On Saturday 17th March, Rush Hour co-founder Antal was invited to be the next DJ to try their hand at conducting affairs in Wire’s basement from open to close as part of their One Night With series. Rush Hour is an Amsterdam institution, part record label, part shop and part distributor, and one that is internationally recognised for a guarantee of quality. Antal’s central role at the heart of these operations meant that taking the reins of a club for a night was never going to faze him.
However, there were external factors at play here. Namely, the snowy weather that has lingered well into March in Leeds, outstaying its welcome in a remarkably similar fashion to the city’s football team’s lingering presence in the middle reaches of the Championship. Another mini-blizzard hit the city on Saturday evening. The only drivers cavalier enough to brave the roads appeared to be the Uber drivers, for whom the carrot of inflated surge fares proved enticing enough to disregard the Met Office’s weather warnings.
Arriving at Wire on the stroke of midnight, it was a pleasant shock to witness that - despite the treacherous conditions - the club was almost full. In stark contrast to the icy streets of the city centre, Antal was starting off with a pleasantly warm selection of disco and funk music collected from around the globe. His ear for a groove and breadth of musical knowledge was on show, as his selection of records contained enough character and variety to engross the crowd despite being barely identifiable.
As the hours passed, Antal imperceptibly changed the vibe. There was no clear diversion from disco to house, or house to techno, Antal just calmly moved through the gears. However, taking a step back at around 3am, the music had transformed from the tasteful grooves of the warm-up to being astoundingly heavy. It was fascinating trying to trace back exactly how Antal had arrived there; there was an expert turn mixing out of a tune with samba percussion into the syncopated drums of Joe’s ‘Tail Lift’, bridging the gap from Brazilian inspired house to Hessle Audio’s weirdness. To change the vibe so smoothly, there must have been hundreds more of these skilful transitions, testament to Antal’s ability to play the right record at the right time.
During the peak hours, Antal also illustrated that he wasn’t a slave to the obscure corners of his record collection. He moved between tried and tested dancefloor weapons such as Jamie 3:26 & Cratebug’s ‘Hit It and Quit It’, and newer big room tunes like Four Tet’s remix of Bicep’s ‘Opal’ and a recent Barnt rework of Tale of Us. His willingness to play to the crowd actually felt refreshing in an age when it is easy to see a DJ set where they only play two or three tunes the majority of the crowd could be expected to recognise in a night. Antal showed that, despite having a formidably deep knowledge of music, making sure the crowd are on side is one of the most vital skills a DJ can have.
Photo courtesy of Antal and Octopus Agents
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