd. Another statement of confirmation, that there is no ego involved in this performance. He even kept running over to the barrier to take pictures with anyone who could shout loud enough to request one.
Despite potentially being a cliché of sorts, musically the highlight of the night for me was when he surprised everyone by playing one of his own hits, that being the iconic late nineties nu-jazz classic ‘Get A Move On’. It was done at just the right time and got everyone in attendance moving like crazy. The set before and after that had been an extremely interesting mix, and mainly of songs that weren’t recognised by anybody who was there. It didn’t matter though as it felt like an education and it was different to any night we’d all been a part of before.
Also an appearence by Scruff’s tea hut was a treat and another unlikely experience. Who could have possibly imagined that at 2.30am, while listening to a DJ legend, surrounded by hundreds of other fans, you’d be drinking a cup of tea, eating a chocolate brownie and clutching your brand new Pharoah Sanders 12″ vinyl. This same vinyl would eventually be signed at the end of the night by the gentleman himself following a short conversation after the night had ended. We spoke about music, we talked about the interview Mojo20 did with him in early 2013 and he rounded things off by drawing a picture of me on my record, which was of course, just a potato with a beard, but incredible all the same. I’ll certainly be looking out for the next time he’s local, and will strive to one day create an event, an atmosphere, and an experience like Mr.Scruff has been doing for 19 years. What a night.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)