Squelcher VS Guilt — The Beach Party review
Reported by Less is Bat
Submitted 26-08-05 12:47
It’s 2005 now and the days of the raves in warehouses decked out to the 9s with home made decorations and promoters who pour their blood sweat and tears into their events are gone. Right? They are days we look back on with a gulp in our throats and a welling up of nostalgic emotions thinking of those hands in the air… when everyone was your friend for that one night… a feeling never to be relived. Right? WRONG!
Squelcher VS Guilt is a party that throws you back into somewhere early 90s-esq where you feel part of a happening or as if you have stumbled into a secret birthday party where everybody knows your name. The overwhelming factor that stands out a mile about this event is the effort the promoters put in to make sure they throw a real ‘party’, just for you. Take away the lights, the music and the venue and I’m sure that the men behind the event, N-Slay, Loki and DJ D4RK, would still be dancing just as hard and rallying you to join them and have the night of your life.
I arrived at 10:45, 45 minutes after club opening. I would have thought I would have been one of the first 10 or so to arrive and yet there were already a good few people, roughly 30, spread across all three rooms (the chill out area which then led on to Squelcher’s main room and then on again through to the Guilt room).
The first aspect of the event, and by far the most mind blowing and individual, was the décor. The event itself was themed around a beach party. The décor had been designed with this in mind down to the smallest detail. Upon entering the event we were all given free flower garlands to wear around our necks. There were inflatable beach balls, cloud-like inflatables hanging from the ceilings along with squelcher logos on large disks spinning above our heads, mirror balls, ‘sand dune’ carpet cuttings around the DJ booth and bamboo fencing along the DJ set ups. There were even hammocks at the side of the guilt room for tired bodies to retire to for a siesta in the UV sun! Such a thoughtful set up was an instant reflection of how hard the promotions team had worked to set up the night. You almost felt you owed them a dance-filled night of sturdy appreciation for their efforts!
The lighting really does deserve its own paragraph. What can I say? The lighting set up in the main Squelcher room was by far the best I’ve seen. It rivalled that of large events on special NYE style nights! With green lasers reflecting off mirror balls placed around the room, the audience stood and looked up in awe of the shards of emerald green in perfectly timed and executed light shows. The lighting team remained at the controls throughout the night and put a great deal of effort into making the main room come alive with a unique multicoloured display.
It took a while for the audience to settle into the concept that they were in a club not an art and light show. There was some violent beachball championship-style games in all three rooms and this seemed to dominate the action until about 11.30. By this time there were around 100 people spread across all three rooms. I was surprised at this as with many events people tend to hover together in one room until a group is brave enough to break the dancefloor stillness. This wasn’t the case at this event though and right from the word go the crowd was really relaxed and making the most of the space and scenery provided for them.
There was a little bleeding in sound between rooms from Squelcher to Guilt but this really was minimal and overall the sound systems in both rooms were excellent. There seemed to be some problems with the deck setup early on in the Guilt room but this didn’t stop the Djs from playing great sets to an appreciative crowd.
The main room was hard and almost industrial sounding all night. It started at a belting pace and didn’t seem to slow at all. I was nervous about the contrast in style between the two rooms as the Guilt room was also fairly hard early on and I wasn’t sure if the crowd could take the pace without a room to escape the harder beats. However both rooms held a fair balance of crowd attention all night and the Guilt room toned down a little and became more funky and breaksy later on, which I felt was more appropriate.
By 12 the party was in full swing and the crowd were dancing on the platforms and letting go. I was again so impressed with the turn out which had picked up to at least 160. There was a great mix of familiar London club scene faces, regular Squelcher VS Guilt clubbers and those who had just come for the ride and heard good things, There was no bias with the type of people present and the crowd was really mixed and extremely relaxed and friendly. I witnessed no fights, tears or traumas all night and there was a feeling of “all for one and one more for the road”.
LAK:UK had a small team of dancers at this event. Although I have a lot of respect for their dance teams (and I also understand that several members of the usual dance group were ill), I really felt that they weren’t needed at this event and their display was a bit of a let down. They danced for roughly an hour right at the front of the main room and seemed merely to get in peoples way a little. As they didn’t make use of the platforms it was also hard to tell that they were hired dancers and not just rather good dancers hogging the front floor space.
The set of the night for me really has to go to Orpheus Live PA for his live set. The DJ set up was such that he was further back than the decks and this was a little annoying, as I wanted to see more of what he was doing — and doing so well. His style was really euphoric and provided relief from the previous sets which had all been fairly dark and heavy. The crowd loved the Orpheus’s vibe and everyone in the main room was dancing away like mad creatures in the night! Special respect should also go to Orpheus as he had stepped in to fill the gap left by Group 185 who were unable to play on the day due to injury. It’s hard work doing a live PA but to do one so well and with such short notice deserves special mentioning.
By 2am I noted that all of the beach balls had been popped. PHEW! Whilst they were a great idea and provided warm up entertainment, by the time the space had filled up with people it was annoying to constantly have been hit in the head by a ball or hear the needle get knocked or have your drink smacked from your hand by an enthusiastic vollyballer. Whilst these gimmicks are great for the early atmosphere they should not detract from the night and the reason we were all there — the music.
Sadly, for me, the line up was the let down of the night, Whilst I was able to enjoy aspects of all of the sets played, I found it frustrating to hear the same DJs play twice or in some cases play twice in the main room and also sneak in a set in the Guilt room. I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps if some of the money had been taken off the décor budget and been put towards a big namer or 2 medium and new faces to the event, the line up may have attracted more music fans.
I was impressed that the crowd remained dancing until the bitter end. There was no great flagging in the energy levels and people were still dancing when I left at 6am. I feel this was largely due to the fast pace of the music in both rooms. By 5am the music in the Squelcher room was… in short… bonkers. Its furious pace was only rivalled by its track featuring crazy samples (some of which can only be likened to those coming from a chicken factory where the birds had been mistakenly fed MDMA). Although this wasn’t to my taste, a majority of the crowd were loving the blend of hard trance to hardstyle and getting deeper and deeper into the sweat and dance induced trance. Towards the end of the night I by far preferred the music in the Guilt room as it was not so full on and more techy and funky.
I really felt that both rooms were slow to progress and change pace over the course of the night. Whilst I criticised this in my mind early on, by 3am I saw that this method worked incredibly well as it gave people the longer-term energy support they needed to last all night. If there had been a few more variations in style and DJ I would have preferred it, however I am not the majority of the crowd and the majority loved every second of it.
The temperature of the main and second room added to the beach vibe and we could have easily been in Ibiza! I was pleased to see that the Squelcher VS Guilt team had brought in fans for the DJs, however the crowd could have done with a little fan aided help provided by the venue.
The overall experience of the night was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even though I was working, and so were the promotions team, it seemed as though every person in the building let their hair down and partied like it was their very first taste of the rave scene. There really is a vibe of a classic, old school, original and unique event with each night this promotion hosts. I have to give all my respect to the team behind the event whose hard work in planning the event was evident from the moment you stepped foot through the door. My feelings are that if they can remain unique and true to their format of themed, free spirited raves, then they are on to a winner. Defiantly a night to check out if you feel tired of the more commercial dance music events and want to get back to the sweat and smiles of your early days in the club environment.
All photos courtesy of Jess the Cat.
Further Images from the Night
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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.