Knowwhere WeAre5 reviewed
Reported by Adam Symbiosis
Submitted 11-10-06 19:47
It’s interesting the different sounds, colours and thoughts you experience pre party. Tonight as I made my way to the Knowwhere 5th birthday party, it was a rendition of ‘Under The Boardwalk’ outside the Embankment tube station. Beautifully sung by a female vocalist I decided to listen for a while, but was it a taste of the vocal bliss that was to come down at London’s Heaven?
The last Knowwhere I had been to had been little short of a disaster, with sound bleed from the hardcore room, a terrible choice in music from some of the djs and heat to defeat the hardiest of desert dwellers. Whilst many of the points that were raised on that night were beyond Knowwhere’s direct influence, I was hoping tonight would be different. I was also hoping for a softening of the bouncers’ usual harsh treatment of the clubbers that always made me feel very uncomfortable at other events at Heaven.
Entering the club to a cornucopia of faces I recognised, my initial apprehension began to wear off. If a party could bring this many people out then there must be something right going on and there were already many smiling faces. Reds, whites, blues, greens and purples flooded the main room bathing the clubbers in their warm glow. Up on the stage, sited to the front of the room, AJ Gibson presented some tough, bassy trance punctuated with moments of uplifting clarity setting the scene for K90.
I decided to give the first part of K90 a miss and made my way upstairs to the DisFunktion room and what a decision that was. Steven Wallis dropped Haji & Emanuel’s ‘Take Me Away’, most definitely a track to get the place pumping. I danced for a bit then caught up with the DisFunktion/Menthol promoter who was a bag of energy as always, at least one of the many reasons why she won Best Promoter for 2006 in the Scene-out awards. Pumping was also a word you could use to describe what was happening just downstairs in the hard dance room. Andy McCall was blasting out tunes in the long thin second room like ‘Straight Out Of Clapham’ and ‘Verracocha’ to the bunch of pogoing nutters.
I wandered down to the main room and found myself wedged tightly between K90 and (well after a quick count of hands in the air) about 700 to 1000 people. I toyed with the idea of playing with the many cables laid out in front of me but quickly discounted it and decided to dance with everyone else instead. To be honest it’s been yonks since I saw Mark Doggett and back then it seemed as if he was everywhere playing nearly exactly the same set every time. Of course I understand the problems involved in choosing and playing tracks from a limited catalogue especially if you are playing live, but this time (at least for me) the music was fresh, new and uplifting. That not to say he didn’t include some of his most favourite tracks. When he dropped ‘Chemical Reaction’, the place erupted. To top it all off he finished off with ‘Breathe’, and ‘Liberator’, and the clubber next to me was in raptures, thinking she had died and gone to heaven, the proper one you do realise.
Next up and Adam White introduced himself by asking us, via his first track, ‘Are You An Angel?’ The references to heaven were getting to me but not the music. Kicking off with trance and moving through to some indie based dance, one clubber wandered past and asked me “What is it with trance and indie?” But why not, if it flows and sounds as good as this? The set developed through some toughness and started to lean towards a techno sound with some chunky bass lines. I was really enjoying the music but if I didn’t know better I would have thought they were trying to gas us out with a ridiculous influx of smoke, then another, then another until I couldn’t see full stop let alone my nose. Wrapping up his set by handing out copies of ‘White Room 2005’ to the baying crowd, there were plenty of satisfied people in the main room holding records or not.
It was time for another break and so I found myself back in the DisFunktion room. FunkATronic were having some major problems with their mixing, but the funky vibe was persuasive and the crowd hardly blinked, choosing instead to just have it to the music. I did have a chat with one of the djs about the difficulties of the sound system and was told problems with the monitor set up meant it was extremely difficult to play of course leading to sounds that should only be heard on a race course or maybe a torture chamber. It’s a shame that a club of this stature should provide bad systems but it does seem that some clubs just don’t want to invest in their equipment in the side rooms.
I thought I’d have a quick look at the line ups posted on the wall. As I scanned the 3 pages and decided what to do, I suddenly found a fist next to my face. The fist contained a torch that lighted up the line-ups, even though I could see them perfectly well before. The fist was attached to quite a burly bouncer standing not to far behind me, not too far at all. “Thanks,” I said confused by what had just happened. He was obviously trying to help and I was grateful, but had this been some kind of direction from the management or had they just employed someone genuinely nice (if a little misplaced)? I had talked to someone earlier who had found themselves surprised in the toilets by another twinkled toed bouncer sneaking in to do a check while they were washing their hands. While I’m all for safety and don’t think the bouncers need to announce themselves wherever they go, I’m not sure appearing suddenly over someone’s shoulder is a healthy thing.
Time for a drink but wandering here, there and everywhere trying to find a bottle of Magners was becoming a pain, so I stopped off to find Daniel “Billy” Bunter playing ‘No Good… Start The Dance’ in the hard room. And after that, hard he went, though I suspected it was pretty hard before I got there as well. The dance floor bounced up and down in time with everyone jumping while the air and the rest of the room reverberated around me to the beat of ‘Girls & Boys’. I was glad for my ear plugs.
The main dance floor was rapidly thinning while Paul Kershaw played. Was it the 3am effect as wasted drinkers made their way home or was it his set? I wasn’t quite sure, just like I wasn’t sure how to take his set. As I sat on the side I wondered, was it trance? Maybe it was tech? How about progressive? It certainly featured a lot of breakdowns, to build some atmosphere maybe? To give the set some kind of edge? I thought and thought while the set slowly built up to ‘Seven Days And One Week’, the melody bouncing off the 400–500 people left, then missed the rest of the set chatting and people watching instead as quite frankly I wasn’t impressed.
Anthony Dean injected some much need energy into the room with ‘What Ya Got For Me’ by Signum. His set was just what the doctor ordered and we went crazy to the great tunes like ‘The Earthshaker’. So did everyone else but time was ticking away. After a quick speech by promoter Pablo, letting us know about the next party and introducing some dj (I suspect it was Dave Pearce), it was great to finish on ‘Everyday’ by Agnelli & Nelson and the feeling I had to be joined in song with everyone around me was like an epiphany. Maybe a visit to church is in order, then again maybe not, I’m not sure they’d play anything I liked.
Like I said earlier, on entering the club I was anxious and I had my doubts beforehand, mainly about the venue rather than the party. Tonight went some way to alleviating those thoughts and while I don’t think I’ll ever be fully comfortable at Heaven, it does go to show that if you have the right promotion in there, wonders can happen. Knowwhere have come a long way since they started all those years ago moving every so often around our fair town and even holding some shows overseas. There’s been some ups and downs, but this was one birthday I think people will remember for a long time. I know I will.
Photography courtesy of Crimson - Crazy Fool and James Rae. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Adam Symbiosis:
Godskitchen Xmas Party: Reviewed
The Big Chill: Reviewed
Tiësto at Victoria Park: Reviewed
Lilly Allen: Reviewed
Digital Society May 2009: Reviewed
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.