Saturday, 25 October 2014

Powerful start to Roxy's 21st anniversary party

By Graham Matthews | Prague Daily Monitor |
23 October 2013

The Roxy kicked off its week long 21st Birthday celebrations in style on Monday evening with a powerful set from UK drum and bass collective Engine Earz Experiment featuring Jenna G, and some other intriguing touches outside and from NoD next door.

Two sculptures by Czech artist Kurt Gebauer, appropriately called Vznášení (hovering) as they are basically a couple of flying people lit up, were hung across the street outside especially for the anniversary. A short video mapping project was beamed onto the outside of the Roxy and NoD buildings too. Accompanied by music it only lasted a few minutes but the bright colours and lights used the framework of the old building to good effect as they twisted and turned. The projection was left on afterwards as the words ‘Roxy’, ‘Be Twenty One’ and others span around.

Early in the evening before Roxy opened, a new exhibition including paintings, drawings, a sculpture and video art was unveiled in NoD’s free gallery with plenty of people admiring and contemplating the pieces. It was a mix of the great to the disturbing, but under the theme of how horror connects with dark humour, that was to be expected. A fox with swastikas for eyes and an intricate, futuristic piece done all in pen were probably the highlights.

In the theatre the premiere of Man Machine, featuring giant puppets, was getting underway but downstairs in the Roxy the real party was getting started. DJ Hlava was keeping all the early birds entertained, spinning a mix of drum and bass, house and other styles until warm up act Mime Fatale came out. The four young women performed a brilliantly co-ordinated mime/dance act for about ten minutes in the middle of the floor in front of the stage. Moving their bodies in time to the two guys beatboxing on stage in a performance based on action movies, it was mesmerising to watch.

Then it was time for the main event as Engine Earz Experiment took to the stage. The bass music collective, started by DJ Prash Mistry and featuring a guitarist, drummer, percussionist and MC, were joined by singer Jenna G and she really added something extra to their act. More people arrived as they came out, and for a Monday night it was quite an impressive turnout.

Playing some bass-heavy tunes, the percussionist (mainly playing the bongos) was often drowned out, as were the vocals and guitar occasionally. For the most part it was enjoyable though and Jenna G and the MC’s voice rose above the constant booming, even when the entire room literally shook from the deep bass. Jenna G’s compelling vocal style provided a refreshing change from just the MC rapping and as the two of them moved around, interchanging, the combination worked well. As if to prove a point, quite a few people down at the front were dancing away.

After about an hour they left the stage, only to come back nearly immediately for one final song and to get the crowd involved first by shouting along and then singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the MC. It wasn’t just the music though, with videos playing on all sides (a compilation of clips from famous movies, cartoons and some original material) along with various flashing and multi-coloured lights. Put together it all formed a great show and added to the atmosphere.

Anyone with energy left and who survived the intense bass could stick around for DJ duo Deadly Viperz and then Rido afterwards to round off the successful first night of Roxy’s birthday week. If every other evening is just as good people will want them to celebrate Roxy’s birthday every year.

Live music continues every day at Roxy until 27th October, with a free night full of Czech bands across three stages on Wednesday evening. UK band Morcheeba will be playing on Thursday, DJ Andy C on Friday and Sébastien Léger on Saturday before ex-House Of Pain rapper Everlast rounds things off with an acoustic show on Sunday. NoD has a range of theatre performances, with Spitfire Company’s act on Wednesday the most English-friendly, music and a workshop on Sunday, with the free gallery open all the time of course.