« Rifles in the range || Moon Caravan: Car Camping in the Mud »

Scratch Perverts: Chiropractors of sound manipulate discs

"The world...the time has come to--the world...the time has come to--"

As Dom and I approached the Red Marquee late Friday Night (or early Saturday morning, whichever way you want to look at it), the beats of the Chemical Brothers' "Galvanize" were attracting a steady stream of people into the booming red shed like moths to a flame. The audience was already right up against the stage and jumping around with abandon, and the Scratch Perverts were only spinning their second track.

As feats of turntablism go, there aren't many who can compare to Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts, and DJ Plus One. The crowned trio of scratchers have individualy won the top international mixing competitions so many times, they have retired from competing, their name now synonymous with battle DJ'ing. Instead, they focus on festivals like Fuji Rock and their residency at Fabric in London, and they still continue to awe.

If you've never seen the Scratch Perverts, then you've never seen a group of DJs with lightning dexterity pushing mixers and turntables to their limits. It's like watching the most abusive point of a product strength test live on stage. You'd be forgiven for thinking that they were going to subject their equipment to a five-tonne pile driver and then take it over to the wind tunnel.

The sheer number of tracks they blasted through was mind boggling. This reporter had a hard time keeping up with the songs they they were mixing onstage. It almost become a trivia game: Name That Track, but as soon as you had your finger on it, the Pervs dropped another and the game was on again.

With every popular tune, another wave of ear-to-ear grins came over the crowd, and another sea of raised fists swelled above them. Radiohead, Velvet Underground, House of Pain, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Prodigy, Daft Punk, Gnarls Barkley, Beastie Boys, DJ Shadow, White Stripes, Blur, the list goes on. The sheer number of choice tracks that you might hear over the course of a night at one club, the Scratch Perverts ripped through in little under an hour.

At one point, DJ PLus One stunned the crowd by playing the equivalent of a drum solo on the turntable. Using his fingers and thumbs to tap on the well-used vinyl, he thumped out a little Gene Kruppa (or Dave Grohl, I guess) before letting Nirvana's "Nevermind" roll out and watching the whole crowd surge and go nuts. By the time they had us all chanting, "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!" I was worn out--but one look around told me that this crowd was only just beginning to rage.