TOT ROCKIN’ BEATS NYE EXTRAVAGANZA – A REVIEW
Two Year Old Twins, Big Bass Speakers & My First NYE Going Out Out In Fifteen years.
I’ve not been a paying customer at a ‘Big’ New Year’s Eve party for over 15 years, nor did I ever expect to be again.
There’s a variety of reasons for this, and it’s not solely to do with the inflated ticket prices, lack of elbow room and sub-standard entertainment that these shindigs tend to peddle as a matter of routine.
In my previous life as a professional musician, the sound of NYE was a big fat KERRCHIIIIING, and I can remember very few times since my late teens that I wasn’t working, enjoying the privilege of seeing in the new year with close friends, a brandy or two and the escapism of a frenetic late-night performance.
And sore lips. Yep, blowing hot air through several feet of plumbing pipe on a mix of adrenaline and poor monitors (par for the cause) for a couple of hours will do that, maybe even fetch a bit of blood where moustache hairs vibrate at a million miles per second, trapped between lips and mouthpiece, wearing away the top layer of skin. Pleasant. Amazing times and memories, but as the years advance, and children appear in your life, it becomes more difficult and less desirable to go ‘Out Out’.
Every now and then, an event will catch my eye, such as the brilliant ‘We, Like You’ Funk & Soul club parties in Brighton, and I’ll ponder how realistic it might be to consider attending, before realising it’s never gonna happen.
This is generally because they kick off at 11 pm, the time I’d ideally like to be slipping into my smoking jacket with a copy of the Beano, and finish about 5 am, the time I’m seriously considering slipping on my Batfink lounge pants* and putting the kettle on, pre-empting the impending onslaught of twin toddlers who want feeding and entertaining, by way of swimming, trampolining, Alpaca feeding, irrational meltdowns, setting fire to bus shelters and drinking Frosty Jack’s in the park, for which I’m expected to be their willing and unquestioning chaperone.
I’d been contemplating just how great it would be to have club-nights in the daytime, but wrote that off as utter pie in the sky. It would never take off. Would it?
Somewhat serendipitously, a matter of days later, I chanced upon this blog. Fatherhood and Funk? Yes please, count me in. Dadifesto? Don’t mind if I do. TotRockinBeats? What’s that?!
Well, it’s a daytime club event for families! Families with Dads who have a bit of a passion for Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop and smart threads! I do so love it when someone with a bit more organisational skill, motivation and balls than I decides to do something I’ve always dreamed of, without me having to lift a finger! Unfortunately, the first event had already passed by the time I’d come to know of its existence, and I already had plans on the date of the Halloween party (Tot Rockin’ Beasts!). So there was no way me an’ the fam were missing out on the NYE extravaganza, on a much larger scale than the previous two events, and promising to break records for being the first place in the country to countdown to the new year, at an all inclusive time of 6 pm!
Upon entering the Assembly Hall, besides the rumbling bass emanating from the frankly mahoosiv soundsystem, the first thing that hit me was the sheer scale of this event. It was really, really big with an age range from literally days old to mid-nineties! A definite family affair.
A crowded dancefloor was in full swing to the sounds of the Stick-It-On crew (where anyone can be a DJ!) when we arrived, and there was plenty stuff for the kids to do besides the disco madness in the main room, like giant connect four, face painting, table football and BeeFit dance classes. An additional side room contained some soft play items and the world’s tiniest bouncy castle, I shouldn’t wonder! It was really crowded and a bit of a free for all with only one steward in attendance, and maybe it might have been an idea to limit the numbers, rather than let everyone in, but all in all, very well received.
Children’s TV legend Dave Benson Phillips was due to be hosting the main room, but was allegedly offered a part in a Panto in Cheshire at short notice and so had to cancel his appearance. And who can blame him!? Last minute stand in Dwella, an MC and performance poet held the fort as best he could, but one can’t help wondering how much more child-centric and daft it might have been in the hands of DBP, who, to be fair, has spent his entire life as a high profile children’s entertainer. He was a big loss, but it didn’t stop the good people of Worthing from having a great time.
Massive props to Guiseppe’s pop up café for providing perfect party food and Gelato – Their Italian hot dogs are to die for, and served with such grace and passion by their lovely staff!
The highlight of the night, following the Big Ben Bongs at 6 pm, was a very special medley of songs both old and new, performed on the magnificent Wurlitzer organ (which rose from the floor) with some singers on stage and a big screen for us all to sing along. Kicking off with a rendition of Bowie’s Starman, and including seaside favourites and uptown funk, it was a big hit!
With two two-year-olds, it was never going to be easy for me and their mum, but it was easy to soak up the atmosphere and watch others enjoying themselves. The opportunity to get a drink and use the loo didn’t come until five minutes before I left, but hey, I can’t complain.
The team behind TRB are really onto something here, and whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was pretty damn near. For yours truly, it was just great to be back in a darkened room with loud, high-quality choons. An absolute bargain for the price, when you consider that most parents would have parted with a hundred notes in babysitting fees before they’d even left the house, to go out on NYE, and that’s without the entry prices and double taxi fares!
I’ve absolutely no doubt that this event is going to be an annual event for a very long time, and you’d be a fool not to experience it. Keep ‘em peeled, funky parents!
This was a review from new DBTH member and resident Geordie, Gram Canyon – All images courtesy of the fantastic Kat Naish Photography.
Gram like a 1,000 other people paid for his ticket and was in no way bribed with the promises of hugs or Wonka bars to write nice things about us.