Joy O’s most notorious visit to Wire has to be that Acetate, a session with Will Bankhead and Ben UFO in early 2014. At this infamous event, Joy O truly placed himself in Wire folklore by playing, (then pulling up, then playing again) Tail Spin’s ‘All Massive (Tail Spin Massive Mix)’. This selection sent a popular Facebook music group on a furious quest to identify its name, long before the Identification of Music Group had ever been thought up.
Since then, Joy has had a close relationship with the club, appearing at one of their in-house ‘One Night With’ events in the autumn term of each year since 2015. The excitement for this edition was ramped up after a series of jaw-dropping reviews of Joy’s extended sets at Houghton and Dekmantel this summer. Following an invite for Bruce last year, the latest edition saw up-and-comer Or:la invited to warm up before Joy closed proceedings.
Unfortunately, Or:la’s warmup set was somewhat ruined by the volume being far too quiet. Despite the club being almost full toward the end of her set, the music was not turned up and you could hear every conversation around as you strained to try pick it out. Or:la’s recent ascent to recognition had meant that many in the club were excited to see her. In a few smoking area conversations, there was a palpable sense of disappointment at how it had turned out, through no fault of her own.
However, most people were there to see Joy, and the volume almost doubled as soon as he touched the decks. One of the best parts of the room granted to DJs during the ‘One Night With’ series is it means they can journey through the various sub-genres of their musical taste. Joy did not disappoint in this regard, playing a surprising amount of slower disco-influenced music than he is usually associated with.
Of course, he also masterfully navigated through his collection of bouncy UK funky, devastating techno and the sort of gun-finger garage that gave a few in the crowd misty-eyed memories of that Acetate. His ability to pick music on the fringes of these genres was also impressive. The selection of Dynamite's ‘Brave’ - a 2017 soca track with clear similarities to turn of the decade funky - illustrates the wide net he is still casting when looking for music. However, the greatest takeaway from his performance was how he perfectly understood the club itself and the Leeds crowd, showcasing how familiarity and good relationships between venues and DJs can help create some wonderful experiences.
Photo courtesy of Liaison Artists