As we hope you all know, the first Small Decks of the year is nearly upon us and we are all really excited. In honour of this have a read of what it’s all about, courtesy of one of our lovely committee members:

If we at Small Ideas have one event so spine-tinglingly fantastic it’s worth repeating every month, the prize goes to Small Decks. Guaranteed to be a weekday evening full to the seams of obscure bangers, alcohol fuelled merriment and sparking the most important relationships of your life, it’s just quite simply the place to be.
The premise is simple: for a 30-45min set, anyone in the world can play whatever music they want from any genre, time, space and galaxy. We just organise all the interested chickens in order of who’s playing what, and then we’re off.
To warm up our slightly awkward alternative bones, the evening usually kicks off with a set or two of the strongest tracks from a category that I’m going to call “Probably the Best Songs in the World”. Just think along the lines of like, Talking Heads, Belle and Sebastian, Kate Bush, The Smiths and all the other appropriate guys and dolls in that groove and you’ll be somewhere near.

Things tend to get a bit more experimental as the evening continues and no one’s really sure what’s going to be played next. Will it be liquid dubstep? Will it be a motown mashup? Will it be a 4 hour Can’s-Greatest-Hits set? The anticipation is so heightened it’s incomprehensible.
It’s also almost guaranteed to be the time when this conversation happens the most frequently:
*approaches DJ*

(*Top tip*: If the person laying down track after track of solid gold is using a CDJ, they’ll most likely give you the CDs they used if you ask nicely- et voila, yer very own free and radical mixtape)

Of course the music has to stop at some point, as all beautiful creatures must eventually die, but we try and keep the party going for as long as the venue will let us. With so many people usually doing such varied sets, the idea is to include everyone. So don’t worry if you’re super into Krautrock, or just can’t get enough of R n B slow jams, we’ve got something to please your palate.
And the beauty of it is, if you think Small Decks is maybe neglecting a genre, or you want a go, all you have to do is let us know you’re keen and we’ll pencil you in. It’s not even necessary to have experience with any form of DJing experience in all honesty, as CDJs are probably the easiest pieces of machinery to operate in the world, and we’ll of course give you a hand getting used to it before your half hour in the sun.

So come on down and give it a go! We love new members; they keep us young and fresh.

We’re at the Freshers’ fair for another 2 hours! Come and find us in the side bar, we’re here taking memberships, spreading hungover joy and handing out zines. 
We’re at the Freshers’ fair for another 2 hours! Come and find us in the side bar, we’re here taking memberships, spreading hungover joy and handing out zines. 

We’re at the Freshers’ fair for another 2 hours! Come and find us in the side bar, we’re here taking memberships, spreading hungover joy and handing out zines. 

A Fresher’s Guide to the Sheffield Music Scene

It can be daunting diving into a new scene so we at Small Ideas have selected 2 of the best club nights, 2 great venues and 1 amazing record store to start all you Freshers off in your exploration of Sheffield’s wonderful music scene.

Banana Hill – In my humble opinion they’re the best promoters in Sheffield right now, and along with a tremendous wave of contemporary Sheffield bands (Blood Sport, Hot Diamond Aces, Tropic Of Youth, K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade at a glance) have really commandeered a seriously awesome craze in Sheffield for people to delve into African beat music (everything from Ethiopiques to Malian Desert Rock). Seriously, I don’t mean this in a scenester way, it’s like the whole place has suddenly developed an intense love of Afrobeat, Hiplife, Soukous et al, from Indie bands covering Fela Kuti to African music getting its own dedicated stage at Tramlines, Shef seems on it right now.

The recent solidification of this mission came about from their 2013-14 end of term party, tickets were snapped up within the hour as people clambered to catch a glimpse of the likes of Gilles Peterson, Afriquoi and Werkha to name but a few from the carnival sized roster.

Bat Makumba – I mean, any night named after an Os Mutantes song has to be sick right? Normally putting on their parties at Audacious, the duo of Sayid Silkhands & Braxton Hicks’ 11till7 raves encompass the failsafe floor fillers of Techno, Deep House, Nu-Disco etc. etc. But approach the styles in a wholly idiosyncratic way compared to their West Street equivalents, moulding astral traversing sets out of limited press grooves and colloquial dance music from Capetown to Chicago.

This enlivening portrayal of dance music as inextricably tied to a larger social debate is integrated into their bookings too, as last year saw the duo bring to Sheffield everything from DJ Sprinkles’ transphobic confronting hi-tech House beats to Helena Hauff’s gnarled heady Techno, born out of her work with the Anarchist collective Golden Pudel.

From this blurring of the music and its makeup thee best dichotomy arises at their nights, bringing together chilled out like-minded people for conversation and yet still rendering a great atmosphere to get loaded in, in essence, if the current Shef scene has a ‘home’ it’s their nights.

The Audacious Art Experiment – The Audacious Art Experiment, whose converted industrial works setting is hidden deep between London Road’s bangs salons and Bramall Lane’s towers, is quietly becoming what every scene needs and wants.

Sheffield promoters will never tire from using the phrase ‘Steel City’ to promote their totally unrelated club nights, but Audacious have taken full advantage of Sheffield’s old 9-5 in their setting and relationship between community, music and context.

Equal parts record label, forefront music venue for Sheffield’s burgeoning alt-music scene, practice space, recording studio and community workshop, Audacious (or TAAE as it’s often net-known) has done pretty much everything ever. Releasing records for everyone from Bradford Psych super-group NOPE to ‘the best live band in Spain’ Za!, along with regularly providing a home for an eclectic selection of touring bands (Islet, Cowtown, Galaxians to name but a few). The space regularly hosts WIRE-fan-loving electronic workshops (helmed by TAAE’s inhouse avant-noisemakers Spandril and Trans/Human) and can sometimes be found to stretch into literary tributes, this year’s William S. Burroughs night being a particular favourite of mine.

Whatever’s on, the place draws a crowd, and if I’m honest this is my top recommendation for any freshers journeying to Sheffield this September. Just go down as soon as you can, you’ll quickly uncover why TAAE is such a special place.

Tye Die Tapes – It’s very easy as a music fan to feel happy and at home in a city that can sustain 3 separate D.I.Y venues, and Tye Die can always be counted on to hold its own Garage//Punk//Indie niche against the experimental vibes of TAAE and Hardcore helm of The Lughole. With releases coming from everyone from Feature, drone banger experts (as my mate described them, I’m pretty sure that’s an oxymoron) to local Post-Hardcortionist heroes Pjaro, Tye Die Tapes inspires a visceral reaction of crowd surfing, sweat and swell times in its first floor kitchen venue. That is if you can find the place; go behind Decathlon by Hanover Way and follow the crash cymbal.

Record Collector – Spitting distance from the Endcliffe Village, Record Collector is many a Sheffield music fan’s vinyl digging home, but be careful, the place has an addictive aura about it that can empty your overdraft and afternoons in equal measure.

These are Small Ideas’ starter selections for now, but with a city as vibrant as Sheffield I feel bad just pedestalling five. Honourable mentions go to Singing Knives, Niche, The Lughole, Rare & Racy, Showroom, Offbeat, The Night Kitchen and Tramlines, go explore them and of course don’t forget to get involved with the society!

We regularly run socials to all the above (well, bar RC) amongst all our other gig-helming, album-club running, music-doc screening and general ecstatic music enthusiasm spouting tendencies. Its super easy to get involved as we’ll be out and about consistently in Freshers week, flyering on the Sunday at Endcliffe Village, out on the Union concourse on Monday afternoon and at the Activities fair in the Octagon centre later in the week. Come say Hi!

Additional to this news of our Freshers week doc screening and 2nd week clubnight will be released soon.

Small Ideas Presents:

A weird one w/

Aldous RH:

Egyptian Hip Hop dude, and general lo-fi-psych-dream wizard finally comes to Sheffield, bringing with him some beautiful silk ballads from his new solo thang.

ENFER records put out his understated debut record in 2012, more recently Aldous has released some bangers via the stupidly eclectic ‘Tasty Morsels’ label.

Recommended listening:

Sad Eyes:

Self-professed nervous karaoke star, Sad Eyes will grace Sheffield with his unique styleee of experimental funkedelica. Sad Eyes is yet another member of the ‘Tasty Morsels’ label, expect something odd.

Also Waino Skank is probably the best song of 2013:

That far sound:

A new Small Ideas homebrew of beats and psych from our commander. I don’t think anybody knows what to expect. Allow it.

This night is taking place at the The Rocking Chair. This is a brand new venue on Furnival Gate. With the Big Ups gig also happening their this month, It’s already looking like a mighty addition to Sheff’s gig scene.


8.30 till Late thirty.

This is tonight! Get down, it’s gonna be gooood!

Small Ideas AGM - This Thursday!

We’ve had a great year so far (and there’s still more to come!), but it’s time to look ahead to next year…

A lot of this year’s committee is leaving, so WE NEED YOU.

We want Small Ideas to be as inclusive as possible, so we’re saying anyone who wants to be on committee can be on committee, Also don’t be put off if you haven’t managed to come this year we’re quite a small society and pretty easy going.

These are the roles that we’ll definitely have:

President - general head honcho, makes sure stuff gets done

Secretary - organises meetings, mailing list, checks pigeon hole

Treasurer - ensures fiscal responsibility in these tough times

Inclusions- makes sure everyone is included considering the loudest voice, alcohol, accessibility 

then the positions that we could have if more people come are:

Vice President
Small Decks Officer
Promotions Officer
Website Guru
Social Secretary
Intra-Mural Sports Rep

If for any reason you cannot attend but still want to run, then please contact us and we’ll sort out a solution. The AGM will be held in the Gallery of the Students’ Union at 6pm on Thursday 3rd April. We hope to see as many of you there as possible.

Small Decks is back! New venue, new look, new sweet poster but same mix of the best alternative music around. Come! Tell your friends!