Review: Zoology - The Summer Trance Party (01/08/03)
Reported by Pearsall
Submitted 05-08-03 12:08
I wasn’t going to bother going. I was tired, I couldn’t be arsed listening to trance. I’d been out more than usual recently, so was just going to knock this on the head even though I’d said that I’d come down and do the review. But then I found myself sitting in front of the tv at 1 am wearing a football shirt and sweatpants watching the truly appalling film The Skulls on tv and thought to myself, “Christ, Pearsall, this is truly pathetic…you have to go out!” So a quick shower and change later I was headed south in a mini-cab to glamorous Club 414 in sunny Brixton for my very first Zoology. And it certainly was the right decision to make in the end.
Everyone, I’m sure, has crossed the threshold of the 414 at some point, so there’s no real point in describing it. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the crucial role it’s played in our scene as a breeding ground for new talent and new nights. Upon arrival I was quite pleased to note that there was a good-sized crowd already, quite a feat on a night when Antiworld were packing thousands into seOne and Oblivion were holding their first birthday party just up the road. This was the special one-off ‘Summer Trance Party’ which, well, to be honest, had me a bit worried. Those who know me will know that my musical taste is much more on the darker side of things than on euphoric/uplifting stuff. But you always have to give things a go, check out different vibes, see if you like it/don't like it, because there's nothing more boring than doing the same thing all the time.
Due to my indecisiveness I had missed the sets by Danny Luu and Latex Zebra (maybe not a bad thing hehe ), so when I arrived Rich le chat rouge was in full flow. It was more uplifting that previous sets I’d heard from him, but it wasn't a bad thing at all as he worked through a really good range of stuff, mixing it up between dark and light Germanic-flavoured tunes. It's a shame that I missed the first two sets because, as Latex Zebra had explained when he posted the setlists, there was a very definite plan for the way the night developed, and arriving right as the night was fully engaged meant that I missed out on the buildup and didn't get a sense of the true ebb and flow of the night. Having just arrived I chatted with G-Whizz from Redtrip and his lovely girlfriend Zoe, as well as assorted others. Always nice to meet up with people and be social, especially because these days I am a lot more low-key in clubs, have a beer or two, so I can actually communicate (not like when I was 16-18, when I usually couldn’t speak in whole sentences within an hour of arrival! ). Redcat was playing some very cool stuff, including a quite funny bootleg of some 80’s tune (don’t remember what it was). The mixing was quality (especially for a man having a birthday!). The venue was really well decorated with UV banners…it’s always nice when people make the effort to smarten up places that are a bit dingy like the 414. Even though numbers were a bit lower than at some of their recent parties the dancefloor was still busy and that great intangible of the club scene ‘vibe’ was well in evidence. Unfortunately, the 414 soundsytem did the music a bit of a disservice. Too much high-end and not enough bass means that sometimes the music sounds a bit tinny and lacking in punch. But that's a minor quibble, as at least it was reasonably clear.
After RedCat was Pandora S-K for an hour and a half of uplifting Euro trance. To be honest, I can’t really give much of an objective opinion, as I am not much of a fan of the really uplifting Euro stuff. I love driving dirty trance but the more fluffy end of the spectrum leaves me a bit cold. I can’t get into it at all, so it’s not really fair for me to try to do much of an analysis of it as a set beyond “didn’t really like it, but she’s talented at what she does”…I’m sure there are plenty of people who would hear me play techno and have exactly the same reaction. This is nothing against her, as the mixing was tight and lots of people seemed to be really enjoying it. Just that it was not really for me. But then again, one man’s stilton is another man’s steak dinner. Or something.
Finishing the night off was B.S.E.’s psy-trance set, which was for me the towering highlight of the event. Skipping away from big euphoric synths into much darker and dirtier territory it was enormous fun, and really, er, turned my crank. Psy-trance is a strange scene; massive in the mid-90’s it went into a long, long, long fallow patch in this country as many of the parties shut down, many of the labels went to the wall, and interest in general collapsed. Yet over the last year or so it has started a major resurgence (look at the success of parties like Antiworld’s Psygate) as many people who joined the underground hard dance scene after the first big boom start looking further afield than the UK hard house/hard trance sound that has been so dominant in London clubs for the past four or five years.
B.S.E.’s set was a perfect example of how much more open-minded people have become. Maybe a year or two ago in an event that had advertised itself as being mostly trance a dj playing such twisted stuff would have cleared the floor. If anything the dancefloor became busier as the set went on, full of people throwing mutant shapes. What is so fun about psy-trance is that it is not nearly as formulaic in structure as a lot of other stuff. Breakdowns happen at weird places, bizarre sounds appear out of nowhere, whole layers evolve and shift throughout tunes, and it can suddenly switch between just trundling along and being really full-on. As something to dance to, this relative unpredictability is a lot of fun. I couldn’t tell you anything about which tunes were played, as I didn’t recognise a single one, but I must say that I really really enjoyed it as a set. Well done big man.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. Certainly better than sitting my ass in front of the tv. Good to hear some different stuff to my normal musical diet (even if I didn't like everything that I heard). The atmosphere was good and friendly, the club was nicely decorated. Can’t fault it at all. Would definitely go again, especially since I had a really good time at this, their most trancey night, so I have an inkling that their dirtier/darker techno-trance nights would be absolute stormers.
Pictures by Pink Kitty (cheers for letting me use them)
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Other Features By Pearsall:
Interview: JP & Jukesy
Pearsall's Guide to Record Shopping in London
Interview: Carbon Based/Finrg Collective (Finland)
Redtrip Corrosive - 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.