Actually I'm gonna make this a a quick review of the whole weekend for the benefit of anyone that finds themselves looking for EDM in Paris. I've been so lazy about writing reviews for some of the excellent parties i've been to recently that i thought i'd better force myself to write this one.
So the weekend began Friday 5.45pm sharp. I grabbed my weekend bag and headed for the Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station. (For anyone unfamiliar with anglo-franco transport arrangements, the Eurostar is a train that runs in a tunnel under the sea from England to France ... A bit like the Jersey Tunnel, only bigger...). Although it's not especially cheap (the trip cost about 120 pounds) it's much more relaxed to get on the train in central London rather than trekking to the airport - definitely the best option. Anyway, after a little bit of stressful running around the eurostar terminal collecting tickets etc, i was on board and on my way to meet my friend Deniz and her friend Jonathan - for our Paris adventure.
Once I arrived at Gare du Nord it was only a short cab ride to Jon's apartment in the Troisieme Arrondissement (one of the central Paris districts). Half an hour of (very welcome) and a quick shower later and we were on our way to Le Batafors, a very funky little club in a boat moored on the river Seine. We chilled out with drinks on the deck, then guest-listed our way inside thanks to Tom Parrish, an english dj living in paris that Deniz knew. The music was good chunky house music, the little boat's dance floor was full, and everyone was having a good time. After maybe an hour or an hour and a half we upped sticks and headed for a club called Queen. This had been recommended to me by a couple of French co-workers, although they had been at pains to warn me it was a mixed gay/straight night. But since Jon was also recommending it, it seemed like a pretty good bet...and the music was indeed decent techno. The club itself was pretty nice, with a bar at the back of a rectangular room, then a large vip area (or it may just have been a bottle service area, hard to tell) and then one reasonable size dance floor. From the entrance, stairs lead down into this room, and there's a large landing where you can chill with a drink and observe the action below. Unfortunately it was the crowd that was a bit of a let-down. Basically, july in paris is pretty dead, as all those that can head south to the beaches of the french riviera. And in fact you wouldn't have guessed it was supposed to be a mixed gay/straight night at all.
So we danced it up for a couple of hours making the most of the music (which deserved a better crowd, as i observed to Deniz at one point), but then mindful of the big night ahead the next evening, we headed home sometime after 5.
Saturday's pre-gaming went perfectly ... After waking late and a fair amount of we cruised down for a late breakfast (actually, it was late even for lunch, but whatever) at a cute little cafe in the picturesque old town Marais district where we had light-ish lunches washed down with a couple of nice bottles of red wine, then strolled down to the lovely Place des Vosges where we stretched out on the lawns in the middle of the square, drank some more wine and a lot more ... talking bollocks and generally laughing our asses off at the silliest things. Sweet.
Eventually we get our act together, head home, get ready and then head out to Rex, getting there just after midnight. This seems to be perfect timing as the line rapidly grows behind us, but we only have to wait 20 minutes or so before we get in.
By the entrance to the main room downstairs are the cloakrooms and the toilets - later in the night it felt like it was about 100 degrees down there. The main room follows the usual format - rectangular room, bar at the back where you come in, then tables down the sides with a dancing area between them, leading down to the main floor.
Monsieur Garnier was on the decks and we hit the floor straight away. Jon is a Rex veteran and lead us immediately to the best spot on the dance floor - right hand side middle, on the edge, which was directly under the air conditioning vents - just as well, since everywhere elsewhere in the room was nearly unbearably hot.
So what about the music? Garnier was spinning house when we first took to the dance floor, and he carried this on for maybe an hour and a half, good pumping bass lines but still quite a lot of vocals in the tracks - monsieur was certainly getting his groove awn. Then Laurent took the tempo right down and, before I'd even really noticed the switch(always the sign of a decks artiste) he had moved the set firmly into minimal techno territory. From here he proceeded to build for the next couple of hours, working up the tempo to something of climax - and then surprised the fuck out of us by mixing straight out of a drop into a breaks section.
Perhaps sensing this wasn't working, Laurent pulled out of breaks and began an old skool hip- hop section with (first big choon of the night - that i remember!) House of Pain - Jump Around, woot! Caught us all by surprise, that one. Somehow though, the flow started to falter again, and we headed for the side tables to rest our weary feet a little while.
This was the point that Garnier decided to throw the book away and start really mixing it up - into the home stretch, throwing down guitar rock, techno, whatever, with impunity - and damn, it was really working - the crowd energy started to pick up again quickly. We had been chilling for about 20 or 30 minutes enjoying this, starting to bounce a little and tap our feet again when - boom! He goes and fucking kills us with The Velvet Underground - Waiting For the Man.
I was a serious Velvets freak when I was in my late teens, so I know the songs really well - it sounded like the original mix to me. How many fuckin' DJ's pack a Velvet Underground record in their record box? Not many!
Well that was it - that driving, relentless beat was irresistible, Deniz and I leapt out of our seats and plunged onto the dance floor again dragging a slightly protesting Jon with us. And there we stayed, till Deniz and Jon started to flake at about 7am. Shame we didn't close out, I think, but apparently not everyone else shares my obsession with staying to close out parties ...
So there we go - Laurent Garnier, techno legend, on his home turf. What we found out (which i guess i knew already) is Garnier is not a monostyle purist. He has a broad enough range that he can spin across the whole spectrum, and when he had the luxury of a long set and his home crowd, he was not afraid to try all sorts of things - once he'd laid down a core of solid house and techno to bring the crowd up. And the last part was - wow, unexpected but great to hear all kinds of records in the mix!
Outing score: 7.5/8 - only because the breaks / hip hop hour didn't really do it for me, with a couple of honourable (can you say "jump up jump up and get down! Jump around!") exceptions. " />
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