Back To Basics goes back to its roots on 21st of May with a night at the hands of the men that carried it to its legendary status. Stepping up to summon the spirit of the 1990s, early residents Dave Beer, Ralph Lawson, Huggy and James Holroyd reunite for a night of nostalgia at the night’s current home, Wire.
As the pipes and breathy vocals of Marshall Jefferson's Open Your Eyes first spread out from the speakers of The Chocolate Factory (later to become a fixture in Leeds clubbing folklore after its reincarnation as The Music Factory), nobody could have known that the track would mark the start of one of the nation's most defied house nights of all time. Blessed with the responsibility of opening the curtains to the very first Back To Basics in 1991, Ralph Lawson marked the start of a new chapter in dance music with the deployment of Jefferson’s deep and spiritual slow roller, and would go on to lead the line for Basics for the next 19 years. The founder of Leeds label 2020Vision, as well as touring electronic outfit 2020Soundsystem, Lawson is heralded by many as an understated hero of house music, his contribution as a DJ, producer and label head revered by those in the know for its impact on a local, national and international level.
It wasn’t long after Lawson and co opened up Back to Basics before two of the Real Deal’s other guests cemented their place in its history, with both James Holroyd and Huggy holding residencies between 1992 and 1997. Both clocked up the best part of their Basics hours at Music Factory and Pleasure Rooms, living and breathing the hedonistic night’s famous atmosphere as they promoted the best in house music to a strikingly diverse, stylish and dedicated crowd. Going on to found Bugged Out!, James Holroyd consolidated himself as one of the en vogue DJs as an accomplice of the Chemical Brothers, whilst Huggy would go on to play an important part in Lawson’s 2020 project, often returning from his new home across the Atlantic as a returning member of the Basics family.
Though all three DJs are inextricably linked to the Basics legacy, no name is more synonymous with the party than that of its co-founder, figurehead and constant resident, Dave Beer. Leeds party goers should realise the debt that each of us owes to a man whose attitude, approach and dedication to house music has unquestionably been as influential in creating the vibrant scene that we enjoy today as any other individual, and there is no better way to pay your respect than by joining Beer and his sparring partners as they celebrate the party in its original form once again.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Ralph Lawson