Im from Ireland, and for ANYONE involved with, or even for those with a just passing interest in Irish subcultures of graffiti, street-art, dancing and bboy themes, this is the event to be at ! There’s less than a month to go to cop yer tickets for the biggest Irish BBoy event this year, Saturday 4th August is the date, and the Oh Yeah Venue in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast is the setting.
The evenings event is simply an overdue tribute to the Maddens, and just an importantly, to thank, show some respect, and to acknowledge the extended family of individuals who were not only members of the BCB, but were the organisers of all the events, the gigs, the fundraising, dance schools, workshops, music festivals, TV promotions and much much more since those early days. There’s rarely a reference to the pioneers like Aidy McLaughlin, Steve McFall, Boo, Paddy G or Gaffo when we talk about the BCB, but without these heads, we wouldnt be here today !
On the night, we’ll be celebrating 35 years of the Belfast City Breakers; The enthusiastic and energetic crew of dancers, rappers, beatboxers and graffiti writers that bonded over Hip-Hop music in the early 80s in Belfast and just as importantly, we will celebrate and honour the life of inspirational artist and BBoy champion John Madden of local legends the Madden Twins.
I can confidently say that if it wasn’t for their kindness, their cool, their dance moves and their generally positive spirit, I wouldnt have been involved in a culture that pays me to this day. I clearly recall them both being such an inspiration. As with any youth culture, you find like-minds and you follow your heart and the path it leads ya down. If it wasnt for John and William Madden, I have no clue what path I wouldve found growing up in Belfast. All we wanted to do was pop, lock, spin, show off our outlines in our black books, talk about the latest tracks we could Rap along to, graffiti we’d seen and whatever else we were hooked on.
There were numerous names and faces that kicked things off, individuals that inspired a generation and more; My first ever interaction with Hip-Hop was from someone playing a tape of a Mr Magic Rap Attack radio show across the street from where I was mowing my Aunties front lawn, Birdy Willis. Then down at Newsboys on York Street, there were The Maddens, Anto Lynn, Micky Rooney, Tommy Wilson, Kevin McKenna, Stevie Copeland & Matchy. Inspired by the first EVER street-art I ever witnessed in Ireland, DINO NAD X, there was Keith Connolly, Sherry & Savo [and all round good guy Joe Lindsay!] from the Antrim Road, as well as Micky Leith & Dee McIlroy from the Grosvenor.
We just hung out together as if Hip-Hop was our deity. We werent from the same parts of town, but that was neither here nor there. As teenagers that attended Protestant schools, myself and a couple of mates didn’t know any Catholic kids, and didn’t really understand what the religious fuss was about. Remember, it was a very isolated time, we weren’t meant to be hanging out with kids from the other side of the religious divide. But collectively, we all broke the mould. All those faces and names were pivotal in my early awareness of how nonsensical the political situation was in Northern Ireland, even at 14. And they paved the way for many more than just me.
On the night, we’ll be in the company an original member of the BCB, DJ Sconey [the first bboy I ever witnessed using a prop during his dance routines: The prop was a chair and it was used for his trademark windmill move]. Sconey will drop a set of ultra rare breaks, there will be a super-duty dance performance from Manchester BBoy mosse the Bad Taste Cru, as well a DJ Set from Colin Elemental from Dundalks’ the Just Fresh DJs.
And as well as the soundtrack to our youth being blasted by the DJs, we’ll hear a head-meltin old school drum machine session courtesy of Ableton authorities Sleeping Soul [Imagine an Egyptian Lover live set, with more balls than an afternoon at Wimbledon]: Michael Leith & Stevie Overend are two widely recognised and admired local musicians that utilise the old school electro sound we grew up with, and improve on it by updating it with modern tech. Expect a minimum of 2 drum machines, 5 synths and hundreds of electro classics to keep yer ears and feet entertained !! Yer eyes will be suitably entertained by visuals being kindly provided by another old pal, Laverys’ favourite female DJ, Louise Renfrew. DJ Jelly from the Bad Taste Cru will be settin off proceedings behind the decks and Carricks’ own First Class MC will host the night.
Get yourself over to https://www.tickettailor.com/events/togetherinpiecesinteractivecic/180719/ as we cant guarantee entry on the door, on the night.
By Craig Leckie & Aidy McLaughlin