Sasha & Digweed at Bedrock on the Thursday (6 Nov), Weatherall and Fearless at Haywire on the Friday? Maybe throw in Fabric on the Saturday? Sure, what the hell, I thought - why not? Just another long weekend in London's clubland.
Myself and my clubbing buddy Jamil met up with Mike (teamJ5) + his friends Nick and Trent at their hotel about 7ish and we strolled down to the Griffin, a pub located only 30 yards away from the entrance to Heaven, the venue for Thursday's Bedrock 'extravaganza'. Handily, we bumped into our friends Helen & Piffa in the Griffin, and Nick met up with some of his messageboard buddies there too.
The doors opened promptly at 8.30, Helen's friends from Norwich showed up in the nick of time, and we joined the eager clubbers starting to flood into the club.
Phil Thompson was spinning some pretty nice progressive tunes, a little dark but definitely bouncy enough to get the ol' toes tapping as we hung out in the bar at the back of the main room. Well, to cut a long story short, the main room was pretty much a disappointment, at least compared to what we had been hoping/expecting. The promoters clearly had no regard for what a comfortable number of people was for that venue - Heaven is just not that big a main room. I think we were on the main dance floor for maybe 15 minutes once Digweed + Sasha started playing. We were almost literally pushed off it by the sheer numbers of people pushing their way onto the dance floor. I guess it probably also didn't help my mood any that I spent much of the first half of the night running round looking for various people that got split up from from the group.
After about midnight I gave up on the idea of retrieving anybody, and settled down to try to rescue something of the evening. Room 2 was Fabio and Grooverider - not sure which was playing when I poked my head in as neither is really my cup of tea. Nor apparently was it anyone else's as the room was basically deserted. I caught up with Mike, Nick and Trent in room 3 (the Dakota Bar) where Steve Gerrard had started to spin, and that was a much nicer time. Steve was playing some nice prog + breaks mixed in, in a way that kept the smallish room 3 crowd bouncing away till the end of the night at 4am
We also took a little stroll out to a bar out the back of where Steve was spinning, more or less a chill-out area, where it sounded like the music was being piped in from the main room. If it was, and also from what I heard when we were down in the main room, it was pretty uninspiring, over-focused on the "darker tones" of prog without really enough in the way of hooks or breaks to lift the sound. (although that may be massively unfair, based on a very small sample of what Sasha and Digweed were spinning that night). But really, for me what had the potential to be a huge night was spoiled because the promoters over-packed the house so much. I can only say, props to Steve for rescuing it from being a total write-off.
Soores on the doors - 7/10
Whereas Fabric 2 nights later could not have gone more smoothly. The midnight meet-up with Mike, Nick and Trent happened more or less on time, their friends showed up pretty much straight after, a quick word by one of them (Rob?) to the lady handling the VIP list and we were in!
Sieg Uber die Sonne, who I hadn't heard of but who Mike was keen to see, were playing in room 1. Happily, this was nicely overlooked by the VIP area balcony bar, so we had a great view. But first of all Mike & I kicked off with half an hour in Room 2 with Terry Francis on the wheels of steel. He was banging it out fairly straight and hard and the crowd were evidently enjoying as some of them were going pretty nuts right in front of the DJ box. To be honest I felt like I 'd missed the build-up in Terry's set, and consequently wasn't getting quite as much out of it as the rest of the crowd seemed to be. Or maybe we just weren't wasted enough yet!
Anyway, back in Room 1 Sieg Uber die Sonne had really hit their stride, and boy, it was *good*. They were laying down incredibly hard 4-4 bass sounds which boomed out with almost military precision but somehow without the sound ever straying towards being oppressive. Somehow they also floating in what at times felt like almost pop-type synth sounds as the top line. Sick, sick beats - a real sonic treat.
After this a spell dancing to Infusion (live act with dancer + light show) in Room 2, interspersed with a bit of milling around again in the (unisex) VIP toilet, which a bunch of people seemed to have settled on as the coolest place in the club to chill out. ?? I mean they were nice and all, but I couldn't see the point of not dancing when there was so much excellent music on offer ... Infusion was a bit crowded, and all through the first half of the night there was definitely more crowd pushiness than was desirable ... and so we made a collective break for Room 3 where Mike had discovered the magical combination of plenty of space to dance, free sofas, and excellent music - nice one. I think the DJ was Will Saul of Simple Records (a name I haven't come across before but will now be looking out for); and he was laying down some very danceable electro style tunes, very bouncy and quite, quite addictive.
Finally we headed down to the main event - Tyrant (Lee and Craig back-to-back) in Room 2, and the rest of the night turned into one major session of having our asses kicked by track after track of relentless, pounding, driving tech house beats, mixed together masterfully by Lee and Craig. Woot! In any other club I would have been reduced to a sweaty mess by the end, but the air-con in Fabric is sooo good - the best of any club I 've been to, in fact - that it wasn't a problem at all. Lee and Craig really seemed to be loving it too, as they played on for a full hour more than normal (8am rather than 7am). The lights came on, everyone else apart from us jumped down from the stage facing the dj box which we were on to head for coats - and then Craig and Lee lit up with a 15 minute encore. We were the only ones on stage - magic!
It was great to meet teamJ5 (+ his 2 partners in crime, Nick and Trent), because it wasn't just the superb music that made the night - the group was really nice, as Mike & co had assembled a motley assortment of touring Americans for the night - who were really *nice* people and *great* fun to hang out with. A big "hi!" to Caitlyn & Caleb, Nicole & Hilary, and Deniz, if any of you are reading.
Unfortunately I 'm not much of a trainspotter when it comes to individual tracks when I 'm flying the way I was that night. If I do spot 'em, I forget 'em 2 minutes later, and I can never be bothered to make a note of them in my cell phone, I usually got better things to do, like DANCE! Maybe Mike can remember some of them? I will be looking at making Tyrant @ Fabric a regular spot on my schedule - and you can't say better than that. Thank you, Fabric! Bedrock? I 'll really have to think twice if it's worth the effort. Fabric 1 - Bedrock nil.
Soores on the doors - 8.5/10
Pix from both Bedrock and Fabric to follow shortly in the Pix section.
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