Leicester Swing Dance Extravaganza

With Drummin' Man and King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys

DJ All Ruzzit Buzzit was delighted when swing came to his place. This is his report.

Those of you who know that I live in Leicester are aware that it is the Lindy Hop black hole of the entire universe. But that was put very firmly to rights on Sunday 11 March 2001 when the Swing Dance Extravaganza came to Leicester's DeMontfort Hall.

DeMontfort Hall is a superb venue with excellent acoustics and a large dance area unfortunately usually covered in seats for "Sit Still and Listen" events. But this time the floor was large and clear which was a good job as the evening started with a lesson from Simon Selmon from the London Swing Dance Society. 

We estimate there were 300+ people who joined in which must be some sort of record. I've got to hand it to Simon for the speed in which he got us all sorted into lines and dancing. It's always difficult to teach something to a very mixed ability class, and these ranged from "Never seen a dance floor before" to "experienced hopers", but I thought it was well pitched with some simple moves, so everyone could dance, and a clever little new bit for the more experienced. The only question I had was "Where are all these people on Tuesday night when I do my lessons?"

Then the fun began. As the lesson was free the organisers then had to turf everybody out so they could let them back in again whilst checking their tickets. This was most hilarious as most people had left their coats behind (to reserve their seats) with their tickets in. Anyway, that's the way we do things up North.

The evening proper started with music from DJ Paul's Big Broadcast who put some very danceable stuff on. I wasn't miffed that he was billed as "The UK's Top Swing DJ" as everyone already new that I was.

Then came the band I was personally looking forward to. Drummin' Man, a Gene Krupa tribute band composed of some top flight musicians including Bruce Adams on trumpet, Pete York on drums and Val Ashworth on vocals. Musically, they were superb but, as quite often happens, almost impossible to dance to. They were either 200 miles per hour or to slow. Opus 1, my personal favourite, was so slow I could do a full lindy turn, "with scissors", without fudging a single step which, for me, means they were very slow. I cannot understand why bands do this. It was quite clearly a dance and Opus One is a superb dance number, especially Krupa's version, so why did they slow down the tempo so much ?

Anyway they were very good to listen to and I needed the rest as they were followed, after a Simon Selmon led a mass Shim Sham and Madison, by King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys.

They were superb. Very tight, very danceable and very enjoyable. This showed the professionalism of these guys as, I'd spoken to Mr Pleasure himself earlier and, as well as having a major change of line-up, their pianist was in hospital after some idiot had put a glass in his face thus removing a major chunk of the rhythm section.

This certainly didn't stop them as they ripped through some superb numbers. These were mainly Jump n Jive, but that is much more predominate up here, and the crowd loved it and we finally finished the evening with Paul's Big Broadcast again, very tired, very sweaty and very happy (us, not Paul that is).

This may seem very ordinary to you Big City Slickers down in London, where this sort of thing happens every day and twice on Sundays, but up here it's a very rare and very pleasant treat. So do appreciate what you've got and we'll be happy with the occasional extravaganza and "our cheap bar prices".

Enjoy your dancing

March 2001All Ruzzit Buzzit

If you cannot see the Menu frames, click here for the Home Page.