I like this idea. Reading certain posts on here, I do wonder exactly what music some people are actually going out and hearing.
I went out last weekend to Back To Basics. Non-British readers will probably be only vaguely familiar with the name, but Basics actually holds the world record for the longest continually running club night, a record it would probably be merrily extending if its last home (The Garage, an excellently grimy little club) hadn't unexpectedly lost its license last year. Dave Beer, the infamously debauched promoter, is busy buying and trying to open his own club in Leeds to give Basics a permanent home again, but for now the night is somewhat nomadic and irregular.
In the last month they've thrown two parties at The Wire club in Leeds with just the resident DJs playing, a kind of love-in for the Basics faithful who will turn up without a glitzy headliner. And last weekend's event showed exactly why Back To Basics have managed to put on parties every week since 1991 when every other promoter has jacked it in or gone bust. There is quite frankly no other party I've ever been to that gets it right on every single level as consistently. The crowd are always unpretentious, friendly and completely into the music, with a mixture of old heads, 18 year old students and everyone in between. The resident DJs are all extremely good and often get bigger and better responses from the crowd than the guests. They've even got the friendliest and most efficient in-house dealer you'll ever score from.
The line-up was (from midnight, when we arrived), James Holroyd 12-2, Ralph Lawson 2-4 and James Barnsley until the close. Holroyd was playing feel-good house music from the moment we got there, kicking off peak time with anthemic fare like Kolsch - Der Alte. Nothing too fancy about his set but good energy levels and vibe for that time of night.
Ralph Lawson is probably the only name on the line-up I imagine anyone outside the North of England will have heard of, one of those vaguely-familiar names you might know as the owner of 20:20 Vision and for his Fabric association, which includes an entry into mix series. In Leeds, however, he is an absolute legend, having played the very first record at Basics back in '91 and been a resident ever since, and he brings the same response from the crowd as any headliner DJ. And this is something I've increasingly noticed with clubbing - that often the "big name" DJs don't mix any better or even have better records than the local DJs. What sets them apart is the excitement they generate in a crowd. An international DJ could play the same sequence of records as the resident and the crowd will go three times as nuts for those same records. And this is one of the keys to Basics, why you can turn up at random and it doesn't really matter who the guest is (or why they don't even need a guest), because the crowd often go more nuts for the residents.
It helps, of course, that Lawson is a fucking brilliant DJ who has 20+ years experience playing to this crowd, and he absolutely smashed it to pieces. Some really chunky, driving basslines, some feel-good moments when you wanted them and just a couple of well-placed vocals. There was one track in particular with a huge bassline and just a flutter of multi-tapped vocal pads that had exactly the kind of mid-90s epic house tinge to it to make me go weak at the knees. He also played the Andre Hommen remix of Ane Brun - Let Myself Go, one of only two tunes I could ID all night.
At about 4am James Barnsley came on, and as is expected for the closing stretch of the night, proceeded to bang out some armour-plated tough techy stuff for those with the stamina to stick it out. The night was billed as finishing at 6am but by 6 the club, which had been rammed all night, was still 1/3rd full, so things went on. Just after 6 he played a couple of really lush Detroit tracks which I thought was going to be a perfect way to mellow out a hard set and close the night, but then he went back into the thumping tech. Apparently it went on for another hour but we went home at about 6.15am.
Altogether though, it was a solid 6 hours of top quality house music. Dave Beer was constantly on the mic slurring about how he had the best crowd in the country in front of him, the crowd had grins plastered across their faces through-out; it was all one glorious homage to one of house music's great institutions. My only complaint is with the soundsystem at The Wire. It's an otherwise great club - about 500 capacity with a low ceiling and bare brick arches and a nice underground feel, but the soundsystem is utter gash. It's prominently billed on every Wire flyer as being a Funktion 1 but the higher end is just really noisy and muddy and the whole system seems underpowered, so they inevitably crank it up really fucking loud and the high-end just deafens you. The next day my ears were still ringing when I woke up, which I really hate. That is the kind of soundsystem that ends up giving you permanent hearing damage.
Anyway I'll be out at Basics again this weekend (thankfully at a different venue), as they have Andrew Weatherall booked for a six hour set. I'll report back here afterwards.
> Skipton's Only Prog Night [Warm Up Grooves]
> Welcome To the Future [Driving Progressive]
> Autumn Drive [Progressive]
> The Rebel Alliance [Tech/Progressive]
> The Sunset Session [Everything]
Last edited by SYSTEM-J on Oct-28-2014 at 13:47