Despite his disdain for New Years Eve, Paul Riley finds himself dancing with everybody else during Fiesta Bombarda’s triumphant end of year bash. 

The amount of “Bah Humbug” contained within this writer is matched only by my disdain for the attritional experience that is most New Year’s Eve nights out. This disdain can be best encapsulated in a small equation:

Time spent queuing, for a drink or otherwise < Time spent drinking, dancing and otherwise = Fun

Time spent queuing, for a drink or otherwise > Time spent drinking, dancing and otherwise = Fuck that I’d rather be watching the Hootenanny. And I hate the Hootenanny.

This is why, a number of years ago, I stopped going out on NYE unless I had a ticket to a show. House parties are great, ‘town’ is not. The December 31st general bar crawl is anathema to me. Buying a ticket guarantees, at least, that you know where you’re going, you know what will be on, and there will only be so many people allowed in.

It is not perfect, but at least it will probably safeguard you against the prospect of being forced into Popworld at 4am. If it sounds like I am a miserable bastard it is because I am.

Before I go on to talk about the night itself, I would also like to add one other small point.

The Kazimier basically broke NYE with their 2015/16 Escape to Planet Kronos event. Suffice to say that after that night, unless you have something approaching a giant waterfowl joust, a UFO on a crane and 1600 people in fancy dress, then you are not overly likely to tempt me out on my least favourite evening of the year.

After the Kaz closed, I didn’t bother with NYE until this year. Predictably, the people who finally tempted Gollum out into the open were the folks of the Kaz/Invisible Wind Factory crew, aided and abetted by Fiesta Bombarda and the ever-wonderful Positive Vibrations.

Invisible Wind Factory is a very different beast to the much-missed Kaz, and with that comes the need to accept that things will be not be the same, and nor should they be. The Kaz grew into a thing of greatness, and IWF is the next step.

IWF is larger, and much less intimate. There have also been some teething problems, but the good memories are already piling up in this wonderful space.

We’ve seen Pink Kink tear apart a cabbage with their teeth and spit it into the audience (a not-too subtle reference to a scandal relating to one of their fellow headliners). We’ve seen Thundercat chilling in white Birkenstocks and socks, there was that stunning show from Wild Beasts, and a frankly scandalizing Peaches celebrate her 50th with a giant inflatable knob.

👉Galactic Funk Militia Interview: “When you see a band, you should get a show”👈

We’ve discovered, in the basement during FestEvol and the Loner Noise all-dayer, our new favourite sweaty rock venue, and we’re loving the ever-evolving layout inside this box of tricks. IWF is a huge blank canvas on which promoters and organisers can really go to town, and that is what sets it apart.

Tonight was, after all my bitching and whining, rather wonderful. In true IWF style, the stages were dressed and the space changed again to add novelty to a space that is rapidly becoming familiar.

Beardyman continued to disprove the theory that once you get over the novelty of beatboxing, the attraction wears off. Stealing Sheep knocked out a disco funk DJ set to the joy of all who witnessed it (our editor, a Jacksons aficionado, lost it and became a quivering mess when then played Speed  Demon), the New York Brass Band rattled off a set studded with bangers, and all the while, the Positive Vibrations from the basement were smashing the lower end of the audio spectrum. Aba Shanti-I, Sinai Sound System and DJ Josh Ray had our bass covered.

By the time the Galactic Funk Militia descended onto the party for their post-midnight performance, even I was enjoying myself, and had totally forgotten the date, my miserable demeanour, and the fact that the end of the holidays was looming. Hell, I actually had fun. And a massive dance.

It seemed that everyone had fun, and so this has been a fun write-up. Despite being a sour-arse, I would much rather write about good stuff than bad.

Unfortunately, it would be remiss of me to end this piece without a note on the door staff. A few days before this event, a number of them were attacked at IWF and required hospital treatment. This celebration could not have happened without them; they are there for our safety and to ensure that things runs smoothly. Despite the assaults days before, the security were approachable, friendly, professional and conscientious, and that must have been difficult for them. Much respect.

No-one goes to work to be stabbed. If you are one of those people who goes to a show carrying a weapon, or goes out with intent to do someone else harm, then on behalf of the rational majority of this city I humbly request that you stay at home and cause harm to yourself instead. Do the world a favour.

Okay, rant over. Fiesta Bombarda and Positive Vibrations smashed it. Now that the dust has settled, we look forward to a new year of exciting events at IWF, including the Mad Professor’s Dub Club, Nightmares on Wax and the rifftastic freakfest that is WRONG Festival. Nice.

Image of Galactic Funk Militia by Jazamin Sinclair