Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cooking up a brain wrong

After weeks of watching the nippers headbang against the playpen, it was finally my turn to jerk about in a controlled environment – ie, a club. Wifely permission had been secured – on Friday night I was going to have it like it's 1995.

We had toyed with Antiworld 777 at Creams and I’s old manor Aldershot, where all the generic hard dance repetitions were repping in huge tents all night, but in the end the allure of Braindrop under the London Bridge arches won out.

Terrible error. Braindrop was bad meaning fucking awful not bad meaning good. Walking in and noticing the dank aroma of the club (it was only when I mistakenly smoked a cig that I realized this was the smell of a smoke-free club), the initial bad signs came via the Breakbeat Orchestra – screechy female vox and crappy drums failing to augment some promising low-end brass elements.

Following that were more generic chunky loops: breakbeat-breakbeat (the Prodigy were played – surely this is not allowed?) to hardcore style breakbeat to Pendulum-style (death of) d&b to '4x4' d&b. Not a single tune had any top-end riff I could recall, no siren left repeating itself in my head. Nothing. Indeed, it was almost as if the mix was adjusted to accentuate just the rhythms. And the promised grime and dubstep of the second room was nowhere to be heard while I was there. Similarly, Shitmat may have shaked up the main room if he played, as the flyer suggested he would.

This was what the kids want – or is it? The reaction among the tops-off huddles of lads and gaggles of girls (a bunch of whom scrapped near the stage) was perfunctorily hedonic, but hardly next-level, hardly DC 10 on closing night. Lads splashed water over the toilet door to urge me to hurry up, so desperate were they to administer their latest rush.

So one could easily read into this that if this club is any guide, then rave is dead, there is no future in clubbing, the kids have taken over the asylum, choose your cliché here. Yet this place will probably thrive because it has that sought-after element for promoters - a community niche.

In the end it was our own requirements that did for us – ie, the need to be vaguely local, the cheaper the better – and it was proof if proof be need be that sometimes a bit more research and/or a bit more of a cavalier approach pays off. I may be still ‘into’ dance music, but I ain’t connected now.

By 2ish, bodily sensations were beginning to overrule reason but I still had to admit that I felt too old for this type of rave-off and that my musical preferences had moved on. As Czuk bravely raved on with the youngstas, by this time the no-smoking ban had been comprehensively flouted, I left, drifting down Bermondsey Street, New Kent Road and on to a nightbus at Elephant gutted that my night out was nigh on shite. Ever since, Ray Keith’s Chasing Shadows has been on my deck and in my head – doubly fitting as it’s old-school d&b with content more than a fuck-off riddim and because that night I was maybe after a sound you can’t get on today’s dancefloors.
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