The Nextmen
+ Count Skylarkin + Disco Shed DJs
Beloved the globe over, Brad Baloo and Dom Search are two of the best party-starters in the business – blending anything worth listening to from all electronic music styles. Expect anything from dancehall, drum’n’bass, dubstep, reggae, roots, andl hip hop to soul, funk & (UK) funky, indie, leftfield, ambient, pop and straight-up party jacking pleasers. And expect it to go off. Support and hosting from Skylarkin’ Soundsystem and The Disco Shed.

The Nextmen in Oxford with Skylarkin’ Soundsystem & The Disco Shed
Friday 19th September at The Cellar, Frewin Court, Oxford OX1 3HZ
10pm-3am | £6 advance/£8 door
Facebook event

Back by VERY popular demand after backing the great Susan Cadogan at the Zodiac last year, The Sidewalk Doctors play proper old-time, soulful rocksteady and reggae, with nods to the gods of Treasure Isle and Studio One. Frontman Nathan Thomas’s voice will have your spine tingling. On the decks, the godfather of reggae re-edits, JSTAR, touches down from Berlin to make a rare UK appearance, increasing the heat towards dancehall and bassline thrillers till the lights come on.

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday 5th September 2014 at The Cellar, Frewin Court, Oxford
10pm-3am | £5 advance / £6 door


A temporary sojourn from the festival fields has seen me mostly knocking out these (buy yours here):

…while tonight I’m warming up for Sanchez at his first UK show in 10 years – round the corner at O2 Academy Oxford. Tickets

Then I get to dust off my old-time swing and jump blues 45s for The BIG TEN INCH tomorrow in Shoreditch alongside Wrongtom, Greg Belson and The Severed Limb.

…all the while confirming yet more surprise guests for the 7″ launch at The Cellar next Friday (August 1st) before a DJ set at Standon Calling (Saturday 2nd) and a rooftop party at Brixton Splash Festival with Norman Jay, Don Letts and The Ragga Twins on Sunday 3rd.

Eventually I might even get to go outside and enjoy a beer! Happy weekend!


After 15 years of making you dance, Skylarkin’ Soundsystem is finally giving you something to take home with you – the first ever release on Skylarkin’ Recordings – three and a half minutes of reggae magic on heavyweight seven inch vinyl – courtesy of Mighty Leap.

One of the best-loved bands ever to have played my night, I first discovered the then teenage Dave Pickavance and Greg Machon performing with Bermudian ex-pat Desta Zion Wilson as Zion And The White Boys back in 2009, and was completely blown away (despite the dodgy name!).

Here was one of the best voices I’d ever heard, backed by a young band fizzing with positive energy, who intrinsically understood reggae. You got the sense that they couldn’t wait to get onstage and share their love of music with people every night. The first time I booked them, after soundchecking they went out into the street with flyers and busked. Everywhere they went, people fell in love with them. They played 2010 Cowley Road Carnival and everyone wanted to know who they were. They supported Dawn Penn & The Upsetters at The Cellar and were so good we had to get them on again after Dawn had finished playing.

Wrongtom likened their sound to the great Dennis Bovell‘s seminal 1970s group Matumbi, and it’s not a bad comparison. The band are rightly considered among the best of their kind playing reggae in the UK today.

After a brief hiatus and line-up reshuffle, Zion & co returned in 2013 as Mighty Leap, bolstered by the addition of Tom Seal on keys and Oli Lochman on drums. A tour-support with The Wailers quickly followed, and a cover version debuted on those dates garnered a lot of attention when it surfaced on YouTube.

With the band holed-up in the studio recording an albums-worth of original songs and summer on the way, the prospect of releasing their version of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere was too tantalizing for me to resist. So what if I’ve never put out a record before? Between us we’ll figure it out. The aforementioned Wrongtom has given us a killer, speakerbox-bending dub version for the b-side, and DJ Derek is coming out of retirement for one night only to make sure that the launch party goes off with a bang. All we need is you.

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday 1st August at The Cellar, Frewin Court, Oxford
9pm-3am | £5 advance/£6 door


The legendary DJ Derek was always a confirmed Glastosceptic, ever since he got booked to play the famously sodden 1984 festival and contracted gout for his trouble. Well the old man may have passed the Sweet Memory Sounds reigns on to Count Skylarkin and Natty Bo, but they’re not going to go to bloody Glastonbury either. Well, strictly speaking, Count Skylarkin is. But not before he’s played records for you at Notting Hill Arts Club this Saturday night.

Reggae, ska, soul, r&b, calypso, latin, dancehall and jungle dynamite. Drinks served in glasses rather than paper cups. Toilets that *don’t* look like something from World War I. Guaranteed mud and Metallica free! From the 1940s to the present day – from Kingston to New Orleans via Brixton and Bogota – your selectors journey through rare and classic vinyl nuggets from the golden age of bass. This could catch on!

Saturday June 28th at Notting Hill Arts Club
8pm-2am, £6 before 10pm, £8 after

ZAIA + Tom Showtime + Count Skylarkin + SENSIBLE DANCEHALL

Count Skylarkin gears up for the annual Cowley Road bonanza with a bass-heavy line-up of local heroes and visiting dignitaries.
ZAIA are OX4’s latest live roots reggae offering, born from the ashes of Raggasaurus and featuring a procession of top vocal talent over hot horns and deep, dubby basslines.
On the decks Robin from Sensible Dancehall dusts off his carnival classics and Tom Showtime makes the trip from Melbourne, Australia with reggae, rocksteady and hip hop party starters aplenty.

*On Carnival day itself you can find Count Skylarkin spinning tunes outside The Bullingdon (early afternoon) and The Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House (from 4:30pm)

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday 4th July 2014 at The Cellar, Frewin Court, Oxford
10pm-3am | £5 advance / £6 door
Facebook event


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