New Year's Eve in Leeds

Wax:On & Metropolis - LUU
Bad Sneakers presents New Year’s Balls - The Faversham
Brighton Beach - Leeds Town Hall

I miss the good old days when the turning of the year would be marked by a Quality Street assortment of nutcases hollering about how the world was going to end. I loved seeing their little embarrassed faces on January 1st as they crawled sheepishly (can sheep crawl?) out of their bunkers into a world which still existed.

Remember the Millennium bug? It was supposed to cause a worldwide catastrophe, with planes dropping out of the sky, nuclear weapons firing of their own accord, and Jesus rising from the grave like a sort of Godzilla-King Kong-T Rex hybrid to wreak revenge on the world which spurned him.

In 2012 the crazies will have sufficiently got over their embarrassment to have another go at the whole ‘the end of the world is nigh’ thing. Some New Age guys (those bastions of good sense) have decided that 2012 will herald either a year of great spiritual transformation or, alternately, an apocalypse.

Now surely that’s something you need to be quite sure about. You can’t march around saying “Huzzah! A magical year of emotional transformation is upon us! In 2012 we shall transcend the physical limitations imposed on us by earthly attachments and become as one with the god-head! … or … we might all die.” Like the small print on a cosmic personal loan advert.

If anything is going to provoke an apocalypse in 2009 it is the film ‘Dead Man Running’. Starring Danny ‘fackin’ Dyer and 50 ‘the worst human ever’ Cent and financed in part by Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, Dyer’s character has to get the Fiddster a hundred grand in 24 hours. The only chance it has is if it somehow flips over into that noble category ‘so bad it’s good’. It may be too early to tell, but I’ve got a feeling this film could be the one to perform the unprecedented ‘it’s so bad it’s good, but actually, it’s worse than that so it flips back into bad again’. The potential effects of this happening could be more catastrophic than if they had entrusted the safe running of the Large Hadron Collider to Lindsay Lohan.

A lot of people hate New Year’s Eve. It’s the whole ‘mandatory fun’ thing, the idea that everyone is here to have fun together and if you aren’t having fun in this particular place on this particular night then there must be something incurably wrong with you. If that rings a bell with you and you don’t want to get a reputation as a grumpy old git but you really can’t be arsed with the whole “ooh look, the date just changed” thing, you should peer pressure your less discerning friends into going to one of these events, where only a token gesture will be made towards the demise of 2008.

First up is the shindig taking place in our beloved (to an appropriate extent) Student’s Union. Last year Wax:On and Metropolis took over with the help of Annie Mac, Pendulum, Speakerjunk and a bunch of other reprobates then promptly broadcast most of the ensuing silliness on Radio 1. There’s no Radio 1 this year, but that’s probably a good thing. Like inviting your Mum to the losing of your virginity, the presence of the BBC was a bit off-putting, looking over your shoulder, saying things like “Ooh, is that what you young people are into now? We didn’t do it like that in my day” “Make sure you clean that up afterwards” and “Ah yes, your Dad and I used to like that one”. You banish them to the corner of the room, but you still know they’re there and you can never manage to fully lose yourself in the moment.

Anyways, Wax:On and Metropolis will each have a room in the union this NYE. Wax:On’s performing seals will be Erol Alkan, the Plump DJs, Leeds boy Paul Woolford and more. Metropolis have got, among others, Marky, Hype and Shy FX. That’s a pretty solid line up.

In the last year or two dubstep has risen from peculiar new sub-genre to heavyweight club filler. Both Wax:On and Metropolis have hopped eagerly onto this particular bandwagon and at New Year’s there will be a dubstep room (the flyers call it an arena but I think this probably pushing it a bit, bearing in mind that it’s probably going to be Mine). They’ve lined up the legendary (a nicer way of saying ‘a bit old’) Mary Anne Hobbs, Caspa, Hatcha, Youngsta and a few more DJs whose stage names all end with -a.

If you like your music direct from the source rather than relayed by a disinterested looking chap pressing play on a CD then you might want to consider welcoming in the year of natural fibres (I’m not kidding) at the Faversham where Bad Sneakers will be stepping up to offer forth their New Year’s Balls. They’ve got Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile Up, Wintermute and These Monsters playing live.

I’ve never heard of any of these bands before, and I doubt I’m the only one. HOWEVER! Bad Sneakers have an outstanding pedigree for picking out amazing acts just before they strike it big. In 2005 their New Year’s gig featured a slot from the Sunshine Underground. They’ve also put on ‘before they were massive’ shows by Klaxons, Hot Chip, Arctic Monkeys and more. It seems they are entirely to be trusted.

In Ecuador on New Year’s people wear yellow underwear and carry suitcases, in order to attract ‘positive energy’ and ensure that during the next year they will go on the journey of their dreams. In the Philippines they wear clothes with circular patterns to attract money and, peculiarly, they jump up and down to make them grow taller in the coming year. I suggest that you do all these things this December, and what better place to do them than in Leeds town hall?

Brighton Beach are holding the party there with DJs playing Indie, Britpop, 60s Soul, Motown and R'n'B (but not the shitty type with Usher). Also, in the basement of the building is a room which was a jail in olden times. This room will be lit with psychedelic oil wheels (I don’t know what these are) and 60s slide projections (hopefully there will be no slides of my grandparents holiday to Bournemouth or everyone might just kill themselves with boredom). Sounds kinda kooky.

Tickets are available from ticket shops. Here’s to an apocalypse-free 2009.

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