Wow! What a weekend. Being an avid All Tomorrows Parties goer I had an idea of what to expect with a festival at Butlins but the Bloc people did it completely different. For a start, at ATP there are just three stages, two indoors and one in a sort of Millenium Dome style building, where the bigger bands play and the sound is never as good. With Bloc there were five, converting two of the bars into stages and the main stage was the biggest stage indoors, which meant not only was the sound a lot better but you got to see people like Aphex Twin and Jamie Lidell in a much more intimate environment and there was always something going on.
Bloc was a great excuse for me to really explore some new genre's such as Dubstep and Techno and I found some absolute gems in both genres. Now to the music, my first real taste of Dubstep was Appleblim who rocked, adding a lot of style and flair to his sound and even though it was early days he really got the crowd into it. Friday's highlights were DJ Qbert on the Centre Stage who wowed the crowd with the fastest mixing and knob twiddling I have ever seen, Plastician, the Croydon based Dubstepper who played out an amazing set and really got the crowd going. My favorite on Friday had to be new Warp signing Hudson Mohawke playing loud, danceable, glitchy beats which the crowd seemed to go both ways with but I loved, especially when he threw a record into the crowd and it hit my friend square in the forehead. Saturday had so many amazing people i'm not sure where to start. Jamie Lidell was the first person to really get people moving, playing an awesome set messing about with his vocals and jumping about the stage, proving that even though he has just supported Elton John he can still get down with the kids. Two of the main highlights of the whole weekend though had to be Clark who played one of the best DJ sets I have ever seen! loud, fast and better than I could have ever imagined. Then on to the star of the festival mr Aphex Twin, playing with German sound artist Hecker he played a set like no other. It really was a set to remember, playing tiny snippets of his songs before unleashing hell with two hours of agressive glitcy house esq electronica plus a brilliant light show involving lasers, lights and screens. The talk of the weekend for all the proper music nerds (like myself) was that mr Twin has finally cut his hair! Sunday's highlights were marked by the best Dubstep gig I have ever seen courtesy of Skream and Benga and the finale from Detroit electro legend Carl Craig. All in all a fantastic weekend to which I am still feeling the effects. Butlins will never be the same again.