Monday, July 10, 2017

Only missing the Vicks

A school hall in deepest Kent, late Saturday night. Pounding beats and unbridled dancing in a sweatbox. Yes, the Rave for Refugees fundraiser threw 80 or so punters back, way back, into the mid-90s shangri-la of their imaginings.

The concept was simple - put on a night with a few proper DJs and a few amateurs (the organisers!) and the proceeds go to charities. They had done ‘Wyebiza’ the year before for Help Refugees, and this time added the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as a beneficiary. You could book online, although Marc and co were not averse to running round town spreading the word too. As is the way in the sticks, they faced competition that night from a 50th and a church concert, although it was said the vicar would try and pop in after the arias.

But would the punters be offering simple charitable support, or turning up in the spirit intended, to rave away like back in the day?

And it was great to see that after the first hour or so, people really went for it. Glow sticks were waved around, glow bracelets and glasses must-have accessories. The sound system they hired really helped, crisp and punchy, with lights bouncing off in response. Marc and Martin did their set of 90s bangers to get everyone going. Poorly mixed through their desktop app, they would freely admit, but those old-school classics were delivered with love - Altern-8, La Luna, Roses remixes, Chemical Brothers and a lot of Leftfield. Marc loves his Leftfield. So many more in that mid-90s sweet spot between house and trance. They finished on Born Slippy (breakdown below), the tune that eroded the boundaries between the discerning ravers pushing the culture on and the all-purpose general beery hedonists forever out ‘getting on it’. The change cut both ways, where I used to look down on the likes of Faithless as too populist for more progressive tastes, I slowly learned their value and now see them as a benign signifier of those times.

Then the pros came on, the experienced Ben Nevis and his mate, and kept things going until the end. I admired the fact that for the first hour or so they were mainly playing stuff which to an older crowd would be largely unknown (like the big Eric Prydz number they started with, shown below). All brilliantly mixed and well chosen, I’d add, but unable to bend any nostalgic synapses. Then they seemed to consciously relent and bring in Stuff that People Actually Knew, a bit of speed garage, Timo Maas, more of that peaktime mid-to-late 90s business. My gunfingers were out.

It was a simple concept that most importantly raised a few quid for good causes but also played to the older trend of obsolescent ravers still wanting the odd night of cutting loose (events such as Bop Local in Manchester, Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet in Hither Green in southeast London). If packaged right, it doesn’t have to default to soul, funk and the usual generic, evergreen reliables; it can be the sounds that made you freak, broadly the sounds that are still fuelling youthful hedonism today. Looking forward to the next one!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big up Wye massive!

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna stick my gun finger up your Maas!

5:26 pm  

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