There’s a lot of terrible back to backs going on in the world at the moment. Donald Trump tweeting back to back with Katie Hopkins. The Conservatives winning back to back elections. Me; and my face, after having done back to back raves on Friday and Saturday night.
So thank god there’s still some great back to backs out there for the world to enjoy, and to see one in action you had to look no further than Glenn Astro and Max Graef at the Ninja Tune showcase Clock Strikes 13 night last Saturday.
Featuring a line-up with other soulful house and funk spinners like Romare and Josey Rebelle, the signs were promising from the off. There was a slight hitch last minute though as HNNY had to pull out, but as Seven Davis Jr swiftly replaced him there was not really much to be sad about.
Stepping into the heat of Corsica Studios is one of those great moments in life because nine times out of ten you know it’s going to be a sweaty vibe-a-thon. And as soon as I came into room two to hear some of the jazzy sounds being spun by Graef and Astro, I knew it would be the same. I felt it in my water (more on that anon).
At first there were a few teething problems with the system but that was quickly rectified and soon the guys were rattling through such a wide range of tracks it was impossible not to kept interested.
From the emotional grooves of Liem – If Only:
To the powerhouse disco classic of Loleatta Holloway:
The set never got the chance to fall into any kind of monotony, which over a four-hour time span is pretty fucking impressive. My favourite bit of their set had to be when they dropped this absolute banger from LV:
Which had the whole crowd bouncing and the pair grinning from ear to ear, and I think it was at this point that maybe the force of the bass basically caused a leak in the roof next to the decks and water began pouring out into the crowd. Yes, Max Graef and Glenn Astro were so good they literally made it rain.
Over in room one there was the sounds of Romare, playing a more consistent selection of house grooves and tribal beats. The system in room one is pretty much as close as you can get to perfect for his kind of sound and it worked a treat, at least in as much as I could tell from the fact that it was absolutely crammed in there whenever I popped in.
With the water leak soon fixed over in room two again, the Glenn and Max played out their set and left the crowd, as with any good time, wanting more. But luckily there was more, as moving over into room one again there was Seven Davis Jr just beginning his set, which he kicked off in style with the ice cold classic that is Inspector Norse.
It was a strange thing seeing Seven Davis perform a straight DJ set because I’d only really seen him live before, and I have to say I’m not sure which one I prefer, and that’s only because both are so good. When he plays live he is focusing a lot of his energy on singing and most if not all of the tunes are his own edits, but when he’s doing a DJ he has such a strong collection of funky techno and deep house that it’s hard to choose between the two. Either way, the room remained absolutely packed right until the end of night, so he was obviously doing something right.
So a strong showing from the Ninja Tune and Clock Strikes 13 guys. It looks like Ninja Tune are going from strength to strength as a label with all of the great talent they have coming out on there at the moment, and great nights like these just only help reinforce that build in momentum.
Photo by Fabrice Bourgelle