With Norman Jay, G-FUNK, DJ Skillz

The gods had slung a star carpet over the peaks of Chamonix and the temperature was so overdrawn it was gonna get a letter from the bank. It was the kind of cold that makes it painful to walk further than 200 metres, that excites deep wells of energy once relieved within a warm space with large drinks and music, perfect then, for the purposes of Winter Sessions’ warm-up gig at The Podium in Chamonix.

It was Clash’s first time in Chamonix, yet sophomore fears were eased by a kind friend, George, who had spent a season getting her gnarl on and retained a tight group of friends; it was thence that we headed, to a warm up house party full accommodating skiers offering up stubbies and a warmer welcome then this London-twisted scribe had received in a while.

It was onto The Podium, for a line up that had Chamonix buzzing for some time: the MBE, The Kiss FM cavalier, the Rare Groove Godfather Norman Jay was representing on the platters that matter, alongside Chamonix notoriety G-FUNK, local DMC champion DJ Skillz and Ninja Tune associate DJ Flo. Room two saw DJing from Joe Volpiere and Corin.

The room was gearing up prematurely for Valentine’s Day with cut-out hearts and camo netting whilst DJ Skillz cut up a mix of house to amp up an already refreshed crowd. More needle abuse than a Glasgow YMCA followed with Skillz dropping Dead Prez’s 'Hip Hop' and later segueing in with the excellent Costello Girl’s 'Speak Louder[Donique remix]'.

G-FUNK appeared soon after to reception sweeter than French vanilla butter pecan chocolate deluxe from the Chamonix crew, dropping Lords of the Underground cult cut 'Funky Child', some Gangstarr, Pharaoh Monch, chain jigging above the shirt of the New York skyline as he bounced to the byline and.....! pulled a fade-away jumper with one second on the clock: La Saga by IAM! This cut features soldiers from the Wu-Tang army, straight New York devilry laced with bled-muffled verlang of the south of France ‘From Medina to Marseille’!

This gave Norman Jay some serious boots to fill, and he amply and promptly complied. Jay’s set varied wildly and assuredly from Paradise Garage-era funk to Native Tongues New York hip hop, to the most unexpected and wildly unpredictable twist of the night – Norman’s predilection for skid mark-dutty jungle! Ragga-sampled amen breaking stormers came thick and fast, the raving faithful not so much having ‘Good Times’ so much as having a aneurism.

All that was left for Clash to do was to walk through what seemed to resemble nitro glycerine but was later found to be the night air, back to board and bed, via a baking factory which kindly catered towards non-wholesale clients. Best night of the year, all year.

Words by Miguel Cullen
Photo by Alice Skinner

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