Say what you will about Spirit, but it still has that magic about the place that brings the best out of DJs (well, at least when I am there). I knew right away that this is going to be the night of smiles, fists pumping in the air and people dancing everywhere by the crowd at the entrance. It was 11.30 when I walked into the place and found it empty. The upstairs 'vip' area was open just like it was for Howells and free for everyone to move around in. James started the night with about 1 - 1 1/2 hours of 'warming' which included the classics and familiar tracks that everyone heard before, but then he got serious.
By about 1.30 he started to get serious. Let me give you a background about James's music. He is a Jekyll and Hyde of tech. He is fluffy and sweet and at the same time aggressive and passionate. After 2 am it was the latter. One word described his set from 2am on - RELENTLESS. No smiles, no laughing, just focused, zoned, serious driven beats from outer space. He played dark, body rocking, head shaking, making your skin crawl sounds. I would not hold him to a specific category of a DJ like trance, or progressive or Tech - he is simply too good to be either one. He is James Holden. At several point of the night I had to stop and realize just how good this guy is. I really thought he was playing to me. He played a couple from Balance 5, the other tracks included:
- 'A break in the clouds',
- System7 - planet 7,
- Jakatta - one fine day,
- Opus III - It's a Fine Day,
- Extrawelt - Soopatrack (new stuff from border community coming late may),
- Nathan Fake - Adamedge,
- And he finished the regular set with Nathan Fake - The sky was pink.
- Then he played 2 encores.
There was never a dull moment during his set and that is what makes a set spectacular, and you knew that the music was spot on just by watching Holden’s body language during the set. Interesting note - the whole set was done with help of CDS. I did not see any vinyl. After the set I had a chance to meet him. He seemed either very tired or very shy. A nice guy with a passion. A tremendous night form one of the best DJs out there. The question should be asked - how can he top himself on his next appearance? The answer - I am pretty sure he will find a way!
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