We don’t get too many international scratch DJs performing in Ireland. This meant that this weekend in The Sugar Club with the Invisible Scratch Pickles was a special occasion for many to bask in the glory of some of the best to ever do it. With a huge lineup of local talent on the bill also, the weekend inside Ireland’s hip hop haven, the Sugar Club, was a celebratory one. It was also one that we should be thankful to ChoiceCuts and Red Bull Music Academy for facilitating because this type of thing doesn’t happen every year.
Scratch Lords opened the weekend on Saturday with a set that uses the same 3 DJ format as I.S.P. They proved the talent and spirit of scratch DJing is definitely alive and well in Ireland with a show as captivating as the headliners, just maybe not quite as clean.
DJ Qbert, D Styles and DJ Shortkut demonstrated their endless talent with an unbelievable display of scratching and turntablism in every shape and form it comes in. It was a performance that consisted of only their new album, The 13th Floor, and never lacked in any department. Their separate and illustrious styles allow them to not have to rely on routines we’ve seen before and to easily be sucked into staring at their hand movements in amazement as if what you are witnessing couldn’t happening right in front you.
While the weather on Sunday meant that the sets in the Courtyard had to be called off, the Q & A with group well more than made up for it. The interviewer handled the group, who were slightly shut off initially, perfectly and was entertaining enough to bring them around and get more detailed answers. Their battle against the X-Men from 1996 was the main focus of the interview and rightly so. It would be fair to say that the battle is responsible for the landscape of scratch DJing today and even getting the chance to watch a good quality copy on the big screen was special.
Cuttin Heads Cork offer up an excellent set that suitably gets things rolling on Sunday. Their set was followed by D Styles’ solo show. It was one that mixed his classic scratch routines with different types of beats, new and old. It was the most eclectic DJ set I’ve seen, as he managed to incorporate every facet of the art into 30-40 minutes. You forget while the 3 members perform together, that individually they are still some of the best DJs there are and it was good to be reminded of that via a D Styles set.
As someone who enjoys to scratch records over instrumentals and I imagine the majority of the audience does also, watching Invisible Scratch Pickles perform is nothing short of inspirational. Everything that comes out of the three sets of turntables is so crisp. Each track captures your full attention for different reasons, whether that’s through one of the many mind boggling styles of scratching, the body rattling bass or the unspoken rapport between the three. The group have mastered and revolutionsed the art of using turntables as instruments better than anyone else that springs to mind and watching them at the height of their game is a jaw dropping sight to see.