Select January 1995
The Mo' Wax Headz Tour of 1994 is featured across one page which includes photos from the November 4 show at The Hippo Club as well as details of other shows in the tour. The article was written by Sonia Poulton.
Mo’Wax Headz Tour,The HippoClub, Cardiff: look, you'renot supposed to call it trip-hop, OK?
If you believe the chatterers, the Mo'Wax moniker is hotter than a Kentucky Zinger. Big A&R types are flapping blank cheques at the label’s geeky 20-year old supremo, James Lavelle, in an attempt to buy up the acclaimed home of trip-hop.
Lavelle's hip, pan-global roster of blunt-toting DJs has now reached the deepest recesses of South Wales, mind, and the picture is slightly different. Not what they — or the natives — expected.
More a DJ bill than a stage show, the nine-date Headz tour, featuring DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, plus Lavelle and sidekick: Simon Richmond, began yesterday at London’s Gardening Club. The venue was jammed with glory-seekers and all-round trendies, and another 300-odd were left outside to admire Covent Garden Piazza.
Tonight at Cardiff's Hippo Club there's a Mariella Frostrup lookalike behind the bar, and a Kathy Beale double propping it up. As soon as the needle rests on A Tribe Called Quest, a couple of B-boys shuffle around the floor, swimming their hands in front of their faces, Rob Birch-style.
The Mo’Wax cred factor has yet to register in Wales. It’s 11pm on Friday and Pete, the Hippo’s promoter, is pissed off. He’s been waiting for Lavelle’s posse since 7.30pm and there’s still no sign. “Too much puffing going on,” he frowns.
When they arrive you can spot them a mile off: their clothes are baggier than anybody else’s, they carry huge record crates and they sigh a lot. Finally, the turntables flick on, Krush at the helm, and the mood brightens. Even though he's never been over from Japan before and speaks no English, at least they've heard of him. Backstage, the tuna and onion sandwiches are starting to curl at the edges. Simon Richmond builds another spliff. Presumably it wasn't the hospitality that’s made them schlep around the UK?
“If you only play in big cities,” Richmond counters earnestly, “peoplethink you're elitist. It’s good just to go out anywhere and see what happens.” Lavelle prefers to look forward to tomorrow's gig in Bristol, which'll be attended by Smith & Mighty, plus Daddy G from Massive.
For now, even DJ Shadow, surely the only rising star in the history of Los Angeles to be cripplingly shy, will get little more than a half-hour set. Back out front, the brains behind ‘Lost And Found’ is turning the Beasties’ ‘Hold It Now, Hit it' into a trance hybrid. Sticking by an in-house anything-goes policy, Shadow works head-nodding beats into blunted bass instrumentals, with the odd scratch pattern thrown in for good effect.
It's the Mo’Wax ethos in action - says Lavelle, “early techno, graffiti, beats 'n' breaks. An alternative British youth culture that isn't house or indie.”
At 2am, the lights go up. Shadow and Krush roll up the wires. Lavelle packs the vinyl. No one speaks. For sure, the future will hold better nights for Mo'WaX...