REVIEW: ITCHY FEET SOUTHAMPTON – 24.10.13

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Started in Leeds in 2007 and now having frequented over 25 towns up and down the country, Itchy Feet is a cut outside the norm, bringing an oxymoronic fresh feel of vintage music to an otherwise dance music orientated club scene. Bringing the best sounds of 50’s rock and roll, funk, northern soul and ska, a much needed break from the chart classics and house floor thumpers, Itchy Feet proved more than a success again this Thursday with Southampton’s nightlife.

Started by Leo Bedford, Itchy Feet is now in its sixth year of triumph. Originally being started as a reaction to the repetitive commercial music venues, Itchy Feet was a way of injecting the best of the golden eras into the heart and soul of any town. This is also true of having a monthly night held in London’s Shoreditch. Spreading timeless sounds from North to South across the country, Itchy Feet also record podcasts for those who can’t shake off that nagging urge to groove to tracks of the past.

Having blown through Southampton previously in a gust of vintage wind, this night was held in the bigger and better Junk club, found on the London Road. Junk having notoriety as the pinnacle of the urban and underground music scene of Southampton; having had big names such as Zed Bias, Lee Foss and more recently Joy Orbison take to their DJ decks, Itchy Feet were right to place their night in the hands of a club with such a big reputation. Having guests flooding through the doors by 11pm they were welcomed in by a retro theme of an old skool radio and rotary telephone, disco balls glittering above their heads. Rhythm and blues bouncing from the speakers, Junk had been transformed from its usual club night forum into a classic taste of something replicating a 50’s dancehall.

As the queues grew and the hoards began filtering through, it seemed an unofficial dress code of circle skirts and neckerchiefs, braces and brougues had been taken on by the nostalgic crowd; so hungry for a night of era music. The first of the two DJ’s of the evening, Milo Burridge, found his love for 50’s rhythm and blues through the influence of his Dad. Being brought up on a variety of music based in past decades, you could see he felt passionate and at home in the DJ booth. Spinning the wax of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Summertime Blues’ ,to Big Joe Turners ‘Flip Flop n Fly’ to the classic Bill Hayley and The Comets with ‘Green Door’; dancers were in rhythm and blues heaven with intervals of funk, groove and lesser known gems thrown into the mix.

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The second DJ of the night, Count Skylarkin came suited and booted with his case full to the brim of vinyl classics ranging from Latin tinged rock n roll Americana to swinging soul and sixties to 70’s ska. Count Skylarkin, who started djing in the mid 90’s, said he believed a great lot of his musical influence came from having grown up in South London. Being drawn in from the sounds of ska playing from speakers in Brixton Market, he then started to find more interest in Jamaican music and worked his way through ska and reggae to RnB, 60’s and soul. The vinyl on offer ranging from The Champs ‘Tequilla’ to the punk sounds of The Clash ‘I fought the law’ to the more soulful Isley Brothers ‘This Old Heart of Mine’ and The Marvlettes ‘Mr Postman’; gave dancers not a second to catch their breath between jumping, jiving and wailing. Count Skylarkin’s set ended on a high of ska two tone and modern music twists ranging from Toots and the Maytals to Missy Elliot pulsing through the dance floor.  This gave the crowd an eclectic mix of the past very much influencing their music tastes of the future.

With movers and shakers left in a spin of retro vibes, finding an oasis of vintage music in an otherwise electronica based desert, Southampton’s masses drank this night up in a drop. It’s inevitable that Itchy Feet will soon return to our nostalgia hungry city. Having sold out on the night and bringing a much needed refreshment of cooling record sounds it’s safe to say that the night was more than a winner.

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