Where to start? I'd been eagerly awaiting this all-too-rare opportunity to see Richie spin in London for weeks - in fact, this was my first real club night since WMC. My clubbing buddy Jamil arrived hot off the train from Cardiff at about sixish, and after a fair bit of swapping new tracks and generally faffing about a bit, we went out at about 8.30pm for a bite to eat with my friend Silvia. After dinner we hurried down to a nearby bar to get the rest of our preparations 'sorted'. Everything went smoothly, we jumped in a cab and dropped Silvia off on our way to Fabric. We got there just before the doors opened at 10pm, and were very pleasantly surprised to find a line of only about 30 or 40 ahead of us - I guess because on a public holiday weekend (we get both Good Friday and Easter Monday off) a lot of people leave London for the weekend, and also because there was some serious competition clubwise - in town the same night there was also Return to New York (Todd Terry, Marshall Jefferson), Laurent Garnier spinning an 8-hour set at The End, and Danny Howells at Turnmills. Ahh, decisions, decisions!
Anyway, we went straight in and after checking our coats had a look at the timetable for the night ahead, which was (more or less) as follows -
Room 1: 10-1 Rob Mello, 1-2 Silver Surfer and Kiki (live performance), 2-4 Ivan Smagghe (from Defected), 4-7, Craig Richards
Room 2 10-1.30 Craig Richards, 1.30-7 Richie Hawtin
Room 3 King Britt and Blacktronica's Charlie Dark.
'Excellent!' we thought - 5.30hr set from Richie. As no details of how long Richie was going to spin for had been posted, I had been prepared for a worst case - maybe only a 3hr set, in which case I had planned to debunk to The End to catch the latter part of Garnier's set. Then as we were chatting to the barman (also a Richie fan) he told us that the club often stayed open till 9.30 or 10am on a holiday weekend ... in which case we might get as much as 7 hours. Red Bulls in hand, we did a bit of a wander round the club, Richards had started off quite slow and dark in Room 1, and there was some kind of reggae crap going on in Room 3, so we settled on a spot right at the front for Rob Mello's set. I hadn't heard Mello before, but he was pretty good, spinning a mixture of breaks and prog, but keeping the prog interesting and varied. We were joined by my friend Oscar at about midnight.Towards the end of his set it became a little more tech-edged, perhaps to set up for Silver Surfer and Kiki. These 2 guys are from Berlin; I'd seen Silver Surfer at The Key back in December of last year, when he'd played a set of really good bouncy electro, so I was well up for his live set. They didn't disappoint - they rocked the room using a mix of keyboards and computers. A particular highlight was they had created some really fat, fat electro bass sounds which pounded out of the speakers. This was also the point at which my earlier preparations stared to pay off for Jamil & I. It was just a shame the performance was only an hour long (or for Oscar & I, ony 1/2 an hour as we decamped at 1.30 prompt to catch the beginning of Richie's set).
Richie didn't waste much time. The first 10 minutes or so was a bit of a slow start, with RIchie just warming the crowd up with (surprisingly) some breaks. I was in the middle of texting this to Andreas when - oof! Richie launched into a signature white noise build-up / bassline bomb sequence. The crowd went crazy We were up on the stage by this time, looking directly into the dj box and dancing our asses off. I kept on texting Jamil to come find us, and even went missioning off to room 1 (en route to drinks refills) a couple of times to try to find him - no luck, as it turned out Jamil was tucked into the far right corner by the dj box, enjoying the set and in a bit of a daze of his own, having decided the crowd was too thick to fight thru to get to the stage. Richie had the room in the palm of his hand now, and proceeded to wave after wave of ever bigger build-ups, each finishing in a devastating, heart-pounding bassline re-entry. At Oscar's suggestion we fought our way down to stand by the DJ box, which is surrounded by a kind of wooden lattice screen. Oscar (studying music production) was glued to the screen trying to see how Richie was inflicting such damage on the room. Meanwhile - I was dancing, oh yes. At some point Jamil showed up and we headed up to the stage again, which is where "lights-on" at 7am found us still. The latter parts of the set were something of a blur (!). To describe the last couple of hours I can do no better than quote teabag's review of tyrant at (surprise, surprise) Fabric - "you look around the room and catch lots of weird glances....and you see people losing it all over the place. It's the part of the night i love most. Fabric is such a great room for all of that...it's a shame it couldn't go on for longer". It was some night.
We headed out the club after the customary half-hour dicking about to get coats, we found that they were handing out fliers at the door for the Fabric afterparty. This was clearly a no-brainer ... so we hopped in a cab and 5 minutes later were deposited outside of an intimidating-looking warehouse building in the industrial wastelands north of Kings Cross. We followed another group of partiers in via a hard-to-locate side entrance and ended up in a blacked-out room that Jamil said strongly resembled DC-10 in Ibiza. Well, to bring the review to a close, the afterparty was pretty good but nothing like the inensity of the preceding night. Richie did not play (big disappointment) although he showed briefly for a drink. I thought better of any dj whauring plans and chilled on a bench listening to Terry Francis mash up a very nasty, signature tech house set, interspersed with, of course, a spot of dancing here and there. I was a bit unnerved by the state of some of the people there ... a bunch of wasted crackheads! Although I'm sure we looked no better by this stage Jamil's afterparty memories are probably a lot better than mine as he pulled a random bird and subsequently spent most of the rest of the afterparty snogging in the corner ...
Fatigue set in, and I was unwilling to rectify matters by fucking myself up any more with even more Red Bull (or anything else, for that matter) so during the last couple of hours I was flaking badly, drifting in and out of consciousness on my comfy bench. Finally at about 12.30pm I'd had enough and summoned the energy to round up Jamil and Oscar, we walked down to the nearest bus stop and made our respective ways home, Jamil and I to my house and Oscar to the wilds of Fulham Broadway on the other side of town - poor guy, that must have been a crappy trip home, as he was completely sober the whole night/afterparty. At home, we crashed till evening time, woke up, mixed up a couple of tracks on Traktor that we had been talking about doing during the night (results are here). Then Jamil announced he was going to head out to Turnmills for an old skool revival. Too hardcore for me - discretion certainly felt like the better part of valour to me at that point, and i crashed again on the sofa, before waking up in the small hours to ... write this review.
Over and out!
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