What a way to start a weekend. The actually quite tragic cancellation of the Houghton festival due to adverse weather had left a lot of people stunned, confused and vulnerable.
A little like Black Thursday in 1929, when famously the stock market crashed on Wall Street, suddenly thousands of Houghton ticket holders with money to burn, high hopes and party supplies were left with nothing. The panic buying of tickets to parties ensued. Promoters and venues must have been emailing like maniacs as soon as the news hit. Officially the news dropped at 9:44. WhatsApp was exploding with friendship groups deciding between alternatives; Boom Town?, houses in the countryside,? going abroad? or staying in London? Parties started flying up on FB and RA within the hour. Events were selling out within minutes, some without even announcing a line up. The RA website was crashing under the demand for tickets. It was a madness. As someone who has been to a variety of parties over a few years I had never seen anything quite like it.
I chose the FOLD party, along with my friends. Cartilus Day bringing Nicolas Lutz, OMAR, Michelle (Live), KINO and Unai Trotti.
As we arrived the queue was pretty mellow. Not a huge wait. Although tbf we arrived around 11:30pm. This was a 12 hour extended party which is synonymous with FOLD, they infamously have a 24 hour licence. This seems to bring a more Berlin-esc experience, with dancers arriving at different times avoiding the general concept of peak time queues at the door. Security was great. Ushering people through in quick succession, friendly and not strong-arming people during searches. After previously chatting to Seb and Lasha (The brains behind the venue) I know that they have been through a few different security teams to make sure that things are safe but the dancers’ experience is always in mind. Clearly they have learnt a lot since being in charge of Shapes, for a long time the shining light of clubbing in Hackney Wick.
As soon as we enter the space people are using the lockers, dropping things off using their own padlocks. It is clear that people are relaxed as soon as they enter, people are chatting and laughing. The red neon and black walls offer a taste of what is through the next door. The club.
The main space is a modern classic and exactly what is needed. A dark rectangle, music at the front, sound stage at the back. The speakers are strategically placed. Subs are at the back and the front of the room. It sounds incredible. One of those systems that you can feel vibrating your clothes when the kick hits, but you can also chat to your pals without shouting. But what makes this room stand out are the extra elements. The shutters to outside are a class touch, unusual in London. The bar is long and one side to the room, so you don’t have much of a wait and you don’t get any through fair on the d floor. It’s been considered and constucted with the dancer in mind.
Michelle is on as we arrive. She is hitting the acid techno and she is doing it live. It’s grinding but also a little sexy at times with some interesting vocal arrangement to create atmosphere. The crowd is ready to dispel the demons of Thursday and is clearly ready to let loose. The energy is rising and she finishes with her own track Virtual Analog that sees hands rise and energy levels with it. She is clapped as she wraps up. People enjoyed it. Now it’s time for Lutz.
Nicholas Lutz as you may know is Uruguayan that has a reputation as a DJ who makes things happen. Even without a Facebook and Instagram presence he has created a following that respect and admire his ability to make a party kick off. His previously cancelled b2b with Craig Richards at Houghton was billed as potentially one of the highlights of the weekend so a lot of people had come down to check out what the hype was about. He built for about three hours. Playing tunes that were minimal at times, with simple pleasures such as snares offering pleasure to the crowd. They were ready to go with him every step of the journey he was crafting. The energy was rising and then around 3:30am he seemed to just blast off into another level of playing that is where he clearly warrants his expectation. Electro wobblers like Steve Bug & DJ T’s Monstorbaze, squelches with mean percussion such as Literon’s Machine 1. Huge progressive wall of noise stuff like Enma’s 4D414E, the kick drum on which blew my mind at the time. This was all punctuated by some bass lines that were bouncy and fun, an example being DJ Linus’s Temper. But the highlight of this period for me personally was Hezziane’s Acid Fux, plain and simple one of the most powerful acid whoppers I have heard in years. The type of tune you can only play after building for hours. This period lasted around 30/45 mins. It made me forget about Houghton for at least for a little while and looking round the room so did everyone else.
The last hour was used to take everyone down. Get us ready for the taxi and whatever came next. Everyone seemed content on the way out. Some of the ghosts of the last few days uncertainty dispelled. Defs catch Lutz at least once in your life. Defs go to FOLD as soon as you can.