Oli Freke

Tech House / Techno / House

Filtering by Category: My Gigs

3rd November 2000

3As you might expect, I was performing a live set of hard house at Heaven on Friday 3rd November 2000, in front of an audience of about 3,000.  This was with Contact Assist, my hard house ‘outfit’ of the time.

I knew I’d wonder what this gig would sound like in 2010, so Irecorded it onto DAT and sent it a decade into the future. And here it is:

Contact Assist Live – 3rd Nov 2000
(stream/download the mp3 from Dropbox)

We played a lot of gigs and released quite a few records between 1999-2001 – before an ‘hilarious’ Spinal Tap type implosion just as we were about to sign a deal with Sanctuary Records, at the time the UK’s largest independent record label, and the world’s largest independent music publisher. (Sanctuary subsequently also imploded in 2007 due to financial mismanagement and such)


Definitives – London’s Best Dance Crew

Well, that was exciting. We* backed up London dance crew, Definites, last night in the finals of London’s Best Dance Crew 2010 – and they only gone and won!


London’s Best Dance Crew

(*We – being members of Maracatu Estrela do Norte & Eri Ekon, adding some Brazilian drumming spice to the backing tunes for the first of Definitives’ two sets)

When the videos of the finals are available, I’ll post them up, but suffice to say they were awesome and well deserved the win – though all the groups were pretty damn good.

Here they are in another event – a pity the music isn’t a bit more audible, but you get the idea.

And yes, we also came on to the same level of applause and cheering. Nice!

Backstage: here’s the big cheque they were presented with, alongside the drum I played – and some lovely legs! (not mine)

Impressively, it was presented to them by the only current recipient of the Victoria Cross, Johnson Beharry. Quite an honour.

And here’s Lilly & Sam in front of the splendid artists entrance at the back of Fairfield Halls.

Well done Definitives, you rocked!

[Top Photo:  The Definitives at London’s Best Dance Crew 2010. Bruce Woods of Tactical Innovations Limited, other less brilliant photos: The Author]

Notting Hill 2009 & Maracatu & Samba Reggae

Maracatu : Sunday 31st August

Having had a bit of a break from the London group Maracatu Estrela do Norte I’ve been looking forward to playing with them at Carnival for a few months now and have been to the rehearsals down in Peckham, etc. (Maracatu is the drumming music from NE Brazil, which I played for several years and even visited Brazil in 2006 to study further)

Here are the drums unloaded from the van, as it’s important to know what a pile of drums looks like. It looks like this:


I haven’t seen my good friend Marcus for about three years since he moved to Luxemburg to translate ‘words’ for the EU. He’s extremely pleased to see me too:


Maracatu is an extraordinary music and culture that has it’s origins in 16th & 17th century Brazil, the time of slavery. During carnival celebrations in those days the slaves were allowed for the duration to dress up as the King and Queen of their group and to represent them in the parades. A whole Louis XVIth style court would be represented, including parasol holder and below, an ambassador as well.


Accompanying the court and their drummers would be a retinue of dancing girls, with choreography reflecting their daily lives of tilling the land, domestic duties, and other activities. Our dancers are led by a beautiful Brazilian lady called Mariana:


Here are the drummers. I’m at the back somewhere out of shot..


Here I am, out of shot at the back again:


We had a great time parading round the Notting Hill streets. We were actually taking part alongside the Jamaican Twist float, which is why we’re wearing slightly incongruous Jamaican flag t-shirts, despite playing the music of Brazil!

There were so many people filming us and taking pictures that if I find any videos online or indeed an actual picture of me to prove I was there, I’ll post ’em!

Update: Footage found!
@ 10 seconds & 5 mins


Monday 1st September – Samba Reggae

Monday is party day at Notting Hill and the sun also came out to party with us, which was great. On Monday we played Samba Reggae – a very different Brazilian style to maracatu, and one that originated in the 70’s in the region of Bahia. As the name suggests it takes it’s influence from the very Brazilian style of samba and the Caribbean/Jamaican sounds of reggae.

It is, in my humble opinion, funkier than funk itself.


It’s difficult to take pictures of us playing when I’m also playing, so these pictures are of us at rest.

This is Sam, the band leader for both groups. He’s looking a bit like we messed up a break in this pic, or he might just be concentrating.


Pants to Poverty!

We had dancing girls on the Monday who were wearing splendid ‘pants to poverty’ pants and .. not much else.




Audience reaction was great, and we frequently had moments were people would come from the crowd to show us their moves – one group were a breakdance troupe who had all the moves. Windmilling on tarmac can’t be very comfortable, but those guys achieved it!


Supermalt were giving away free drinks. A convenient surfacenearby provides a barometer of popularity of the drink:


ie, not especially popular.

Here’s a cool drum and bass DJ in a church doorway.


 A good time was had by all and the atmosphere seemed really good for both days, which was great.

After 5 hours of drumming on both the Sunday and Monday, we were all pretty knackered….


See ya there next year, eh?!

Baroque and Roll (sorry..)

Quick debrief of Monday’s concert at The Barbican with some pictures. We sang stuff like Handel's Zadok the Priest and other of his coronation pieces. Pretty spectacular pieces sung in a pretty spectacular location. 

Orchestra, adult choir and children’s choir on stage


Big, huh?

Here’s Howard Goodall introducing it all


Howard Goodall (Blackadder, Red Dwarf, etc) is the National Ambassador for Singing, tasked with getting children involved in music and singing in schools. So far he has 15,000 of the 20,000 schools in the UK signed up to the scheme. This is a Good Thing. Listening to music is ok and quite pleasant on the whole, but actually doing it – making and creating music, singing especially – is one of the most uplifting things a human being can do. A fact that is largely forgotten in the ubiqutous immersive soundworld of ipods and tv that we now find ourselves in.

Basses and Altos and Orchestra


I am in the block of basses; seven trillion pounds to the first person who spots me.

Sophie Junker, soprano and Philip Canner, bass-baritone


As well as doing five pieces by Handel, there was a specially composed piece by Harvey Brough, which took themes of Purcell and created a new setting for The Fairy Dream section of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Sophie & Philip above were Titania and Bottom. Both were very good (as were the other two soloists who were recent graduates of the Guildhall School of Music), but did I detect a bit of star quality with Sophie?? You heard it here first.



As mentioned the real purpose of the project is to get schoolchildren interested and participating in music, and here is part of the 150 strong choir of children. They were all from innercity schools – paired with the city firms who made up the adult choir – and were excellent. The piece of music Harvey wrote for them wasn’t patronising or ‘easy’, it was a proper piece of music in which they played a key role. And they sung it brilliantly. Props to the kids!

Nicholas Kenyon


Nicholas Kenyon runs ting’s round there at the Barbican. Here he is at the end of the concert saying how splendid it all was and how important the project is, and how the Barbican and the Guildhall are proud to be supporting it.

Too right. The whole thing was a big success – musically I think the massed amateur choirs of us and the kids got away with it, the orchestra played brilliantly, the music was varied and interesting, and a large number of children who hadn’t even been to a classical concert before got to perform at a professional level in one of London’s Premier venues.

Win, win, win, win.

It’s just a pity the world can’t be a bit more like this more of the time.

Richard Frostick – conductor
Richard was great: someone with a true passion for music and the ability to communicate that passion – oh, and to control 300 singers and an orchestra to great effect!


Just don’t get your notes wrong, ok?