The Perfect May Ball Lineup

The Tab's music contributors take you through their perfect May Ball acts.

Most of the May Ball committees have now moved on from booking bands to sampling wine stocks. But with the attendees still the dark, the music writers of The Tab have put together a wish-list: the acts we most want to see at our Balls and June Events.

Frank Ocean – Aron Solomons

Hip-Hop and R&B is in a sorry state. Any creativity, flair or talent has been drained out by the soulless juggernaut that is chart music. But fear not! A rebellion against this monotonous drivel has been led by the collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWKTA). Commanded by the charismatic Tyler the Creator these LA based rappers are renowned for their relentless energy, and would help any May Baller power through to a survivors’ photo appearance. When Tyler is not hyping the crowd, fellow member Frank Ocean (second on the BBC Sound of 2012) offers the best in well produced, refreshingly honest R&B. A sure fire hit at any Ball.


Hudson Mohawke – John Bardsley

Hiring a big-time DJ for a May Ball makes perfect sense: a famous name for less cash without all the hassle of setting up a live band. The ever–classy Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke would bring the ideal sonic backdrop for drunken black-tie debauchery. Not so intense that you would sweat out your tux raving, but energetic enough to guarantee good times all round. Bad-ass bass lines layered with divine hip hop drums will get everyone pulling shapes that they didn’t even realise they had in them.


Django Django – Kate Wilson

Granted, they’re probably not May Ball Headliner material – their debut album came out at the end of January. But it’s also one of the best albums around at the moment. Django Django have the perfect mash-up of summer hedonism and danceable beats, and every track sounds individual. And I’m sure they would sound even better in a small, sweaty gazebo. You might not get the same buzz of recognition that you would from better-established artists, but Django Django are the perfect musical accompaniment to Cantabrigan decadence.


Girl Talk – Cosmo Godfree

In the spirit of new experiences, my choice is an artist who I have been desperate to see live for a while now. Maybe the lure of Cambridge can tempt him across the Atlantic?

I’m talking about Girl Talk, aka superstar mashup DJ Greg Gillis from Pittsburgh. From high profile festival slots to warehouse parties, his anything goes approach to sampling (Aphex Twin vs Soulja Boy? Radiohead vs Ol? Dirty Bastard?) sees him uniting all musical camps in massive raves. With pop, rap, R&B and electro snippets flying wildly in all directions, I have no doubt that every lucky May Ball attendee would be dancing with a massive grin plastered across their face.


Fucked Up – Joe Pritchard

The one problem with may ball acts is that they tend to find it difficult to get the crowd going. When Ms Dynamite played last year she tried to get the crowd going by screaming “WHAT’S YOUR NAAAME” and thrusting the microphone in the faces of a group of dinner-jacketed students, the reply was a quiet ‘Richard’. Fucked Up would offer the best possible chance of sending the crowd mental as they put on by far the most exciting live shows of any guitar band around. And the sight of a fat semi-naked man would be a sight to behold amongst the glitz and glamour of a May Ball.


The Correspondents – Joe Bates

Cambridge seems to have gone swing-crazy this term. From Itchy Feet, to Q Ents to Electro-swing at Clare Cellars, everyone seems to want to put on ridiculous clothes and jive the night away. Why? Because electro-swing is better to dance to than almost anything else; because it mixes grimy bass lines with retro appeal.

But the biggest night of term belonged to the kings of the genre: The Correspondents. They are comprised of an eccentric, charismatic lead man, Mr. Bruce, and a hot-shit DJ Mr. Chuckles. Whilst their names make them sound like scary clowns, their increasing fame and reputation for setting the dance floor on fire makes them the perfect choice for a May Ball. Who could better reflect the mix of decadence and hedonism better than this eccentric duo?


Who do you want to see? Heard any good rumours? Leave them in the comment section.

  • Hipster

    I was writing articles like this before they were cool…

  • George Johnston

    Tried to get Frank Ocean for John's last year… bloody OFWKTA wouldn't reply to any of my emails… Would be sick though if someone could get them this year

    • DJ Cunt

      Shut the fuck up.

  • Bible John Paul II

    Sorry, I don't know who any of those are, so frankly I wouldn't waste my time with booking any of them lol. I've taken the liberty of drafting a more suitable wish list for May ball:

    Bon Jovi
    Bruce Springsteen
    Phil Collins


    Bible John Paul II

    • +1

      for Slayer.

      • Metalhead


  • jim bob

    That hip hop act was absolutely shit, went onto youtube to listen and never heard such tripe- emperors clothes syndrome methinks.

  • Larry Zhukman

    Why was I not asked? Ever heard of New Order?

    • Adam McVickerby

      Cos you're a prick

  • nope

    The best thing at our may ball last year was the oasis tribute band. Better than some shit indy band/dj nobody's heard of imho.

    • surely

      the only thing worse than Oasis is an Oasis tribute band? Or was it just one of those "so utterly, utterly shite it's great" kind of things?

      • nope

        What is shite is when they pay loads more for some crappy indy band with floppy haircuts and skinny jeans just because the nme said they were cool once. It doesn't matter they've only got one song because they're 'cool' and that's all that matters for the type of pretentious twats that write these articles.

        • Confused old man

          The NME? Would one find them on the google?

          • Enlightened old man

            If you think he's been a bit of a tit calling it 'the NME' instead of just 'NME' then you, sir, are the fool. It's 'the New Musical Express' not just 'New Musical Express' so you would call it 'the NME' not just 'NME'. It's like saying 'I work for the SAS' as opposed to 'I work for SAS'. Although you could probably say either. Google isn't an acronym, so it's a bit different.

            i.e. he was correct.

        • 2012

          Mate, are you living in 2003? If you're going to mock 'pretentious twats', fair enough, but you may as well use relevant insults instead of talking about the 'NME' and 'floppy haircuts and skinny jeans'.

        • Actually

          pretty sure none of the acts chose above even vaguely fit that ridiculous catch-all description

    • I would rather

      watch paint dry than an Oasis tribute band.

  • sam

    girl talk is SUCH A GOOD CALL, he would absolutely kill it at a may ball

  • Juan Sheet

    The Correspondents played at Clare May Ball last year, good fun all round to be honest.

    The biggest problem is that because you're generally releasing names with short notice you've got to have a band that can win you over in five minutes, or else Tobias and Tarquin are heading back to the silent disco. If I were booking again, I'd look at someone like The Cast of Cheers. If you had a bit more cash to splash, maybe Chairlift or Cloud Nothings, and if you wanted to take a bit more of a risk And So I Watch You From Afar would probably blow a few minds.

    • This

      anyone who booked Cloud Nothings would be a hero

  • Maia Fan
  • Robinson

    To be honest we nailed it last year with Gentleman's Dub Club.

    • a fan

      true say….the best thing i saw all week

  • Maybe Odd Future

    could bring some of their homophobia to the May Balls too. I love that song they did about killing faggots.

    • You

      have missed the point.

    • Tyler.

      listen closer to the music before you put it in a box.

  • Rihanna

    Who are these idiots?

  • Chopra

    I don't always go to May Balls but when I do I sack it off three and a half hours before the Survivors' Photo.

  • Parov Stelar

    "Correspondents – kings of the genre" – really?

    • Definitely

      But even with just two albums, I would give the crown to Caravan Palace

  • Tyler.

    Kill people, burn shit, fuck school.

    • Earl

      Flowing like the blood out the competition's slit wrists.

  • Jimbo Moran

    Why are the Footlights not this list?

  • Fucked Up

    are absolutely awful

    • hipster

      greatest rock band of the decade. you're just not man enough to take an obese naked canadian screaming and spitting at you

      • hipster

        on 2nd thoughts maybe not a great may ball band

  • Judge

    aron solomons know about as much on Music as the Queen does about the Van of Life…

  • HudMo

    Is a fucking legend

  • toots

    me and my maytals would be enjoyable at a may ball

  • Mr Shill…

    Mr Margaret Scratcher's AV set was awesome at Boomslang-

    Amazing tunes and funny cat videos…

    And I am most definitely not him. Oh no, not at all…

    Here's my website

    Er, I mean his website, of course…

    • to be fair

      your/his set at boomslang was awesome

Heard something newsworthy?

REVIEW: Ten Plagues

Dani Cugini is confused and mesmerised by one of Cambridge’s most experimental shows to date.

Pro-Palestine Societies boycott Middle East Peace Week

They claim the talks were organised to “direct attention away from the growing success of Israeli Apartheid Week”.

and and

Tab Tries: Cambridge Escape Rooms

We got locked into several locked rooms for an hour and had to solve a series of weirdly difficult challenges to get out.

, Contributing Editor

Getting wasted with Kanye West fans in Notting Hill

To celebrate the release of The Life of Pablo

Liverpool Smithdown house parties are hell on earth

Do you even know the weirdos you’re letting in your house?

, Chief Reporter

Craig David’s Valentine’s playlist is a banger

He picked out his favourite ‘heartbreak’ tunes

Kingsland shopping centre is like a brilliant parallel universe

I can’t even find a recent photograph of it

, Chief Reporter

There’s a new app that works out what kind of dog you are

It uses artificial intelligence