Friday 25th of September
Friday saw the return of Wire’s ‘One Night With’ series after a break for the summer, and the DJ for the night was making his own triumphant return. Five years ago Midland was working at Wire picking up glasses; tonight he would play records all night long. In those five years he has achieved a lot; from releasing consistently good productions to starting his own label Graded, and proving his chops as a DJ going back to back with the likes of Ben UFO and Paul Woolford.
No stranger to extended sets, Midland will be playing a range of all night long sets in the coming months, he took advantage of the quiet first hour with choices ranging from Marvin Gaye to Francis Bebey, but it wasn’t long before he dived deep into groovy techno, with the cheers greeting the cowbells of TMTT marking the night getting truly under way.
Kick drums rolled and spacey synth-lines - perfectly suited to the darkness of Wire’s cave-like basement dancefloor - bounded around the room as it gradually filled to max capacity. Midland rode the natural ebb and flow as only an experienced DJ can, hitting the peaks hard with a four-floor stormer the one time and a Todd Terje-esque disco edit the next, and never losing grasp of the groove even when taking it down a notch to allow the room to recover.
The selections ranged from dubby Ostgut-Ton releases to big room slammers and obscurity nestled comfortably alongside more well-known tracks. It wasn’t until the late hours of the night that he pulled out some expected favourites. Daphni’s Vikrum led into Pearson Sound’s forthcoming Thaw Cycle and he saved his own Safi from Autonomous Africa III for right near the end - the reaction of the room proving beyond any doubt that it was well worth the wait. He also slipped in his upcoming track Double Feature, the debut release on his sub-label ReGraded, intended to focus on ‘sample-based, disco-tinged house’. It worked perfectly among a series of other funky steppers and it’s an exciting taste of what other influences Midland has in store to work with in the future.
The pumping atmosphere and faultless selection made Friday an all-round brilliant dance, and a strong return for the ‘One Night With’ series. For Midland, he’s come full circle - and the records he’s picked up along the way are fierce. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait five years for the next one.
Words by Tom O'Rourke
Photos Courtesy of Justin Gardner