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Swamp @ Bagleys - Review

Reported by Tanya Daly / Submitted 01-04-03 14:45

Dance like no-one is watching (Mark Twain)

And judging by the frenetic display on the dance floor at Swamp, apparently you are all taking his advice.

Swamp has for a long time been my favourite little underground bubbler. DJ/Promoter Mattie C's sets have always got my dance juices flowing but Swamp has never received the kind of following that it deserves. Yet Mattie and Phil still persist in trying to bring good ol' fashioned fun to those of us spending our lives in London's pits of darkness. Their shindigs are always more like going to a mate's house party than a club. Even more so at their new home at Bagleys where the venue is more spacious and less sweaty. Their previous room at the Viaduct used to get sweatier than an Italian woman's armpits so it's a welcome change to have a bigger, better ventilated room. Swamp is so unpretentious that you can usually find Mattie going hard on the dance floor along with the rest of us. Their music comes in Goldilocks measures: just right. Hard but not too hard, euphoric but not la-lee-la-lee-la euphoric, and lively, but not so that you feel like you have to go like a pneumatic drill to keep up with the beat.

This was a night of two halves for me.
First up: Littleman, I missed the first half of your set, but the second half: Yeah, baby! Now that was good fun. Phil Reynolds' and Steve Blake's 'Phase 2' is always a winner. Big beats from a little guy.
Next in the box: Pascal D. Pascal's first half didn't inspire me much and his mixing was more of the blending kind. Come on guy, play with your knobs more Wink. Come the second half and he must have got to the "push it to the limits" section of his record box. Woohoo! Following Pascal on the decks: Greg Cosford. This is one of my fave up-and-comers but boy were there some nasty moments. People bumping the needles was helping turn this into every DJ's nightmare. When you found your feet (and people gave the DJ box a wide berth), you were up and running with hyper-kinetic corkers like James Lawson’s ‘Energise’ and we welcomed your renaissance.
Up next: Mattie C. Well this was a different formula from his usual. First half started on the really soft trancey side, more like what you would hear at somewhere like Gatecrasher, and I think more suited to a big room that this music can really resonate in. Second half and suddenly he (and us) just roared into life. Talk about an awakening. Feeling a little experimental, were we? Whatever happens, Mattie really knows how to invigorate a crowd and you could certainly never accuse him of being bland.
Last one for me: L.K. Keeping the tempo up and keeping us all awake, that's what we want! Nothing wishy-washy happening here. Sorry that I only stayed for the first half, promise I will stick it out until the end for you next time.
Lastly: DJ SP. I owe you one mate.

The first night had the obvious teething problems: a couple of wanky door staff members (who were gladly given the push the next day), needles jumping (springy floorboards or an overboisterous crowd?), one too many lager louts, (this was a more of a problem downstairs in Smile and less of an issue upstairs at Swamp), and I don't think that the monitor that the DJ's had to work with was brilliant. You have to take into account that Smile only had just a couple of weeks to find a new venue after being kicked out of the Viaduct, and they only picked Bagleys on the Monday before, so for such short notice, they were bound to have a few niggles that needed ironing out.

On the plus side, they are not using the big rooms where Freedom used to reside, and therefore keeping the intimate house party atmosphere alive, and they still have those little touches that we love like the bubble machine. I like this new venue more than the Viaduct and Smile must be kicking themselves that they didn't move here sooner. Obviously you get entry into Smile as well for your money where the likes of Skol and Billy Bunter play so that's a bonus. Overall, the feedback that I got on the night was that everyone really enjoyed the music and most of the crowd were friendly go-harders. Thumbs up

Swamp have 2 monthly parties: one at Club 414 and one at their new home in the Bagleys complex. Ignore Bagleys' bad reputation, the Smile promoters that Swamp share the appropriately called bunker with, are planning to bring their friendly staff from the Viaduct with them, so despite the initial teething problems of the current door staff, expect this to be a temporary problem. The Viaduct door staff, managed by the very friendly Nick, are the only bouncers in London that I have ever encountered that don't have god complexes, (why club owners and managers allow bouncers to treat their clubs like their own little kingdoms has always puzzled me) so lets hope that Smile successfully manage to get the whole team down there. Soon.

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Other Features By Tanya Daly:
Interview with Tomcraft
My dog's a DJ - The John Askew Interview
Heat:Evolution - Review
Euphoria@Heaven - Review
Future @ Ministry of Sound - Review
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: ~deleted1390 on 2nd Apr 2003 14:15.07
Thumbs up

From: fenian1 on 4th Apr 2003 17:22.33
QUOTE: Greg Cosford. This is one of my fave up-and-comers

Ohhh dear Tanya - a bit of bias there - No? Surely NOT!

From: Seb on 4th Apr 2003 19:18.23
Swamp Rocked Thumbs up
I had never been to Bagley's cos I thought it was a Pickey Head quarter, but the Swamp Room definately had the friendliest crowd, and Tunes to get you dancing til you drop dead!

Congratulation to you guys and may the party go on and on and on.........................

Love Mmmwwah!


From: Q on 4th Apr 2003 20:52.34
QUOTE: Greg Cosford. This is one of my fave UP-and-COMERS

Read between the lines - duh!

From: DJ Widow on 5th Apr 2003 14:00.42
best of luck to the Swamp lads - will be joining you soon!!

From: phil lankester on 7th Apr 2003 03:13.29
I would of loved being there I'm sure, It's good to see that Mattie, LK, SP, and Little Man are keeping things running nicely while I'm travelling! When I return, I hopfully will be getting into the swing of things!!! Great review, keep up the good work!!!

Mad Phil (Near a beach in Australia)

From: pink kitty on 7th Apr 2003 19:22.36
Mattie, bland? Laughs out loud You're right, NO WAY!!

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