Having missed the first round of bloc in 2007 there was only the enthusiastic reviews of mates who attended last year to go on.
Their overall excitement for the impending electronic bang fest was enough to set my mind scene. And having driven 2 and a half hours from London in a car with no cd player, being subjected to the Radio one play list of Friday night house drivel, I was hugely excited for getting into what can only be described as an old school rave with new school musical morals.
Our journey was interrupted by the rumour of sniffer dogs and police blockades, inevitable fodder from the local community of who must be now very used to the collaboration of class A drugs and Electronic music. Though on arrival all we were confronted with was friendly security guards checking our boot for any stow away ravers.
I found that the site itself carries the charm of a Hi-De-Hi episode with Gladys and the gang all prepping the chalets for a comfortable family stay. Except one has to separate the “ding dong ding” for (at our time of arrival) Velcro Fastener throwing off clicks and beats, in a sunken dance floor, with classic disco lights and a sweet sound system. (If anyone has been to Glade, the volume and quality problems experience are not an issue here). The rooms are of a varying standard located in eastern bloc prison camp. Ours was at the lower end, but some of the rooms, we inevitably visited for after parties, seemed to be a touch better. This is not in any way an issue though because they provide sanctuary for bed/messy party that cannot be replicated in any outdoor festival. We didn’t have a shower though which meant either utilising mates, or just reekin it up for the weekend. What each room does have though, which seems to be catching on in these Pontins parties, is the bloc TV; your own personal viewing of the rave in real time.
The line up holds an air of superiority for all electro heads. The relatively recent occurrence of mixing dub step with electro and breaks proves itself to be a relationship that will thrive through such events as this. Flitting between techblock, bassblock and smashbloc the constant groove flows easily, without a whiff of trance in the air.
The headliners varied in standard. Underground resistance came on with old school confidence, unfortunately peetering out with a slightly dated set of Detroit techno. And Karl Bartos didn’t represent the old Kraftwerk team quite as you’d expect, with poor reproductions and substandard visuals. Monolake, on the other hand, repositioned himself from the stage to play his set from the sound box where he continued to make his complex beats sound easy and hugely crowd pleasing. This was backed up by lesser known (and likely priced) acts like Milanese, Dexorsist, and the Skull Disco team who were heralded as amazing highlights of the weekend.
A celebration of Acid house on the Sunday was a welcome addition. Squelchy beats all over, and the fancy dress for Cefax’s Acid Bingo massed the Sunday night mashers. With the old Vic (smashbloc) shut down at midnight the party moved to Bass block where A Guy Called Gerald pulled off a quality deep acid house set with the underlying voodoo ray creeping over but never quite making its way into the set.
Nothing is ever perfect right through, and there are points which I aired my disappointment for an act I’d eagerly anticipated. The beauty of bloc though, is the ease at which you can move from room to room, to assess different styles, and if nothing is to your liking at that moment? Then it is inevitable that you’ll bump into a mate from old raving days, or one of the many new pals made there. If you’re into any form off solid electronica, then I would recommend not missing this. It reaffirmed my faith in the rave generation, and that it still exists both as elderly patrons of the past, and new youth keeping it fresh…I’ll be back.