May Ball 2012 Preview

EVERY year, the Guild saves their biggest show until last- the May Ball. This event, attended by over 3000 people, gives the students of Aberystwyth one last chance before the exam season truly kicks off (although, running late this year, many people will already be in the midst of their exams) to come together, suit up and get on your waterproof gladrags for what promises to be a great night.

The May Ball, whether intentionally or not, blends many of the quirky elements that make the Aber Uni experience unique into one night. For one thing, the event infamously takes place in a field in the middle of nowhere; Aberystwyth exists in a very similar location. For another, the line-up is inescapably eclectic, as if many of the Union’s musical guests from throughout the past year have joined forces a la Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to form one giant super-Union-night of great music and cheesy retro numbers.

The night also brings together a variety of entertainment. Why not drunkenly trade thirty of your Great British pounds for a quick go on a dark bungee jump dangling off a dodgy-looking crane? Why not spend all night spinning in a strobe-lit haze on the Waltzers? Or go over to the oxygen bar in the Chill-Out Marquee and hook yourself up until you feel light-headed because there simply wasn’t enough oxygen outside to meet with your high-O2 standards?

There is so much potential excitement here. Forty pounds may be asking a lot, with final rents due and the summer ahead to think of, but the May Ball really is what you make of it. Get a good group of mates together and this really can be one of the best nights of the year, even if it does absolutely bucket down and someone throws up due to ‘travel sickness’ (aka too much of the fizzy stuff over at the Champagne Bar) on the dark and winding coach trip back into town. With each drinks token being worth £2.50, many of the drinks are reasonably priced and the queues at the bars genuinely do move quicker without the slow-witted genius usually seen in front of you stopping to count out 5ps on the counter. There is certainly plenty to do, whether you want to check out the Headphone Disco or get involved in what I’m sure will be an awe-inspiring encounter with the (oddly intimidating sounding) walk-about magician who will also be on site.


Zane Lowe

The headline act, and one the organisers claim to have been after for the past six years, is top Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. Lowe’s disk-spinning skills are renowned up and down the country and his set is likely to be one of the messiest of the night, tracks bleeding flawlessly into one another with heavy bass beats and epically anticipatory drops. The energy in the Main Arena will no doubt receive a massive boost with Lowe behind the decks, cranking things up to eleven.


Ms. Dynamite

Ms Dynamite’s more recent works such as Neva Soft show a definitive evolution from perhaps her best known track Dy-Na-Mi-Tee (which, despite its popularity back in the day does not best represent her as an artist), in part achieved through a fusion of R&B with some light dubstep in a sort of throwback to the days of grime music.


Roll Deep

The East London collective who brought us Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder, Roll Deep, are also on the bill for the night ahead of the release of their fifth studio album later this year. Their rap/ grime combos will really amp up the atmosphere, especially with the introduction of recent and massively overplayed floor-filler, Good Times.


Top Loader

Perhaps one of the more controversial acts on the line-up is band of the early noughties, Toploader. And the answer to the controversy is, yes, they do have songs other than Dancing In The Moonlight (although that will undoubtedly be the upbeat favourite of their set). In fact, the band, having reformed a few years ago, released an album only last year. Having given some of their newest tracks a quick listen, I think many who disregarded the group may be in for a pleasant surprise and Toploader should be a great addition to the line-up, and their songs such as She Said may be stuck in your head for hours afterwards.


The Hoosiers

Rounding off the line-up in the Main Arena are inventors of the word odd-pop and musicians of said genre, The Hoosiers. It feels as if nobody has been keeping proper track of The Hoosiers since their infectiously bouncy debut album, The Trick to Life, which gave birth to the singles Worried About Ray and Goodbye Mr A. Their more recent work is somewhat more reflective, but as a live outfit this band are guaranteed to get the audience jumping.


Other Tents

Over in the Tribute Tent, we have The Killers cover band, the pun-tastically named The Fillers, a group whose work has been endorsed by The Killers frontman, Brandon Flowers; so if you’ve always wanted to see The Killers live and have not yet managed to get tickets, then these guys should whet your appetite until you get to see the real thing. Also present will be Green Day tribute act Green Date, who will be churning out all of that classic pop-punk that many used to get so riled up over in high school. Putting a slightly more original twist on things will be ukulele enthusiasts The Rinky Dinks, whose jazzy covers of well-known rock songs should be worth a listen, even if square-dancing is unintentionally encouraged. Students’ Union favourite, DJ Jinx, will be spinning some tunes between acts before closing things up in the Tribute Tent with an impassioned rock/ metal set.

If you want to take a break from all of these musical interludes, or if the funnies are just more your thing, the Comedy Zone will once again be present. This area usually plays host to some of the best up-and-coming comedians and comedy acts, so if you choose to head on over you may
just witness the beginnings of a comic genius about to take hilarious flight. This year, John Robins, Jared Hardy, Tommy Rowson, Ben Van Der Velde and duo Horse & Louis are all booked in to appear. Robins successfully appeared on Russell Howard’s Good News last year, so you may recognise his cheery yet self-deprecating anecdotes from there, whereas Horse & Louis are peddlers of the increasingly popular comedy music genre. You never know what you might take away from a visit to the Comedy Zone, but if you’re up for a laugh then you can’t really go wrong here.