Category Archives: Clubs/Parties

Best of 2008

Gigs (don’t get out much anymore, but this stuff was good)
Autechre @ the Hearn Street Car Park in London (easily one of the best gigs ever)
The Pole and then the Surgeon/DJ Pete Bleep 43 parties
Each of the Süd parties, which got better and better as the year went on


New artists

Old artists
Reggie Dokes
Jacek Sienkiewicz
Wayne Gardiner
Deep Chord/Echospace
Terrence Dixon
Move D
Flying Lotus
Juju & Jordash

Third Ear


So… it’s been a while since I’ve given a local update. Saw Sendex on Saturday at To the Bone. Seeing as most of y’all reading this will have seen my reports elsewhere by now, I’ll just say that he was phenomenal. He played live for 3 hours. Run, don’t walk if he’s ever near you.

From last Saturday through six weeks from then we will have had Kenny Larkin, ACGC, Britich Murder Boys, Domu, Larry Heard, Kirk Detroitio, Theo Parrish, Colin Dale, Aux 88, Fabrice Lig, DJ Bone, Akufen, most of Minus, Darshan Jesrani, Convextion, Hieroglyphic Being, Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon, Stewart Walker, DJ Pete and Dynarec, not to mention the as-yet unannounced guests at Spacebass. I’ve got a real indication of a hangover coming on. London crews are really pushing things forward so far this year. Looks very promising.

Oh forgot about some gigs too

Quick prelude: if you missed my post from a few minutes ago through syndication, I started it as a draft on Monday, and just published it, but it still has the Monday date, so scroll down (or up ast the case may be).

In the last couple of months (other than the Berlin trip) I also saw:

  • Jamie Lidell, who absolutely killed it. Half on his own, half with a band. Good to see both sides of his performance styles as a perfect intro on my Lidell cherry-pop day, but I’d love to see him do the mic+sampler thing solo for a few hours. Unbelievable stuf, that is.
  • Dwele, who I could barely hear over his band. May have been a factor of where we were seated.
  • Aroy Dee, Peel Seamus and Terry Brookes at the Planet Delsin launch party. Good fun. Even got one of the robots on the sleeve names after me.
  • Serge from Clone, last weekend. The Italo stuff was good but nothing special. the Chicago bits were nice, but nothing I haven’t heard before. In short, he’s doing good stuff, but I don’t quite see what all the hubub’s about.

On a totally unrelated note, The Shining Redux is hillarious. Hope I’m not late.

Ongaku Kanaderu

It’s hilarious that when you translate the beginning of Dentaku into English you get:

Boku wa ongaku ka = I’m a musician

Dentaku katate ni = With pocket calculator in my hand

Doesn’t have quite the same ring as “I’m the operator of my pocket calculator”, does it?

Where the hell do you start when discussing a Kraftwerk show? Perhaps it’s best to have the visual reference first. These pics of the Kraftwerk show in Dublin seem to be about the best synopsis I’ve seen so far. I didn’t bring my camera for fear that they wouldn’t let me in with it.

After checking those out, you should definitely read my mate Toby’s excellent, 2000+ word reaction to it. I know that’s very long, but I bet you’ll find it illuminating. He is easilly the biggest Kraftwerk fan I know. He saw them at all three London shows last week, twice on Saturday night.

I’ll take up where I left off. There was a huge posse of us down the pub, and we made our way over in shifts. The queue was fairly enormous when we got there, but it was moving faster than any queue like that I’ve seen. I had never been in the Brixton Academy before. It is pretty damn big – holds about 4000. When we got in we headed for the bar and chatted with some of the die-hards that arrived early.

When we heard the music kicking off we headed front-right, as it seemed the easiest place to reach with a good view. It turned out to be kind of lame there though, so we wandered all the way over to the front left, where we assumed everyone would be (front and center seemed impossible). During this time they played a few songs from the new album. I’ve heard most of them before, but while I think they’re alright, the whole thing left me feeling a bit nonplused. It just wasn’t anything special, yet…

When they played ‘The Model’ things kicked off. There were these amazing videos of gorgeous 60s models playing in the background, and the familiarity of it triggered some excitement. Unfortunately, at this point we were stood in front of a guy who sung along to all the songs, knew only half the words, and whistled the bits he didn’t know the words to. Supremely annoying…

Just when I was about ready to kick him in the nuts we ran out of beer, so we hit the bar. Just then ‘Radioactivity’ kicked in, which was a completely sup’d up version. The sound in the bar was actually pretty good too, so I was really excited to head back in with full beverages on the strength of a few great songs in a row. We wandered to the middle of the floor this time, and miraculously everyone seemed to appear around us. It was just about this time that they started to play loads of my favorite songs, and the visuals were awesome for all of them. Some of my favorite moments included ‘Tour de France’, ‘TransEurope Express’, ‘Computer Love’, ‘Numbers’, ‘Pocket Calculator/Dentaku’ (awesome and hilarious culculator input visuals/sounds to go with them) and the ‘Music Non Stop’ finale. But far and away the coolest part was THE ROBOTS, which were sooooo f*cking cool.

Kraftwerk left the stage for a bit, and the curtains closed, although it was quite clear they were not done yet. After a bit, these strobes on the ground in front of the robots at 45° left and 45° right would flash in alternation, lighting up the robots behind the curtain. When the curtain was opened, you got to see them moving, which was so damn cool. My friend Matt took this (rather shaky) video. They were almost as cool as these dancing robots, but cooler since they were synchronized to Kraftwerk playing live. The afterparty coordination was rather a mess, and not worth going into, but suffice it to say that everyone had a good time, even if the party didn’t run all night long.

Dexter of the Avalanches last night

The place was really full – especially for a Tuesday (who the hell goes out on a Tuesday???), and almost entirely Antipodean from what I could tell. Not a bad thing, but you could tell a lot of people there were not your typical patrons of the underground, if you catch my drift. The music was so all over the map at the beginning that it was hard to feel comfortable, but around midnight Dexter settled into some proper DMC style business, then hit a great groove and took off from there. Never has pop music sounded so strange!

On this night, we heard Public Enemy, Pharcyde, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix twice, tons of Neptunes-y stuff, Beyonce, theme from Flash Gordon (mutated into somethignn devastating), lots of Avalanches (including some stuff that must be forthcoming, and seriously mind-blowing at that) and some of the tracks they sampled in making the last album, Underworld, loads of Dr. Dre-produced stuff, some P-Funk, The Cure, something vaguely metal-ish and one of the weirdest segments I’ve ever heard, which twisted something I’m not remembering into The Outkast into Fischerspooner into Cyndi Lauper into Tim Mass into The Clash. Steve – fill in the blanks! Seriously strange vibe in there, and by no means the tightest feeling of community I’ve ever felt @ PP, but a really interesting and rewarding night regardless. Very glad I went.

Fabric rant, Fabric Birthday and other online shenanigans

Posted a huge rant to [313] about big club deaths the other night, then followed it up by going to a big club last night. Here’s the story:

Speaking as an outsider, I think the bigger clubs are suffering from their own weight these days, which in my mind is a good thing since most underground DJs will never step up in a big space. With the wealth of tunes and DJs around now, it’s no wonder larger clubs book who they do, and who can really blame them? They are there to support a larger audience, give people what they want, etc. Unfortunately, very few of those larger clubs have found a way (or maybe just the balls + insight) to sustain themselves while appeasing an audience that come for what they know, and are sick of it at once (as illustrated by The Orbit).

To this end, I think it is amazing the kind of lineups Fabric pulls in while constantly filling to way beyond capacity. They push boundaries much further than The End (which also fills regularly) on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, the place has a somewhat deserved reputation for pulling in a load of wankers, and even more unfortunately, the DJs who spin there rarely extend themselves in that venue. Rob Hood played a great set on my birthday, but it wasn’t his most adventurous outing. Francois K and Jeff Mills each played good sets late last year but nowhere near their best. Very few performers really have enough faith in that audience to say ‘f*ck it’. I can think of three nights in the last year when I got that treat, and on each occasion the crowd responded more than usual. One was Fabrice Lig opening up (for nearly four hours I think), earlier this year. Another was Octave One live (Stacey Pullen followed with wank) while the Jedi Knights held it down all night in the 3rd room for six hours. The third was Technasia live (following Dave Angel, who sucked).

Basically, as much as I would like to place the blame on hugeness, I think most of them have dug their own graves through complacent bookings rather than some inherent flaw in being large (as Fabric illustrates), and what dissapoints me most is that when artists who play both medium and large venues get a chance at bigger spaces with a good agenda, they rarely capitalize on the opportunity. Fabric could be such an amazing nexus, but most DJs aren’t willing to take a chance there. I think with few exceptions the performers are equally to blame. Just look at Fabric’s lineup for the next month and tell me it shouldn’t kill: I’d be surprised if most of those DJs live up to their potential though.

Francois K may be the prime example of this. He’s deveoping quite a reputation for playing brilliant eclectic sets where he has faith in the crowd, and really flacid effects-laden techno when he doesn’t. As a result, it further separates the small and large audiences. This ‘knowing your audience’ thing has gone way too far… When a DJ who has 25 years under his belt can stun his crowd one weekend and deaden them the next, the formula has failed. This is why I’m seeing him on a boat tomorrow, and couldn’t care less about his performance at Fabric next weekend, even though for once, Fabric is cheaper and it has the added bonus of Aukufen.

So I was saying I thought this was a good thing. Maybe I don’t really, but given that I don’t believe things will change, I’d rather just get to see who I want where I know they will actually play good music. And while I really hope Fabric’s amazing lineups continue, I think the DJs need to do a lot to bring the heads back into those spaces.


That was the rant. Here’s last night’s bit:

Further to my rant, I attended Fabric’s birthday party tonight after another wicked Bleep (Emile/Plant 43 played a very nice set). Got there around 12:30 – line around the block. I wouldn’t have gone unless I was lucky enough to get guestlist via a friend, but that is what typically makes it enjoyable. I usually hate that crap – but @ Fabric you normally have a bit of a reprieve up there, with a great view of the dancefloor and no hassle.

However, it was so unbelievably rammed (I’d estimate nearly 200 people over capacity) that there was a 15-20 minute wait for drinks up there and you could hardly even move in that ‘exclusive’ space. There must’ve been *at least* 250 ‘VIPs’. To state the obvious, it was even more packed downstairs. At 3:15 LFO live came on, and it was a perpetual fight just to stay put, about 10 deep from
the stage. At one point, some f*cker barged up behind me and said ‘come on – give us some space’, so I turned around and screamed ‘THERE IS NO F*CKING SPACE’! It was rather annoying. Nothing new for Fabric but amplified beyond the usual levels of chaos.

Anyway… LFO live was not so much ‘live’, as it was a bizarre hybrid of DJing and live performance. It was fantastic though. He started out with some proper, reminiscent-of-mid-’90s-Mark-Bell-minimalism, which switched back and forth between that and his newer brand of noise-coated electro, mixed with a healthy dose of jack. His 2nd or 3rd track (if you could call it that – the whole thing was seamless and integrated over long periods) was a really varied minimal techno track that very well could have been his, but on the 7th and 8th beat of every few bars the whole track would drop out and that LFO sub bass sound from ‘LFO’ kicked in. Seriously mind-bending. A few minutes later he was well into some other song and the primary synth line from ‘LFO’ kicked in. This kept up for a while, with special emphasis on the Chicago jack, then about 30 minutes in he got really into noisey IDMish electro territory, then came back out into a switch back and forth between that and electro stage, and then suddenly it was over after 45 minutes. Very sudden. He played a couple tracks off the new album along the way as well.

So… we ran over to the other room to catch the last 1/2-hour of Villalobos (through some feat of unbelievably crappy scheduling, LFO was 3:15-4:15 and Villalobos was 3:30-4:30 in the other room). WTF??? Anyway, when we got in he was playing this really crappy electro song, but after that he settled into a very Chicago-sounding Perlon style for most of his last 1/2-hour, which really hit home. Very nice conclusion! I will make a point of finding him again. Then I left well before the 10am finish.

In the end, I came out feeling like it was a great night, despite the even fuller and wankier crowd than normal. I guess if you’re seeing something once in a lifetime like LFO live, you make do with an annoying surrounding. I think that explains a lot of why a club like Fabric can maintain.


I’ve had a couple of hours to digest what happened. First and foremost, amazing fucking boat, and amazing fucking crowd! Seriously up for it throughout!

2nd, FK did not quite live up to my expectations, which were quite high. There was nothing wrong with his set per se, but somehow it lacked a cohesive direction and that really substantial momentum that he can generate. This is not to say there weren’t unbelieveably energetic parts, but he never sustained it. In this instance, his impulse to switch things up may have hindered him, because eventually I just wanted him to hit a house groove and run with it (which he did at the end). Maybe I’m just a pussy though…

3rd, after discussing it a bit, and thinking back on my activities throughout the night, I realized that I danced nearly the entire fucking time once I got on the dancefloor, that it was one of the best dancefloors I’ve ever been on in terms of communal feeling, and the whole damn party was just so much fun! Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen him, because it was a really fantastic voyage in every respect.

He played a load of house of all sorts (the aptly selected Whistle Song sounded great early), the DK edit of Strings of Life nearly sunk the fucker, followed by Tres Demented which kept it up. Beyond that the general theme was a la Body & Soul – east coast garage anthems and disco/funk/rarity smatterings in between. The selections really were impressive – nothing canned about this, just not quite what I’d built it up to be, and not quite on a par with his Deep Space performance in May. Still worth every penny and then some. The assembled cast and crew made it a night to remember.

Surgeon @ Plastic People

Surgeon played a fantastic set tonight at Plastic People. Absurdly loud, but all over the electronic music spectrum, including some weird Surgeonized P-Funk track (I think), The Stone Roses ‘Fools Gold’, two Nitzer Ebb tracks, one of which was ‘Join in the Chant’, the Carl Craig’s Drums Suck remix of Dave Angel’s ‘Take Off’ (or is it ‘Airborne’???), some crazy nearly-gabber Aphex Twin, D.H.S.’s ‘The House of God’, New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ (the first time I’ve actually enjoyed this out in a club in years), Tres Demented, Kraftwerk’s ‘Home Computer’ (never getting to the vocal), teased us with bits of At Les flute that never culminated in the song itself, loads of electro and IDMish electro, some acidic techno, a lot of Surgeonized edits of tracks that I can’t remember, culminating in some weird gabber/noisecore thing leading into something I can’t remember and then a UR track that has huge strings that reminds me of the beginning of Laurent Garnier’s ‘Dance to the Music’. There were even a couple of housey moments in there. He mixed fast and long throughout, was as tight as you’d expect from Surgeon, with a few tempo changes, sacrificing none of his precision or coherence to the breadth of this set. Surprisingly he played very few of his own tracks that I could spot, which is a complete turn-around from when I saw him in New York in 2001. Somehow he fit all of this into two hours.

A couple of times in the set Regis would get on the microphone and scream like a profane madman. One bit ended with ‘learn your lesson’. Although I didn’t catch it, I’m told he was also whispering things about ‘your daughter’ softly in the background. Also, the Werk guys who threw the party (and the Ghostly party last month) all had nice PA’s to warm things up. The only downside is that there were times (particularly during the gabber and noise bed bit at the end) when the (easily abusable) sound was utterly damaging, and throughout most of the night it was a bit too loud, even if it was still clear. If you haven’t seen him in the last year, run don’t walk because he has absolutely taken his sets to a whole new level, as evidenced by this set and his possibly even better set at ATP this Spring. The man is really pushing boundaries. He, not Hawtin, is the poster boy for Final Scratch, and what it can empower you to do.

Brett Dancer and Larry Heard at Barrumba

Brett Dancer and Larry Heard played at Barrumba tonight, and their sets were every bit as good as their sets at the Trackmode/Sound Signature party @ DEMF 2001. I hardly recognized any of Brett Dancer’s set, but maybe 30 minutes in he dropped Attend 1, which instantaneously catapulted me into dancefloor readyness. How f*ckin’ good is that song loud??? Must’ve heard it out at least 10 times this Summer and played it countless times at home. It just doesn’t get old or lose anything. Anyway, his whole 2-hour set was tight as hell, some Theo-style EQing throughout, and really got the dancefloor moving.

Then Larry Heard dropped the tempo down to about 110bpm, played some really nice slow stuff for about 20-30 minutes, then it got a bit noodly and ploddish for my taste for the next 20-30 minutes, but then he kicked it back in and all the stops were pulled. Within the next half-hour he played Energy Flash into that crazy wobbly acid song that has something to do with Whiskey. He played this insane track that I’ve heard a couple of times with this nearly Fix Flash style synth line that jocks back and forth between that and deeper pads with a drum ‘n bass style wobbly sine wave sub bass sound that devastates. After that he played a version of John Redman’s ‘People Everyday’ that sounded completely reworked from the original Cajual tune. Throughout all of this Brett Dancer would occasionally grab the EQs and jack away for a bit. 🙂 He also threw in ‘Change For Me’, Cajmere’s ‘Lookin’ For a Man’ and concluded his two-hour set with Plastic Dreams, at which point the mic dude came on.

He made us give it up for Brett Dancer and Larry Heard, which all were very happy to do, then he mentioned the special guest. Had I realized there was one, it may have occured to me that seeing Robert Owens in the DJ booth earlier meant something, or that he was working up to something when he was tearing up the dancefloor, but then they announced that he was the special guest, and it clicked. This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. They started with ‘Can you Feel It’, with both Larry Heard and Robert Owens singing in parts, and Robert Owens freestyle singing over the remainder. The second song had a chorus that had something to do with life. I recognized it but I don’t know the name. The third song (I think) was Mysteries of Love, which was a vocal version that he sang on top of, and in response to the existing vocals on the record. Wicked! The conclusion was Distant Planet, and frankly, it was f*cking stunning. Jamie and I were completely gobsmacked throughout.