On the last, bitterly cold Friday night of term in the south-west, all roads led to Motion where local promoters Dropout Disco and Deep Discs teamed up to curate their biggest party yet. It promised to be much more than just an end of term blowout; the line-up was shrewdly curated and was perhaps the most enticing so far this year at Motion.
This shouldn’t have been a surprise though. Since Deep Discs’ first event last year, their parties have brought acts as celebrated and diverse as Mood ii Swing and Josey Rebelle to soundtrack their parties.
Those who arrived early enough, found warmth in the form of Deep Discs’ founder Camel and his elegant, deftly mixed selection of house and garage. Following this groove, Donna Leake, resident and programmer of London’s own audiophile heaven, Brilliant Corners, took over. The mood was quickly reset with “Firefly” by Supernatural; a track featuring the unmistakable, spoken word verses of Ursula Rucker echoing over smooth percussion and a funky bassline. This served as the perfect gateway for Leake to start flowing through the gems of a unique vinyl collection, and the jazzy-afro sounds for which her sets have become so popular for. It was a sleek opening set, that culminated with Larry Levan’s classic remix of David Joseph’s “You Can’t Hide (Your Love)”.
For those in search of something with a bit more of an edge, in the main room the inimitable Israeli duo Red Axes had begun navigating their way through the gurgling acid, clanging cowbells and psychedelic guitars that their distinct sound has come to encapsulate.
Jaco’s trancey acid weapon “Show Some Love (Rhythm Invention Remix)” seemed to melt into the driving bassline of their own “Karacol” – pushing the capacity of the speakers’ low end frequencies in the process.
Meanwhile, one of 2017s stand out DJs, Byron the Aquarius, had begun turning up the heat in the Tunnel, with a masterclass in smooth, sexy house. The tone was quickly set by Abstract Truth’s “Get Another Plan”, and continued with classics by Demuir, Moodymann and Mood ii Swing. His tremendous mixing, on show when he teased in another classic - Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s “Jupiter Jazz” - caused the tunnel to erupt. Only for it to re-erupt when he played “DJ Beat That Shhh” - the latest bouncy hip house offering from Mike Dunn. It was a true exercise in the power of clever set construction and puppet-like crowd control.
The men behind the consistently acclaimed festival and record label, Dekmantel Soundsystem continue to prove themselves as exceptional DJs in their own right; delivering a peak time set that saw no corner of dance music go untouched but was highlighted by cuts of pumping Italo and peak time disco like Sheryl Lee Ralph’s “In The Evening”.
Despite the big names and strong sets throughout the night, there was a lingering, palpable anticipation for the night’s headliner and closing act – Detroit’s DJ Bone. A man who has been Djing for over 20 years, but who has approached the past few with a renewed energy – touring relentlessly, releasing new music and gaining a cult following and a serious reputation in the process.
Expectations were high, but they probably didn’t include hearing a remix of “Functions on the Low”, 5 minutes in. However, before the crowd could decide whether it was genius or not, Bone turned it on its head with a series of flicks from the crossfader; mixing it out and then back into a pounding kick drum. Not long after, he aggressively and moshpit inducing-ly mixed in “The Bells”. From then on it was an exercise in multi deck turntablism, where songs were chopped up and then flung in and out of one another. His dynamic style of mixing giving him the power to reach an intensity that few others can, especially when the selections included songs as explosive as KiNK’s “Five” and his remix of Radio Slave’s “Children of the E”. Though his set was overwhelmingly relentless, some of its most powerful moments were its most delicate. The way he slowly brought in “Love’s Got Me High” by Terence Parker, out of a period of sudden silence proved his pure mastery of DJing in other ways.
All in all, the night was a perfect example of student clubbing done right; no frills or glitter, just a celebration of top quality underground artists and the promoters who book them.
Photo courtesy of Motion
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