Both Bristol and DJ Harvey are key figures in the progression of the UK dance scene, the former a creche of iconic UK Bass sounds and the later a true legendary selector who consistently pushes the boundaries of both his epic parties and audacious personality. Having never been to or experienced either, I was chomping at the bit at a chance to tick both off the list.
The night was in Warehouse-esque club, Motion and hosted by Just Jack, a long running party from Bristol self dubbed as providing “Just Jacking House music”, who consistently orchestrate huge lineups of the best acts in dance music. That night was no different with big hitters Virginia, Steffi and Young Marco amongst others alongside DJ Harvey for his all-night set; a somewhat staple of his performances hawking back to the all-weekender dos which helped propel himself to notoriety during the 80s. DJ Harvey is a figure whose reputation proceeds him, dubbed as the “Keith Richards of the crossfader” and exclaiming he plays the music people want to hear describing it "You can't understand the blues until you've had your heartbroken by a woman. And you can't understand my music until you've had group sex on Ecstasy.”
(A veteran of the all night set, DJ Harvey doesn't need much persuading when it comes to getting a party started)
As 12 rolled round and DJ Harvey stepped up into the booth, the main room began to swell as the mass of halloween creepers descended out of the gates of hell to enjoy the ensuing treat. Easing into the set nicely with palatable and accessible disco groovers, it took no time at all for any ghoulishness to turn to grins with the groovy disco tunes. There was no doubt about it, DJ Harvey plays the music people wanted to hear. Keen not to get sucked up by his show and miss the plethora of other class acts I quickly moved on to catch the first of the two Panorama Bar residents, Virginia.
Hailing from Berlin and having a hand at DJin’, singing, songwriting and producing I didn’t know what to expect. Instantly hit by powerful vocal lead euphoric house that the whole crowd were really feeling, oozing positivity and inclusivity. Moving through into darker powerful house tones using some slick scratch back old school mixes; bringing the crowd into harder house grooves hitting deep but with such a smile and sense of euphoria, you could tell this was the music the Just Jack crowd especially love.
(Panorama Bar resident Virginia pairs mind bending techno with her own powerful vocal talents)
Back in the main room DJ Harvey had everyone bubbling along nicely, I took to the upper balcony to watch the spectacle unfold. Motion’s main room has a large cavernous feel and still manages to sound really decent, and the decor was glamorous indeed; huge disco balls supplemented with an array of lasers dancing the whole colour spectrum complemented DJ Harvey's sounds effortlessly.
Fortunately for the freaks the night fell on the night of the clocks going back, excited by this extra playtime I managed to sneak in some cheeky Young Marco, who was having an absolute hurrah. Cranking the bass way up and playing some seriously enjoyable bass heavy, twiddling tweaky numbers physically shaking the jubilant crowd dancing excitedly around the front of the booth, you can tell he has real fun playing music and tapped into the playful spirit of an extra hour with the classic ‘Banana Boat Song’ by Harry Belafonte.
(Young Marco performs his trademark blend of house, disco and techno oddities)
Steffi, the later of the Panorama Bar princesses was a refreshing change of pace going in hard with electro techno jabbers truly making the crowd jack like they’re rag-doles, flailing limbs flopping all around vibing to the electronic stabs as tho it's an imperative groove, even if it wasn’t your sound there was no escape. A standout out tune that epitomised this was eerie ‘Huh’ from Randomer.
Journeying deeper into the evening DJ Harvey showed no signs of slowing down, subtly easing in acid numbers as though someone had spiked the punch, the crowd starting to feel a little something different before bam acid indulgence. This seductive sleight of hand upon his custom ARS 6200 rotary mixer is a true talent mastered over the years, highlighted with the track “Shift” by Redscape. Without staying in one sound for too long he builds on the energy for a euphoric finale and rides in the tango party vibes with the chorus “Streets are on fire” in the Carl & Carol Jacobs track “Yonge Street Jam Band 1”, very welcoming and friendly uplifting dance music into grandiose moments mixing in “Pure Imagination”. By this time it feels as though the dancers almost know each other as the jive became increasingly more intimate, the quote I mentioned earlier now made complete sense.
(A spectacular production is guaranteed at In:Motion, but the Just Jack Halloween party was above and beyond)
Photos courtesy of Alastair Brookes