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6 Music's Alternative Jukebox: Steve Lamacq Selects
The Quietus , October 5th, 2014 13:57

Taken from the forthcoming book, Radio 6 Music's Alternative Jukebox, in which the eponymous station's acclaimed DJ's select their favourite under-loved tracks, Steve Lamacq singles out his go-to Clash track and a memorably-rousing Billy Bragg gig among others

‘Complete Control’ is my favourite Clash song: right from the very start it’s a statement of intent. It’s hard to find a single record that sums up what the punk movement meant to people, and there are lots of records I could have chosen, but the fury of that record and the manifesto it sets out make it the one, for me. It’s the one I turn to whenever I need to make a decision about something: I know Strummer will have the answer.

We did a gig for 6 Music as part of the Camden Crawl in 2009, and we put on a couple of gigs with a variety of new bands and a couple of old favourites, so I asked Billy Bragg – not knowing if he’d do it – to play at the Dublin Castle. It holds about 200 people, so it was a tiny venue for Billy, but he agreed to play. It turned out to be my favourite gig of all time. I’ve got a bootleg of it that I listen to pretty much every week. It’s just really inspiring. By the time he did ‘New England’ at the end of the set he barely needed to sing because the crowd was singing along so loudly: it was so rousing.

Generally when it comes to reggae I’m pretty oldschool – stuff like Clint Eastwood and General Saint are more my thing – but Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ is just one of those songs that I’d play on the radio and it brings things to life: it’s just a great song.

I love discovering bands and being there at the start of their career, and the Maccabees was one of those situations. The first time I saw them, they looked like they’d just met for the first time on the way to the gig! There was something fantastically naïve about their first record. They have a real romance and sensitivity: there are a lot of clumsy lyricists around at the moment, but the Maccabees manage to get to you, without being too soppy or introverted. ‘First Love’ is always in my DJ set when I’m playing out.


Join a very special 6 Music panel of DJs - Cerys Matthews, Don Letts and Gilles Peterson at Rough Trade East, 7pm on 8 October, as they discuss their Alternative Jukebox Selections with Miranda Sawyer. BBC Radio 6 Music's Alternative Jukebox is published 6th October by Cassell

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