Arriving with my squad of friend’s old and new, you could say I was a little excited for the antics that lay ahead at We Are Fstvl. The first festival of the summer, and We Are Fstvl’s biggest line up to date, I knew I was going to struggle to see absolutely everyone that I wanted to see but I was going to try my darndest. The sun was shining, glitter, gems and barely there outfits flooded the aerodrome… and that’s not just the girl’s we’re talking about, as guys and girls made an effort to soak up the sun and get down to the filthiest beats.

Kurupt FM were a highlight for me back in 2016 and I’ve been showing them bare groupie love ever since, so they definitely deserve a mention for their entrancing set. MC Grindah, Chabuddy G, DJ Beats and Steve’s relighted the UGK love for all those that turned up for their set. It was evident that Garage never died as they rewinded back to classic 90’s and 00’s tunes, with a little bit of luck they also put their mark on Baby D ‘Let me be your fantasy,’ as well as one of their biggest tracks to date ‘Heart Monitor Riddim,’ everybody sing “punch, lyrical blow to the jaw!”

And we’ve got to show love to headliner Craig David with TS5, for bringing the pirate radio sensations on for his set where crowds got in their element spitting to his Justin Beiber influenced ‘Fill Me In,’ ‘Rewind’ and TLC’s ‘No Scrubs.’ Just imagine a heaving crowd of smiley faced wannabe MC’s!? It was pretty inspiring, like some sort of MC Flashmob.

The LoveJuice tent was where you needed to be if you love the vibes of Marbella, Ibiza and Dubai; where they’ve been hosting the sexiest House and Dance events for the last 10 years. A pivotal part of We Are Fstvl over the last few years they’ve brought us CJ Sax (one of the nation’s most loved saxophone players,) and Bongo Ben (because who can forget the days when you’d go clubbing and you wouldn’t try your hardest to have a go on some blokes bongo’s much to his annoyance?!)

We settled down for a cider or few at the Kopparberg Urban Forest as hosted by Solid Grooves, where we watched our boy Michael Bibi spin, as inflatable animals filled the sea of groovers. He was also joined by his SG family including Pawsa and Dennis Cruz, after he’d dropped serious remixes from Pax. The vibe was very cuban with bright colours and tropical plants… could Solid Grooves be hinting at a South American takeover? We wouldn’t be surprised if they pitched up there next year.

Not content with the baddest in music DJ’s and MC’s, then that’s fair, as festival goers made way to fairground rides to scream if your favourite DJ’s weren’t doing it right or you needed an excuse for a scenic view of the site. Silver abstract features and other decorative features were poised around the site, ready and raring for futuristic selfies and poses. Ball pits are all the rage these days, so we were pretty excited when we witnessed impressive dives to make Olympic diver Tom Daley Wince; that’s unless VIP were beckoning you into their plush hot tubs, which wouldn’t be surprising as it was as hot as we’d anticipated.

UKF is always a favourite of mine and no matter where I am, I always make time for a snippet of  Redlight and My Nu Leng, who for me bring some of the largest bouts of energy when they’re not even housed in the biggest arena. My feedback to We Are Fstvl is… get UKF a bigger tent, man!

Down in CircoLoco we were feeling proper like we’d gone back in time to our happy place of Ibiza, which We Are Fstvl are hella guilty of tempting us to spontaneously buy tickets as the summer season gets underway. The Martinez Brothers brought their special mix of Latin House… yeah we could have sworn we saw people doing the salsa, which was strangely impressive.


Over on the We Are Fstvl stage, not only did Kurupt FM and Craig David get the crowd hype but Jonas Blue had everyone bellowing out his most famed hit ‘perfect stranger,’ which we’re pretty sure you can imagine set everyone off as soon as they heard the intro. Ensuring us ladies got our dose of girl power was the ever enthusiastic Hannah Wants with elements of old skool US House, whilst Gorgon City had a strong set that featured many of their classics.

We didn’t manage to do the two full days, because we were there from beginning to close and were honestly wounded but that’s why this year’s camping would have been ideal for those wishing to see Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Jones and Sven Vath on the Sunday. Don’t worry, we will forever hang our heads in shame but a massive shout out to those who managed 3 days of diabolical mentalness, you are heroes in our eyes and so, all those beautifully mesmerizing lazer’s and explosive cannons are for you… our unsung raving heroes!

Those light shows that go with the evening sets, almost beg for day to turn to night but then it does make finding stages and tents even harder than it was during the afternoon when you’d already sunk a few Desperados but none the less I’ll never get tired of saying that the lanyard full of set times and maps, isn’t the be all. If I was so heavily set on following the times then I probably wouldn’t have befriended a third of the groups of people I met along the way and for that We Are Fstvl, we thank you.

Last weekend thus proved that music will and still does hold the masses together, no matter where you’re from or what you do, we’ll always unite at festivals such as We Are Fstvl.


See the original article here: http://backstaaage.com/festivals/we-are-fstvl-saturday-the-run-down/



We’re glad it came to this, finally after what seems like a ten or fifteen year hiatus, Mike Skinner, front man for The Streets has brought back that original pirate material for a noughties celebration of UK Garage and alt Hip Hop.

Still as current as when they surfaced with albums including ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free,’ it looks like the entire UK is going nuts for their 2018 tour The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light and it was evident crowds over and under 30 were still mad for it when we caught Mike Skinner warming up for Kurupt Fm last week at The Roundhouse. Mashing up golden oldies of The Streets with relevant Grime and Hip Hop heavyweights, Mike Skinner looked pleased to be back but not as pleased as crowds were.

Tickets have already sold out for one of the London shows so don’t get mugged off, score a ticket for April 2018 or you’ll have to dry your eyes mate. You can catch them at Birmingham, Leeds, London Brixton and Glasgow’s O2 Academy, as well as Manchester’s O2 Apollo.

We’ll crack open a can for that and see you there, so make sure you get your tickets right here.

Also check out Grim Sickers “Open The Till”  video ft Ghetts & The Darker the Shadow The Lighter the Light.


See original article here: http://backstaaage.com/concerts/mike-skinner-streets-tour/

Who likes to Bunga Bunga? We like to Bunga Bunga.

The phase ‘Bunga Bunga’ might raise a few eyebrows among some but forget about powerful Italian leaders and supposedly naked lady friend’s and instead imagine a little slice of Little Italy; powerfully flavoursome pizzas cooked to perfection, limoncello liquors, well crafted beer and a setting to make you forget Covent Gardens hustle and bustle.


From humble beginnings in Battersea, Bunga Bunga has branched out, up and down, into the thriving and more central location of London’s Drury Lane, beside theatre land, shops and gran tourist-mo lanes. Walking off the streets into BungaTini, we were escorted to a table, at 8 o’clock the restaurant was quite busy, with the majority of customers eating upstairs overlooking the ground floor bar and with many diners awaiting entry into the basement of Bunga Bunga, where entertainment beckoned. The street level area was a perfect place to enjoy drinks before entering downstairs to watch the much publicized variety show. The launch night alone welcomed performances from music makers The Jersey Boys and Sheridan Smith ‘Funny Girl.’

I’d already researched the menu and actually appreciated the petite sized menu that featured starters like bruschetta, arancini, burrata, olives and octopus. I’d never heard of arancini but it’s something I could have eaten twice over, as I opted for the melt in the mouth white truffle & wild mushroom risotto balls, whilst my sister chose the fennel sausage & mozzarella balls also covered in crispy breadcrumbs and complete with side salad.


We eyed up meat and cheese platters next but with sizeable pizza’s on the menu and a love of dessert, we edged towards the second course. If you love spice then you need to get the Piccante- a pizza covered evenly with tomato, mozzarella, n’duja, ricotta, calabrese salami and cherry tomatoes. The ricotta, mixed with spreadable pork salami made me hum with every mouthful and their not too thin sourdough base meant I wasn’t leaving the crusts to go to waste. My sister went with a classic Vesuvio pizza-  impeccably covered with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham and rocket. These wood fired pizza’s definitely left rival brands in the shade (please please can you stock these in supermarkets or open some more restaurants.)


Staff were good to look at and had a look of authentic Italian about them, smartly dressed and always willing to go above and beyond, we were impressed when we were swiftly moved table when a party were too close to us, knocking over a once jolly looking Peroni. The restrooms gave you a brief moment to brush up on your italiano and the restaurants walls were covered in plates, pottery, oil canvases and photographs of the historically rich and famous. As we admired our surroundings, we were lovingly brought shots of limoncello and dessert menus. Not stuffed but contently full, we decided to test our waitresses knowledge, she gave me the kiss seal of approval to go with the popular tirimasu, which was bellissimo.


Now we don’t want to give too much away but as soon as you enter the gateway hedonism you’ll be breathing heavily and fast, gaining that same feeling most people get as they board a fun fair ride (or maybe that’s simply my childish nature.) Expect a few surprises and characters who will enthral and captivate. Downstairs is transformed into more Italian settings, with marble, statues, art and casino decor and entertainment.. don’t lose your betting chips for your chance to play blackjack. The variety show starts from around 7 but we didn’t join the booked parties until 10ish, so we missed a lot of goodies we’re sure but we’re still privileged enough to observe acrobatics and jazz singing before The Bunga Boys got tables on their feet for the hilariously loved bungaoke (hopefully you see what they did there?) Dressed in red waistcoats, varying hats and armed with musical instruments and mics, they brough classic 80’s, 90’s and commercial songs to life, whilst merry diners belted out much loved classics, including ‘9-5,’ ‘summer of 69’ and ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ to name a few of our favourites.


Tables were moved away and those without a seat we’re able to join in with the frivolity where the night was heading. Everybody was at Bunga Bunga for their own reasons and celebrations but the actions of staff and performers ensued that people came together, sharing cheeky smiles and glances, clutching at mics, jeering and drinking from the anatomy of ornate continental statues.


We loved how cocktails were presented and just how effortlessly Bunga Bunga transformed the most quintessential of Londoner into an Italian national.

You can be sure to leave this conception of food, drink and showmanship in a bustle of chatter, and dreaming of gondola rides home.




Written by Vanessa Carby


Bluebird Chelsea: A rediscovery

Where? Bluebird Chelsea- 350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU


With it’s cafe, courtyard, bar and restaurant, the newly decorated Bluebird could warrant a visit for every occasion; from birthday’s to brunches, from dusk till dawn… we’ll certainly be making our way through their food and drinks menu over the cosy winter months.

With a recent refurbishment fuelled by designs featuring Sagrada & Celia Birtwell at the end of September, the refined SW3 eatery has not only updated their look but has given their menu a sprucing using simple, fresh and honest dishes inspired by the best of Modern European cooking, made using the finest ingredients, at the hands of chef Liam Smith-Laing.

As a perfect spot to wind up (in our case) or to mellow down, we were susceptible and willing to try some of the small plates the bar had to offer. With tantalising flavours one of our favourite dishes had to have been the green olive and artichoke tapenade with croutons, which I likened to an olive pesto dip with a thinly sliced bruschetta aquaintance. The wholesomely sized crispy tiger prawns with aioli sauce were fought over with dignity, whilst a dusting of what appeared to be a paprika and chive, and a lemon helping on the side, gave the perfect amount of zing and zang. We ended nibbles with a dish we believe will be the most ordered on the bar menu- the fried baby squid, which came with layering’s of chilli, a smidgen of garlic and a side of lime to squeeze over. As somebody who used to grimace at the thought of squid and octopus, the thin rings were bite sized enough to halt any fears and cooked to perfection.


Not to allow the food to steal the limelight, it would be a travesty if we didn’t come back to the sheer beauty of this venue. Paying respects to it’s original heritage as the first garage of Bluebird Motor Company in 1923, it’s steel beams which stretch the ceiling to grand heights has been awoken with coatings of a terracotta and red hue. Frequented by some of the fashion houses finest and those every holidaying MIC’ers, you could be perturbed to visit, possibly believing your budget may not stretch but we must indulge that it’s affordable menu which includes early bird cocktail prices, suits small flutters and big time soarers alike! Liquorice Allsorts and Twiggy graphics adored the floors, together with a variety of chic and rather grand but suitably comfortable 60’s and 70’s chairs. The Bluebird was a mashup of colour, low lighting, background music and mid range chitter chatter and ultimately perfect for those first time meets or festive celebrations.

With seating around the bar, long tables for larger parties, booths, desks and smaller occupied tables, our weekend evening visit was brimming with sophistication, sleekness and cocktail seduction. Even if you’re not one for cocktails, the elegantly presented cocktails in floral bone china and quirky bird motif printed camp mugs, might make you lose your cool, as it made us for a brief moment. Embracing the garden and Chelsea theme Bar Manager Egzon Kastrati brought us our first round of decadently indulgent cocktails which came in the shape of the Tiffany Rose (which contained Lanique Rose petal vodka, creme de cassis, lime juice, fresh strawberries, sugar cane, topped with Moet & Chandon Rose Champagne) and the English Garden (which contained Square One Organic Vodka, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, elderflower syrup, fresh cucumber, fresh grapes and lemongrass topped with ginger beer.) Both were extremely refreshingly!


We chose to try Bluebird Passion (which contained infused hibiscus Stolyichnaya vodka, raspberry and peach puree, lemon juice, goji berry liqueur and was topped with sparkling wine,) whilst a curved ice cube presented dried fruit to delve into, as well as the Chelsea Flower (which contained Hendricks’s Gin, pomegranate liqueur, apple juice and fresh raspberries) and had berries and pretty petals afloat it.  Definitely an extensive list of cocktails we’ll be praying to taste the sweet serendipity of at our next afternoon tea get together.




Twitter: @bluebirdchelsea

Facebook: BluebirdChelsea

Instagram: bluebirdchelsea

Website: http://www.bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

By Vanessa Carby