Hed Kandi Review

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  • The biggest night in any self professed clubbers calendar has to be New Years Eve and with such a plethora of talent on offer in Sydney for 2005 this reviewer may well have had difficulty in choosing the event of all events to end the year with on a high. However as one of a legion of Hed Kandi disciples the choice was in fact a fore gone conclusion. Hed Kandi is fast becoming a global phenomenon with its popularity attributable to the love of great music and the urge to take that music to a wider audience. The genre exclusively remains within the house camp and the style is always sexy, soulful Kandi tunes. Hot on the heels of their successful Ibiza tour playing home to El Divino’s and the Christmas Eve launch for Ministry of Sound (Singapore), the crew have made a welcome return to Australia and with the likes of Peyton (“Higher Place” and “I’ll Rise”), Stonebridge (“Cant Get Enough” and “Take Me Away”) and Marc Stockley (“Real Love”) exciting times are prevalent. Peyton hails from North Carolina, but has for the past five years been based in London. This son of a preacher man found a love of music very early on and after College went on a voyage of self-discovery nurturing and growing his vocal talents with a gospel tinged feel that was quickly snapped up by Hed Kandi mirroring the labels own soulful style. Peyton has seen recent success nominated at the House Music Awards for 2005 under “Onephatdeeva” and his latest offing has received critical acclaim throughout UK and Europe, soon to be released in Australia. Peyton can also be found on the UK edition of the programme “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” as the food and wine expert! Stonebridge has earned his dues within the industry not only as a DJ but also as a proficient remixer being associated with the likes of Missy Elliott, Robby Rivera, Gadjo and David Morales. He is soon to release as yet an untitled album and an electro edged single “Freak On” featuring the sultry vocals of Ultra Nate. He has also recently commissioned one of Jack McCord’s remixes “Sweetest Taboo” again soon to be released. Sydneysider Marc Stockley is an accomplished song-writer, vocal arranger and performer and is one of the lead vocalists for the soon to be released Hed Kandi track “Feel so Good” working alongside Jack McCord. Further remixes are expected from Stonebridge, Ian Carey and Cabin Crew. Tank had certainly outdone itself for New Years Eve putting on a stellar line up. So with the Hed Kandi home deserted to warmer shores the team are joined by Sydney’s own Hed Kandi man Jack McCord who plays a pivotal role throughout along with the usual suspect and veteran Hed Kandi man Andy Norman. Jack is known as the man down under and continually represents one of the best that Hed Kandi has to offer ensuring a mixture of hands in the air tunes to club classics remaining a crowd pleaser. He is a renowned DJ, producer, writer and musician having mixed many a tune for the prolific Hed Kandi label. Jack has just completed an album with Baby Bam (Afrika from Jungle Brothers), which is scheduled for release early 2006. If that were not tempting enough all the tried and tested Hed Kandi frolics would be on display throughout the night. Arriving at Tank at about 11.30 pm I was eager to see how and what if anything had changed with the recent recruitment of Paul Strange (ex Kink, Home) to run the show. I was pleased to note that the door staff were friendly and professional and had no problems with entry along with my many friends. The Club itself truly has earned its stature within the industry worldwide and will remain one of my favourite venues. The crowd seems to be changing from previous visits but I did find myself speaking to many an Englishman on this particular night, after all Hed Kandi was borne in ole Blighty. I am however pleased that the VIP room is no more which makes for a much healthier atmosphere and vibe throughout the club and for those ladies out there means access to plenty of toilets which had been a bug bear of mine on more than one occasion in the past. Once inside the place was a buzz with anticipation and excitement (cant every Saturday night be New Years Eve?!). Downstairs had yet to be opened and clubbers were eager to get amongst the music before midnight. The rush downstairs was unquestionable and all felt the immediate impact of the night. Jack McCord kicked off with his soulful seamless style, as always holding you to the floor. Just imagine a packed dance floor, sexy Kandi dancers, the most brilliant of bongo players and the amazing voice of Peyton all about to welcome you into 2006. Now I hope you are with me, feeling those goose bumps, pure magic and as ever I found myself almost unable to contain my excitement. I somehow managed to sneak behind the DJ booth to see and feel first hand the energy of team Hed Kandi and all the punters looking right back at them and at me. What a way to bring in 2006 and I absolutely loved being the centre of it all. I so did not want this night to end. The night of course did not end in fact the music continued to lift up a gear with the formidable Andy Norman now hitting the decks. Andy to me is Hed Kandi. Andy is a personal favourite DJ of mine and it’s been a long eighteen months since I last saw Andy doing his stuff. He typifies London and is probably one of the nicest, dedicated guys in the business who always has time to speak to adoring punters hence building up a very loyal fan base. One of the highlights for me saw Andy playing “Boogie by Tweet”, such a timeless classic that holds good memories and I was not the only one, as the crowd went crazy and you know when the DJ just works the crowd to the best of his ability as their reaction was a frenzy of hands in the air. The atmosphere throughout the night was electric and I found it very difficult to move into the back room. Once inside though I found just a good a vibe to the Main Room. The room was packed and everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood, which just added to the fun of the night. During the time that my friends and I shook our little stuff on the dance floor, local favourites Homegrown were on the decks. These guys are excellent and for anyone who has not seen them I highly recommend getting hold of one of their coveted High Flyer party boat tickets…..it’s a must. Wandering back into the Main Room I could hear the voices pumping out from both Stockley and Peyton performing to the skills of Stonebridge, along with the already mentioned bongo player, Cyndi Tan who I hasten to add was dressed up like an Indian and carried the effect off uber cool. The night continued to be awash with lots of hands in the air especially from me and the accommodating Hed Kandi guys allowed me to remain behind the DJ booth ensuring my night was a great success. I did however on numerous occasions try to end the night in readiness for a big day ahead at Field Day, but to no avail. The night seemed to end in one big blur (I apologise for any missed DJs that also helped rock the night) at around breakfast time when I, along with a few others, were there until the last tune was played out and then I am sure both Andy and Jack probably could have continued. Hed Kandi again never fails to impress with its strong branding, funky tunes, vocalists, performers and top DJ talent on offer. I remain one of the faithful to the Kandi tune and for those of you that missed out on such an awesome night you can now catch Hed Kandi at its monthly residency at Tank. Top night. Top venue. Top People. Top Music.