Records and Rolexes – The battle for Freshers’ Week ’08

Published

Gerry McKeever & George Binning

For the high-pressure occasion that is the first night of Freshers’ week, both unions competed to win freshers to their fold with big names from hugely contrasting musical spheres. Following nicely from Dizzee Rascal last year, the GUU did well to land a performer like Wiley, with his ‘King of Grime’ status bringing both underground credibility and mainstream attraction.

The man himself put on a decent show, keeping things simple and playing his biggest tracks, with the only downside being its brevity at barely 45 minutes.  This is obviously disappointing from the headline act, but by the time he hit the stage things had already gone horribly wrong…  First warm-up act ‘The King Hats’ sounded worryingly like they’d been pulled in off the street and had instruments thrust at them, and that’s being kind.  They were followed by a group of Scottish Hip-Hop artists, Bigg Taj, Krash Slaughta and Respek BA.

These guys were entertaining, but in a manner more akin to a failing X-Factor entrant than a live music act.  The GUU may want to have a rethink about the first impression it sends to new freshers, as Respek BA standing underneath the Uni crest saying: “My fists have had more pussy than my cock has” is perhaps not the message they intended to send…

While the GUU busied themselves laying down some frankly offensive beats, the QM aimed to attract the ravers and the lovers with a feel good club night hosted by the Ministry of Sound.

Three Ministry DJs treated the union to hearty serving of cheesy dance classics from the early nineties to the present day. The fact that many freshers that night would have been dancing to hits from the year they were born highlighted that dance music is old enough now to actually have a history. Perhaps 2008 is the first year where this has really been possible.

The mixing was tight, if a little unadventurous, but most importantly everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and none of the performers said anything to disaffect the entire female audience. The Ministry was preceded by a set from English indie outfit The Subways.

An impressive performance, both solid and professional, with lead singer Billy Lunn in pleasingly good voice following an operation on his vocal chords in 2006. With the bands’ chemistry now more complex than even ‘The White Stripes’ after Billy and bassist Charlotte Cooper broke off their engagement, it was also entertaining from a gossip point of view, though the music itself combined with a great light-show, did not disappoint.  Overall, almost as entertaining a night at the QMU as it was embarrassing at the GUU…