Category Archives: U.K. underground

Squat Parties Won’t Stop!

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croydon squatheygate nowheygate herecamberwell squatnewham noticeratstar freeshop
ratstar artnot a benchpink panther partysquatters paradisebroken telephonestand up

Squat Parties Won’t Stop, a set on Flickr.

As of September 1st 2012, squatting on residential property is now a criminal offence punishable by arrest, a 6 month prison term and or a £5000 fine. Talk about draconian. I won’t even bother devoting space to the names of the lowdown dirty scoundrels (politicians, newsmedia) involved in this oppression; you can find that information all over the net. For those of you who have no clue what squatting is, basically it means taking over an unused, usually dilapidated property and making it your home. The crucial part is securing the property without getting caught, urm…breaking in. Prying the Sitex off the window and smashing a pane is usually how most gain entry, but you could be charged with criminal damage if caught by police. Essentially, squatting is a social movement born out of necessity in many parts of the world. It has a long and distinguished history in England, dating back to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 right down to World War II when thousands of people, including ex-soldiers, occupied empty homes and land, claiming they had a right to do so because they had nowhere else to live.

Fast forward to 2012. The last I heard from my links in London was squatting would be made illegal in 2013, but apparently the bastards on Parliament Hill decided three months was too long of a wait, so they decided to speed things up. Squatting has been a controversial topic, especially over the last four years. Several articles have been written about hapless homeowners returning from holiday, only to discover a bunch of strange, dirty hippies have taken over their property, scrawling filth all over the walls. To add insult to injury, most of their belongings ended up doing time in the frontyard. Horrors. And if that wasn’t bad enough, said homeowners had to get a court order to evict the squatters at their expense, since they couldn’t bloody well kick ‘em out due to a provision in Section 16 of The Criminal Justice Act. And who could ever forget the infamous Park Lane squat party of 2010, when thousands of peeps took over a £30 million property for one raucous night of festivities which resulted in road closures, police in riot gear and salacious pics of ravers on the rooftop.

Entrance to a squat. If you look closely, you will spot the Section 16 Notice, top left. Photo: Emilian Zalewski

Yet, with all that being said, only a minute percentage of news articles on squatting ever exposed the real truth behind squatting. The reality is the majority of squatters appropriate abandoned, usually dilapidated homes, hundreds of thousands of which are slowly going to rot all over London, while entire families languish for years on council waiting lists for affordable housing. The reality is most people squat because they can’t afford to pay the extortionate rents that are so typical of London. The reality is most squatters tend to be young, intelligent, artistic types who are keenly aware of the injustices perpetrated by a system intent on keeping them enslaved mentally and economically. In recent years, there has been an interesting shift in the type of people traditionally involved in squatting. This paradigm now includes, quote on quote, “upwardly mobile citizens” with careers in finance, engineering, even science, who previously would not have squatted, but have opted to because they realized how deeply they have been duped by an unfair system.

So now that the laws have changed, what does this mean for the future of squatting and squat parties in particular? Fret not my friends. Squatting on commercial property is still legal – for now, at least. This means that squat parties are far from finished. What does a typical squat party consist of? Noise, squalor, and lots of booze. Which ain’t necessarily a bad thing…unless the toilets don’t work. “Pass the plunger please – wait, it’s got a hole in it – oh shit…” Squat parties range from a late night soiree in a council flat to a full on rave in an abandoned warehouse. This scene has played an important role in facilitating the spread of minimal and tech-house circa 2007 onwards. When it comes to squat parties, nothing is sacrosanct. Not even a former Buddhist temple round Kennington way, which once hosted a heavy metal screamo / drum n bass mash up complete with a hot and cold vegan buffet. Damn, that sweet potato soup was da bomb! Fortunately we left shortly before fighting broke out and the cops were called. Violence can be problematic at squat parties due to its clandestine, barely legal nature, not to mention the possibility of bad drugs. Better to get your goodies ahead of time from a reliable source than from some shady lurking near the backwall. After all is said and done, squat parties provide legitimate alternatives to the mainstream mush that is standard fare in Central London nightlife. They are not always about loud music and kids getting out of hand; they have been known to host poetry nights and community style gatherings where people can exchange information and ideas that foster growth. The kind that would make the cronies on Parliament Hill shit in their pants. True, squat parties are far from perfect, but until steps are taken to genuinely address the root cause of social inequity, people will continue to occupy spaces abandoned by those who hold the reins of power.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Bristol U.K. Graffiti 2008

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monster mashcrouching womangolden lion1goldenlion2golden lion5golden lion4
golden lion3magic stork3magic stork2magic storkmushroom housemadcow
little devilslady libertyinstallation art1graff loversgraff guygraffiti wall1
graffwall2graffwall3graffwall4devil angeldancemusictoof fairy bristol

Bristol U.K. Graffiti 2008, a set on Flickr.

Colourful graffiti covers the infamous stretch of Stokes Croft, Bristol, U.K. beautifying an otherwise dull urban landscape. Bristol is a hotspot for innovation, as evidenced by the emergence of Roni Size, Portishead and Massive Attack on the music scene. Talented artists execute fine art in meticulous detail on a variety of edifices, thereby compelling the general public to recognize graffiti as a legitimate form of artistic expression rather than vandalism. Photography © 2008 Frankie Diamond and Emil Zalewski.

Brick Lane Graffiti

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Here are some cool examples of Brick Lane art, past and present. Photography by Frankie Diamond.

The Stoner’s Guide to Brick Lane

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From curry pimps to hipsters to perenially bored millionaires, Brick Lane draws action like fruitflies to an overripe banana. If you’re looking for something to do in London that’s dirt cheap, da Brick’s where it’s at baby! This historical district located near Aldgate / Whitechapel is famous for its curry houses, markets, bars, vintage shops, galleries and graffiti scene. The perpetually changing artistic landscape means you’re bound to spot something different on your next visit, so there’s no shortage of brain candy. Add bubbly crowds and colourful characters to the outrageously popular Sunday market and you’ve got a recipe for unforgettable adventure. Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting alternative scenes in London.  During peak time, you can encounter up to 50 different nationalities in one afternoon. Now’s the time to flaunt your exotic immigrant background – people here will love you for it. Traffic is actually permitted through Brick Lane on market day, which makes for some rather hilarious driver-pedestrian scenarios. The sound of liquor bottles exploding from tire pressure is rather unsettling, though I’ve never seen anyone get hurt from flying shrapnel. There is much to see, do, and explore at this teeming outpost of hyperactive insanity, so I’ll cover the basics. The rest is up to you…

 

CAFÉ 1001

Source: theculturalexpose.co.uk

East end slumming doesn’t get much better than Café 1001. Located at 1 Dray Walk directly opposite the Up Market, this converted warehouse is one of the best spots for a pressure free chill. There’s no dress code and the staff are pretty friendly. Best of all it’s free, except for the monthly marathon events that run for 24 hrs. Other cool features include the book orphanage and the contemporary art exhibit. They host a movie night on Monday and you can catch live bands during the week. The jazz program on a Wednesday is awesome. Café 1001 serves a decent variety of sandwiches, salads and snacks that are reasonably priced. Drinks are fairly expensive and the beer selection is limited to rather lousy imports (except for Carlsberg maybe). The good news is you can get a stamp from security, go to off-license, get tanked and come back. The bouncers at the laneway entrance often check bags for booze and won’t allow you to even pass through Dray Walk if they find any. Things were different back in 2005 when you could wander in and out freely with a drink in your hand, but those days are history. If top notch tea and coffee’s your thing, try the Moroccan style resto down the road or Albion on Redchurch. Café 1001 boasts an outdoor BBQ which serves burgers and grilled sandwiches with fries for the fashionably famished. The Café is known for its eclectic roster of DJ’s spinning a variety of music from dubstep to tech-house and hip-hop on Friday and Saturday nights, and they usually have a wicked jungle/dnb night once a month. Everyone gets kicked out at 12 a.m. sharp which really sucks. Peeps hang around outside smoking up a storm trying to figure out where to go next, while the leafletters provide them with a fistful of options. Aquarium, Rhythm Factory or Favela Chic are good places to start, as they are in close proximity round Shoreditch way.   

Sundays are fab when the action kicks off around 1 p.m. with ska / reggae in the front room. This space is more like a lounge with peeps just laying about yakking it up with their friends or typing away on their laptops. No-one really dances in the front room which is a shame, though some brave souls have been known to buck that trend. The back room’s usually banging with deep house and Detroit techno; the action picks up around 7ish. One of the downsides to Café 1001 is that it attracts a high percentage of sleaze; most of the guys are a bunch of cheapazoids who expect to get laid without even buying you a drink. And you gotta watch your belongings like a hawk as it’s thick with thieves; they have signs posted everywhere informing you of the risk. Best to leave that £500 designer jacket at home or you will be sorry. Occasionally this place gets hot with undercover jerkoffs, so please be mindful of your surroundings and follow your instincts. Otherwise a wicked, no frills, semi-ravey, chill out joint. 

Scope out Cafe 1001’s lush musical menu at http://www.cafe1001.co.uk/ 

 

93 FEET EAST

 This legendary club hosts the ever popular Fuse every Sunday, featuring a roster of European DJs such as Enzo Siragusa, Luke Miskelly, Seb Zito and more. Entry is usually free unless there are events billed as raves which start at £10 and increases at peak periods. 93 is a virtual magnet for the tragically hip, fashionably wasted, awesomely artistic, semi-disaffected, glamour-girl types and glittery pornstars. Track pants and scruffy trainers are frowned upon by clipboard wielding doorstaff who will deny entry if they deem you a fashion failure. And you have to be on the guestlist or you’ll get blanked at the door. So make sure you get on it in advance, and don’t try on the day of the event because that won’t work either. It is possible to blag your way in if you know someone in the queue who’s already registered. For guestlist privileges, sign up at http://www.fuselondon.net  The party starts from 12 p.m. and ends between 10 and 11. 93’s courtyard features a bar and BBQ which rocks, especially on a sunny day. Best to get there early on a Bank Holiday weekend around 2 p.m. or you could have a long wait. On regular Sundays, it’s advisable to get there between 6 and 7, cuz that’s when the party really gets started. Enjoy an off-license drink in the queue and presently, some wino will butt in and start draining every last drop of alcohol from the discarded bottles until security turfs his ass. Larks innit…

93 has 2 rooms on the main floor; usually 1 room is open for Fuse while the other is converted into a coatcheck. It’s great when there’s access to the second room cuz the acoustics are better, it’s air conditioned and there’s more room to dance. Overall 93 is small, their sound system sucks and their exclusive door policy is a joke; however pumping house, techno, and enthusiastic crowds even out the score. There is no a.c. in the main room which means it gets boiling hot once packed but fear not; the bar is stocked with a range of respectable beer and beverages. And of course you can always scoot out to the patio for some air and a smoke. If sharing water with strangers, it’s advisable to always ask whether there’s MDMA in it, otherwise you might get unexpectedly blissed out…which isn’t such a bad thing. Now’s the time to practice your Italian as this place is loaded with Mediterranean party animals, and they are a truly merry, happy go lucky bunch. Feel free to flaunt your swag on the platform in front of the DJ booth; it helps to get you noticed and might snag you a drink from the guy making eyes at you across the room. There is far less sleaze and way more quality than Café 1001, but don’t raise your expectations too high. The majority of peeps here are a wee bit jaded from trying to escape the reality of stressful jobs and overloaded curriculums. If you stay ‘til the very end and don’t have to work on Monday, snag a wristband from the promoters outside and enjoy free entry to Fabric nightclub. For free techno / house parties on Sunday eve that’ll take the edge off the weekend’s final hours, 93 Feet East is highly recommended.

 Check out 93’s event listings, including Fuse at  http://www.93feeteast.co.uk

 

THE BIG CHILL

Source: london.eventskr.com

Situated just a stone’s throw away from Café 1001, Big Chill Sundays are phenomenal with ol skool RnB /hip-hop guaranteed to cream your ears. The patio gets packed and noisy with smokers and drinkers, but the dance floor is rather small, since much of the space is devoted to couchsurfing layabouts. My one beef with The Big Chill, or rather, the crowd it attracts, is that hardly anyone dances. It’s mostly City types anxious to cultivate a little swag that dominate this otherwise down-to-earth scenario. Friday nights are pathetic when said types just stand around getting drunk, talking shit, desperate to get laid before closing time. And then you see the floozies and floozettes staggering around at last call, happy to go home and enjoy some rather meaningless drunken sex. To each their own. Great music, good drinks, rubbish crowd. Make sure you bring company or you might end up perusing the wallpaper while you dance.  www.bigchill.net/bar

 

Source: vibe-bar.co.uk

VIBE BAR

 This popular venue is actually part of a small entertainment complex, situated at The Old Truman Brewery opposite 93 Feet East. Entry is usually free and they’ve got a monthly calendar posted on the gate outside so you can plan ahead of schedule. A plethora of live bands play a variety of music, from RnB to reggae, indie and experimental. Weekdays are generally quiet; it’s on weekends when this place comes alive. Main acts play downstairs, while the lesser knowns are banished to the upper room. I know it’s kinda hard to navigate those stairs when you’ve had a few, but please try to haul your ass up there because sometimes there are good bands playing to a half empty room while the occasional plonkers get the ground floor. There are often wonderful art exhibits on the top floor as well, which allow you to check out the street action from the window. People actually dance and socialize here which is fab. And ladies are bound to get a kick out of the infamous Ron Jeremy toilet signpost. Boozers beware: the ladies queue gets notoriously long due to inadequate toilet facilities. If that happens, try the spare ones just out the door, down the hall to your right and pray they don’t have a monster line-up as well. The courtyard’s a great place to Pimm your way to Sunday afternoon glory while the BBQ’s and roasts will keep you stuffed ‘til mid-week and then some. Occasionally you might end up being treated to a haircut / makeover courtesy of the pop-up barbershop. Rummage for records at the outdoor vintage vinyl sale to your heart’s content, and try not to drop that ash on the sleeve or Tappy will be pissed. 

For more info visit http://www.vibe-bar.co.uk 

 And of course, no mention of Brick Lane is complete without mention of the astonishingly gifted street performer (or “One-Man Band”), Lewis Floyd Henry 😉

 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

Rave Reviews: Cable Nightclub

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Photo: Theo Sindica

          It’s after 8 on a Sunday morning, you’ve just left Fabric or whatever hole you’ve managed to crawl from, and you’re whacked out of your friggin skull wondering where the hell you’re gonna end up next. Going home is not an option. Not when you can’t read the bloody directions on a TFL map cuz all the words are scrambled in some unintellible jargon. You know it’s time for an afterparty when some kindly stranger has to help you make sense of the Jubilee line, lost in a snakey tangle of colour coded tubes like some cruel cosmic joke. Come on down to Cable! Inconspicuously tucked away beneath the tunnel at 33a Bermondsey Street near London Bridge, this joint is perhaps the most happening afterhours club in town. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty easy to walk right by and miss the damn thing if you don’t know where it is.

            At 9:30 a.m. I found myself waiting in line with an assorted cast of characters; clubbers, stoners, 9 – 5ers, semi-wastoids, and an odd selection of eurotramps. Two Russian girls dressed to the nines are chatting amongst themselves, passports in hand. A socialite wannabe tries to blag her way in ahead of everyone else, but the stone faced bouncer dude’s not having it. She is told to get in line like everyone else. Miss Cosmopolitan had no choice but to trot indignantly to the rear, while everyone snickers at the Blag-gate debacle. Cosmo tried to save a little face by sweet-talking a few guys in the queue but to no avail. So far, it looks like Cable espouses an equal opportunity ethic, which I find difficult to disparage. And they’re not letting people in without wristbands either. Fortunately my acquaintance and I managed to score some coveted wristies from a steward before we skipped Fabric. If your name’s not on the guestlist or you don’t have a wristband, you will be denied entry. Talk about strict door policies…

            As we approached the entrance we were greeted by two formidable slabs of security muscle who politely demanded to see our I.D. These guys looked like no-nonsense, seasoned old pros, or better yet, former porn star extras hustling extra dough on the side. My bag was then passed through a metal detector. One of my newly acquired party friends had a membership and tried to get me in for free, but to no avail. However, bouncer dude decided to make concessions for my cuteness at £8. After the airport security drill was over, we were given the all clear. “Welcome to Cable! Enjoy yourselves now,” chirped the hostess at coatcheck. 

            Banging house greeted my ears in the main room. A well stocked bar conducted brisk trade to my right while revelers grooved to pulsating rhythms on the dance floor. Cable is packed at 10 in the morning. Oddly enough, it seems rather small despite the 1000 strong capacity. I attribute that to my currently rampant state of blissful inebriation. Evidently, this is the place to get your afterhours freak on in L-ville. All the cool party peeps from Brick Lane and elsewhere are here, smiling and having a wicked time. “Hey man, long time no see! So this is where you’ve been lately.” Incidentally, Cable offers an interesting mix of mature ravers and clubbers; no kids or riff raff up in here. People are friendly, outgoing, and easy to talk to, so you don’t have to worry about catching wallpaper syndrome if you show up solo. And all you tabloid freaks will rejoice to know that sometimes the occasional celebrity can be spotted getting a slice of underground action.

            A semi-swanky mezzanine hosts an additional bar/chill out lounge, but the real action’s to be had downstairs. Louis Vega style deep house is swinging in the back room, making us nightowlers go nuts. I clambered up onto the mini stage facing the DJ booth and danced my ass off. The über friendly vibe and warehouse atmosphere makes Cable an absolute delight for hardcore ravers. They also cater to drum and bass, grime and dubstep with events featuring Metalheadz, Chew the Fat!, Shogun Audio and more. I can’t recall who the heck was spinning but let’s just say they effing killed it. Sunday mornings never felt so good! At this urban audiochurch beneath Bermondsey’s arch, you could get twisted ‘til the cows come home. Sometime in the afternoon, I decided to call it quits before I passed out from overnight exertion. Apart from losing the back cover for my mobile and barfing orange juice at London Bridge station, I had the wickedest time. For those of you craving the ultimate afterhours fix, Cable ties it all together nicely.

 TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF CABLE:

– Get on the guestlist or obtain a wristband ahead of time if you can.

– Remember to bring your I.D.

– Blagging’s a bust unless you happen to be a rockstar, superfamous, or super hot.

For more info, visit www.cable-london.com/

 Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Dave Angel Vintage Techno 1999

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Dave Angel

When it comes to brilliantly subversive techno, Dave Angel is the man. Detroit sure is a long way from Chelsea, but that’s how far this British born DJ’s ambition has taken him. Angel grew up listening to the sounds of Miles Davis and learned to play drums at the age of 8. He even bore witness to the acid house explosion in the U.K. during the 80’s, snagging a stint on pirate radio station Phase 1. His bootlegged remix of Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” launched his career into the stratosphere and he’s been soaring upward ever since. But enough of the chit chatter…listen to this mix and be amazed >>>

http://soundcloud.com/fxxp/dave-angel-motorlounge-detroit?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=http://soundcloud.com/fxxp/dave-angel-motorlounge-detroit#share

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Shy FX, Goldie and Metalheadz Soundclash

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Souvenir tee Soundclash flyersoundclash flyer1Tres amigosGoldie and Andy CFrankie & Shy Fx
Dj Storm Goldie & StormShy Fx on tha decksDon Letts & FrankieGoldie rinsing outPICT0126
Waiting in da wingsSkream & BengaMC GQ heats things up for tha Metalheadz crewRoundhouse crowdChannel 1Chillin in the VIP lounge
Bungalow 8Chic chess Chess furnitureDining room in St. Martin's hotelPICT0167Printing press

Culture Clash October 14, 2010, a set on Flickr.

In search of something far more stimulating than Ex-lax, I took off and went to England for a few years. During my time abroad, I’ve experienced the magnificent scope of London’s underground scene. I’m happy to say that drum and bass is alive and doing quite well, dubstep’s on its way out and techno is enjoying a revival (supercheesy style electro & minimal were huge between 2007 – 2010. It drove me nuts!). Anyway, here’s the scoop on my adventure at Culture Clash. Some of the biggest names in drum n bass – Goldie, Shy FX, Andy C – faced off against dub giants Channel One and Scream & Benga (refer to above photo album). It was a dream come true, meeting the men behind the music I used to rave to back in the day.

Photography: Copyright © 2010 Frankie Diamond. If you are using the slideshow option, click on the “Show info” button on the top right corner for more details. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

Rave Reviews: Fabric London

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 Located at 77A Charterhouse Street in Farringdon, Fabric is a force to be reckoned with. After all, how many clubs do you know of that boasts a 24 hour drinking license? Things can get mighty hectic on a Friday night, especially when super heavyweights such as DJ Hype, LTJ Bukem, MC Conrad, Goldie, Fabio and Pascal hold court over hundreds of screaming ravers at weekly soundclashes. Techno -house rules the roost on Saturdays where special guests like Adam Beyer, Mark Farina, Magda and more preside over the decks. Saturdays can be good; however, it can sometimes be hit and miss with an occasionally mediocre lineup and sparse crowds. Quite frankly, Stacey Pullen and Brendon Moeller were the only ones that prevented me from abandoning ship prematurely during my last techno night in August of 2011.

Mayhem at Fabric in Room 1

 Fabric is renowned for its stellar roster of international talent, featuring a mixture of well established acts and blossoming newcomers. Craig Richards as resident DJ and program director ensures the lineup remains fresh while staying true to its classic roots, alongside fellow resident Terry Francis. Founded by Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie in 1999, the club has somehow managed to survive the  recession – thank heavens! During my time in London, this erstwhile edifice was a mecca of sorts for lovers of underground music. Fabric was the name on virtually every clubber’s lips, spoken with a kind of whispered reverence. People’s eyes literally glazed over when they mentioned the F-word, as if slipping into some kind of euphoric trance. Free entry wristbands were frequently distributed outside of 93 Feet East on a Sunday night for the lucky souls who didn’t have to work Monday morning. Of course, I wanted to know what the fuss was about so I ventured down one Friday night to find out. 

Ever the resourceful clubber, I bought my ticket online to avoid getting stuck in the queue. Actually, my ex-boyfriend was generous enough to buy it for me! Cost: £19.50. I must admit I was impressed by the pristine layout of Fabric’s website. They’ve got student discount rates, a fabricfirst membership option with tempting perks such as free mix cd’s and line bypass privileges. A monthly calendar of events proudly displays all the luminaries in attendance so pilgrims can plan their next outing in advance. Already, an impression had been made: Fabric was geared towards providing the ultimate party experience by engaging their audience on multiple levels through their website. I believe that’s called clever marketing.

I arrived just before midnight. Other peeps planned to get down there around 4 am for the half price special, but I wasn’t having that. No sirree Bob, I wanted the whole shebang from the get-go! With printed voucher in hand, I was waved through the advance ticket line faster than floral bacteria in a sheep’s digestive tract. Once inside, I was cordially greeted by a female bouncer. She proceeded to check my purse and frisk me silly. A guy bouncer struck up a friendly conversation (well, flirty was more like it) and advised me to have a good time. Have a good time. Did I hear right? Bouncers that actually smile and say “Good night?” Every last one of them! I didn’t know what kind of alternate universe I’d fallen into, but I was definitely feeling this. The coatcheck was located up a winding staircase to my left. I braced myself for what I thought would be extortionary rates (£5 at least) at this first rate venue, but was amazed to discover it was only a measly £1. I experienced immense gratitude for the respect management showed towards patrons by not insulting our intelligence with jacked up coatcheck fees – unlike many other clubs.

The highly organized security team kept traffic flowing smoothly by directing everyone downstairs as soon

Fabric holds a 24 hr. drinking license…rahtid!

as we’d finished up with the coatcheck and digital ticket scans. It was obvious Fabric ran a tight ship. Blagging odds: 1 in 10,000. Damn….anyways, I ventured into the cavernous depths of this nocturnal beast to Room 1 or should I say, Portal 1 where Hype was mashing tings up large. After all these years, Da Big Dog was still on top of his game, sending the next generation of 20 something junglists off their heads. Room 1 was a hot, steaming jungle of pure mayhem. Heat was damn nigh unbearable but  shit was insane up in here! Frankenräver was forced to strip down to her bikini top (yes, I came prepared). A virtual moshpit had metastasized on the dance floor, with ravers gleefully pushing against one another. The floor was so wet that people slipped and fell down – if there was enough room to fall. Room 1 was jampacked to the nines. Despite the absence of ol skool whistlecrews, this screaming crowd of euroravers compensated for it with sheer enthusiasm. What I found especially fascinating was the semi-ravey atmosphere of what many would consider a commercial club. There was more than a smidgen of underground flavour here that harked back to the good ol daze of yore; hi-5’s, non-intrusive security, random conversations and guys decent enough to buy you a drink – and drinks at Fabric ain’t cheap either. I must admit I had not encountered this kind of friendly social vibe at a club anywhere in a long time… 

Upstairs afforded a different perspective on the action where one could look down at the dancefloor and trip out on vortex style lasers. At the back of Room 1 was a stage facing the DJ booth on the opposite end. It was occupied by mostly shirtless, sweaty guys who decided to brave the sweltering heat and strut their stuff. More power to them. I only lasted about 3 minutes before I had to come down – or risk passing out from the intensity.

Room 3 was a tiny antechamber with not much in the way of excitement going on as a lesser known DJ was spinning here. It’s easy to lose your sense of direction in this place – Fabric is fucking huge (for a nightclub that is) with a capacity of 1800. Even the toilets are a trip; unisex, clean, and well attended by security. The communal handwashing fountain provided interesting opportunities to bond with fellow ravers. And bond I must for I’d received a text from my friend saying the line-up was thick outside and he couldn’t get in. Oh well… Pascal, Zinc and Fabio rounded things off beautifully, dropping dirty ol skool gems in da mix. Fabric has state of the art soundsystems installed in each room, including the bodysonic vibrating dancefloor in Room 1. Honestly, I didn’t notice any vibration in the midst of all the ruckus going on in there, but I thought it’s worth mentioning anyway. 

Nevermind the bodysonics; there was one man that I had journeyed here especially to see. A drum and bass maverick that I had somehow managed to miss during the 90’s and I simply could not live with myself until I had seen him in action. At 5 am, this phenomenal High Priest took to the stage after Hype, Fabio and others paid their respects to the legendary master with honorary 5 minute guest spots. What can I say? It was absolute heaven as LTJ Bukem ripped shit up tremendously on the decks with flawless mixing, augmented by skillfully woven melodies on the verge of transcendence. Ravers screamed their heads off and demanded more, more, MORE! Danny Williamson continued to dish it out, track after track after track, killing us all with fantastically resonant sub-lows. The energy flowed pure and true from his superbly gifted hands. Bukem was cool as a cucumber, smiling beatifically while MC Conrad played off rhythms with the confident skill of a seasoned veteran.

“It’s like a dream come true!” gushed an Italian raver who’d befriended me. He came especially to see Bukem too. “What’s he doing in Room 2? LTJ Bukem is a star – he should be in Room 1,” the Italian opined. I had to agree, though LTJ seemed right at home in his present location. It seemed as if nothing could faze this dude. He was totally in his element. Supreme confidence is naturally alluring, so I went to the front of the stage to get a gander. LTJ looked so handsome in his trademark tinted visor, charming smile and flat cap. Heck, even his arms were buffed! Bukem exuded a gentle, charismatic vibe all his own. I felt blessed for having such ravishing eye candy in addition to the spectacular aural stimulation I was receiving. Bonus! Damn it Danny, I think I’m in love! 

The Celestial Boomfest ended around 8 am when we shuffled out into a gorgeous Saturday morning. From the moment I entered Fabric, I did not sit down. The music was far too brilliant to waste precious time that could be spent transcending the boundaries of material existence. I was completely energized and bouncing off the walls on nothing but pure energy. Upon arriving home, I raved to my flatmates about how wondrous the night was and how they missed out. At 9 am, I was still trying to settle down so I could get some sleep. With its relaxed, übercool atmosphere, Fabric is a haven for the Spirit of Rave in a post 90’s party world and an absolute must for any raver visiting London. It is more than just another concept club – it’s an experience.

 Check out Fabric’s jaw dropping roster here: www.fabriclondon.com

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Roni Size “Brown Paper Bag” Video Shot in Toronto

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 To all the drum n bass headz out there, did you know Roni Size’s “Brown Paper Bag” video was shot in Toronto? You can see the streetcar at 1:22 and St. Osgoode subway station. Ain’t it trippy?!

  Roni Size is a British Dj / producer who achieved tremendous success with his album,  New Forms which debuted in 1997. It is considered to be one of the greatest drum and bass jazz fusion albums. I highly recommend a listen to the double LP. And Size is mentioned in my up and coming book on Toronto’s rave scene (see previous posting). 

Something to be proud of Toronto!