It's like Origami, but with power tools..... One Awsum Xmas Party reviewed
Reported by SunnyAli
Submitted 21-12-09 19:17
Andy Whitby, darling of the hard dance masses and brand power house has seen his AW branded event go from strength to strength recently and as the AWsum Xmas party rolled into town, SunnyAli made sure there would be nothing stopping her from having an awesome time.
I didn't stop smiling all night at this party – in fact, I didn't stop smiling for days afterwards, and I've still got RR Fierce's Rock Da Spot – far and away the anthem of the night – stuck in my head. The weather may have been atrocious but everyone fitted comfortably into Hidden's billions of nooks and crannies, and a smashing 25 DJ lineup dropped ever-filthier tunes until we were fit to collapse.
London parties have shrunk a lot since Frantic's glory days of high-ceilinged music halls and multicoloured lasers but nights like this prove it still has the old magic. There's still a friendly and like-minded set of people - and hell, clubbing's a lot more reasonably priced now. The nights have got longer now, too – the wimpish 10pm-6am of old has been replaced with the rather more bruising 9pm til 7am schedule, which leaves space-faced clubbers limping home at all sorts of indecent Sunday breakfast-time hours.
Teeny 700-capacity Hidden is also arguably the best-designed of the (many) Vauxhall railway arches venues, and is seriously helped by its fantastic undercover heated smoking area where you can escape for a good British cup of tea and a sit down.
I'm not sure if it was the Christmas spirit getting to people or what, but the night brought out some remarkable transformations in the performers. Take this – on arrival at 11pm-ish we walked into what can only be described as a miraculous sight. After years of knowing and loving Karim for his forbidding appearance and grumpy manner, the man we saw playing in front of us was.... happy. Not even just happy – dancing, with arms in the air and big grin on face, as he thrashed out his trademark insane killer hard house. This was a new man! We were thrilled. He played a great set, including Never Lost His Hardcore, Legend B's Lost in Love and he even gave us a hug at the end. Miracle.
Karim handed over to Cally Gage back to back with Paul Glazby. They weren't looking normal either: they'd opted for a hilarious St Trinians-inspired dress code, decked out in thick-rimmed specs (complete with tape holding them together!) with a white satin bowtie for Glazby and a sensible white shirt for Cally. It's anyone's guess what prompted it but it was a brilliant effect...
Their set was a great collaboration – we'd describe the style as melodic filth, rich and bouncy but still driving hard and they looked to be really enjoying themselves too. There was a lot of love for James Nardi and Julian Dwyer - they played Heartbreaker - and Cally dropped Huggy Bear for her last mix, plus Reflux (Defective Audio, Rodi Style remix).
While all this was going on, Awsum's founder and all-round man-of-the-night Mr Andy Whitby was handling a two-hour set in the main room. The guy is always in supreme control of whatever genre he chooses to mix in: we heard him move smoothly from tech-trancey sounds at the start to solid infectious bounce by about 12:30pm I didn't see much of it, mainly because the room was so full. Not a problem though, as he came over to play on the filth floor with Adam M later.
Lucy Fur, who took over the filth decks at 1:30am, is a firm favourite of ours, not least for playing a whole list of tunes we're dying to own. Dressed in a perfect Mrs Santa outfit with the standard towering heels (“I'm so small I have to wear them,” she wailed when we asked how she could possibly walk), she launched into the set with the amazing vocal intro, ATFC's Bad Habit (“I got a bad, bad, habit baby... baby its you), followed by a stylish rocking high-energy set.
We heard her drop Nuclear Shower (UK Gold, Ilogik remix) and Tom Parr’s Hiphop (such a tune) in there – and could only tear ourselves from her dancefloor for the damn good reason that we had to hear Rob Tissera play in the main room.
Robbie T, universally known as the nicest man in hard dance, was spellbinding as ever – the room was packed to the eyeballs to hear him play. He'd brought in his own additional CDJ for the set, and so worked from three decks at all times to layer samples over tunes. He played his instantly recognisable, eternally popular hard trance; this set was uplifting and euphoric, including classic tracks such as Feel Much Better and We Come One as well as his own anthem The Day Will Come. He threw in some fantastic mashups – like the inspired combination of Euphony's take on Carte Blanche and Feel The Passion – and if it wasn't for the fog and the insane strobe going off, we'd have stayed way longer....
Back in the filth room, Whitby was going back to back with Adam M – an unusual combination, which created a strange effect – both DJs appeared to be trying to play each others' style. Adam is best known for his blazingly hard sets, while Whitby has traditionally pioneered bounce, and so the set veered between the two somewhat. Truthfully, we'd really love to see them get separate sets – maybe AWSum can arrange an extra half an hour so both can play next time?
It was great entertainment nonetheless – plenty of classics, including RR Fierce's Rock Da Spot – first of three times that night!! We also went wild for the unbeatable Miss Shiva – Dreams, Glazby's Kick It, a remix of F1 – Recoil, OD404's Fireball, and the fantastic Shhh Listen (by Jonah) towards the end of the set.
The guys handed over to another lovely lady, DJ Elle, who turned the hard dial up a few notches in her hour from 4am. Elle has made her name through uber-hard releases made with the likes of Riggsy and Lucy Fur, and plays right at the filthiest end of hard house, so the playlist understandably included plenty of Tom Parr: Elle & Tom Parr's Soul Feelin went down a storm, as did the brilliant version of Rhythm of My Life.
The trance lovers among us had by this point bailed for the ships – well, the main room, at least – and luckily for them, Technikal was playing on that side. The prodigy that is Alf Bamford is still only in his early 20s but has done more to keep trance alive in the hard dance sphere than virtually any other producer of late – voted HF's producer of the year for the last three years, and now an expert DJ too.
Technikal's set covered the spectrum of intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful trance – from Jason Cortez's Free your Mind, to what I believe was a version of the incredible Song For You to finish. If you have not heard it yet, do yourself a favour and go listen, it's stunning. Though in between, he did manage to slip into something a little harder – a combo of Rock Da Spot (second airing of the night) and Badass was especially memorable.
Back to the by now extremely filthy filth floor, Shenton was proving possibly the ultimate contrast to Technikal! Famed for packing a terrifying number of kicks into the tracks he produces, he was tearing down the walls with a mighty-hard set of grinding and angry sounds. A force to be reckoned with – I dunno, maybe they just party harder in the midlands than down here in London?
I think the 6-7am set was the one that truly broke us all. Despite my right hip feeling as if it was about to disengage by this point, we carried on for Wayne Smart's finale. It helped that he crashed in with some high speed high energy filth rocket fuel – a mega fast set that included Wayne Smart & Phatt Beats Vs James Nardi – Drop It, once again the brilliant RR Fierce's Rock Da Spot, and finished on the Adam M remix of Tony De Vit's R U All Ready. Wayne was celebrating his birthday on the night, and the club even sang him Happy Birthday as a send off!
So, despite the fact that our legs almost completely fell off, and two of our party managed to scream and shout their way to entirely losing their voices (did anyone else get that?!!!) - it was a spectacular night of unbeatable high quality music – well done Awsum. When's the next one?
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Photos used courtesy of Enjay and Teknoman. Not to be reproduced without permission
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Other Features By SunnyAli:
Darude's whirlwind decade
No sleep for Rachel Auburn
In the Presence of Carl Nicholson
Frantic Timeless 8 – totally worth ruining Valentine's Day for...
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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.