Review: Ten Years Of Substance W/ Dj Stingray, John Heckle And Remodulate

Art & Culture

Substance started out ten years ago bringing top quality house and techno to Edinburgh. The party celebrated its 10th birthday last Friday, with DJ Stingray, Head Front Panel and Remodulate live. Adam and Gav Richardson have built the party into one the most respected underground music nights north of the border, regularly bringing along the scene’s top selectors – as well as unleashing the sonic weaponry of residents Dommm, Gav and Velocity Funk.

The tenth anniversary certainly lived up to its reputation. It was pleasantly enticing entering a relatively busy club straight from the off rather than the awkward emptiness you encounter at the start of most nights. The bar was busy and Domm was rattling out impeccable techno, a small crowd moving furiously to murderous beats. Although you could tell a lot of people were simply there for a Friday night (and there’s nothing wrong with that) you also got the feeling that the majority were appreciating the high-quality underground music on offer. 

The tunes were nothing short of spectacular all evening; Head Front Panel and Remodulate both performed live, keeping the main club shoulder to shoulder with booming sonic interpretations. Heckle worked his machines into giving out deeply twisted four-four patterns, the soundsystem holding fast while the Liverpool native put everyone through their paces. Stingray also kept everyone tightly jammed together, ubiquitous mask in place, firing off cutting-edge Detroit electro with weighty sub-bass hammering the crowd into malfunctioning black shapes. Heckle also featured as a secret guest playing italo upstairs, a style of music that lies close to my heart but was left lacking by the feeble soundsystem installed in the second room. 

And this wasn't the only issue; upstairs was at times very quiet and at certain points completely empty. The space looked good, entering from a winding, stone staircase and opening into a decked dancefloor with a small, unused bar in the corner and another set of stairs at the opposite end. However the whole space felt like an unnecessary addition, the line-up and sound just couldn't match up to the proceedings downstairs which left the room feeling like a gammy-legged wee brother that’s constantly struggling to keep up.

Outside was amazing, wooden benches full of twisted faces rolling into each other. Whoever said you couldn’t get swedgers in Edinburgh was clearly dreaming as these guys were having the time of their lives, myself included. The security were more than happy to accommodate people having a good time, as long as you weren’t fighting or causing trouble and remained respectful you had free reign to get bendy. 

So in terms of underground music with a great crowd and a quality club, Substance hits the mark. The team have an impeccable attention to sound and surroundings, as well as an amazing selection of DJ’s with a loyal following. Whether it’s a series of international names delivering top-notch house and techno, or the residents holding it down all night, you’re guaranteed an incredible selection. 


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