In the weeks leading up to the first ever Hot Natured party to be held in London, at Pulse in Blackfriars, there was an air of trepidation among some of my friends, concerned that the first Hot Natured event could fall victim to some of the substantial logistical issues faced at similar events earlier in the Christmas period. Of course, there was no chance that the massive New Year's Day could fail in such a way... It just couldn't happen, right?
So, we made our way to Pulse, a venue once touted as "London's new superclub." In the months since it opened there haven't been many events held there (a grand total of ten, in fact), which is strange as it's a decent enough venue. The main room is huge, it has a slight air of the terrace in Amnesia—with high ceilings and raised levels on either side that people can climb and dance on. This connects onto the smaller bar area that in turn leads to another smaller room housing a sound system and another bar. Plenty of chill out areas were dotted around the club, including a place outside for people who want to cool off.
The huge queue we were met with when we arrived at around 11:30 PM was totally expected and, thankfully, moved along at a reasonable pace. The average age of those in the queue, though, was a little worrying and a sign of things to come—a lot of those waiting to get in couldn't have been more than 18 years of age, and were not what you might call your typically "discerning clubber" (snobby but true). This is symptomatic of the current popularity of Jamie Jones and his crew, which is something that no one can really hope to have any control over, but something that's, sadly, a natural accompaniment to any DJ or artist that's become almost universally popular.
Of course, a crowd does not make the night, though it can have a serious impact on your personal enjoyment regardless of with whom you're spending the night. In fact, some of our gang left early because they couldn't hack being barged by ignorant, unapologetic youngsters any longer. Though there was no trouble from what we saw, the atmosphere was a little "on-edge" and certainly not helped by the large amount of fake-tanned young women and bare-chested, sweaty men.
Besides this slightly difficult to ignore factor, Hot Natured was still a great party. The music, pumped through Pulse's brilliant Void sound system, was impeccable from beginning to end. The production was also fantastic, the venue being laden with trademark Hot Creations palm trees with screens behind the club's bars beaming images straight from the DJ booth and out of this world laser/light shows. Each DJ worked the crowd with panache and impressed with their own, well-crafted if rather short-lived sets. Russ Yallop played an energetic set punctuated by several roars of approval by the 1,000+ ravers in front of him (the biggest hitter of his set was his own edit of Oskar Offermann's "Fluffer"). Robert James was then on typically bouncy form, while Richy Ahmed proved why he's had such a great 2011 by powering through his slot with a varied yet fluid selection.
It was clear who many of the crowd had come to see when Maceo Plex stepped up to the plate. The main room became rammed as Eric Estornel laced the Hot Natured faithful with a funk-laden selection. Art Department carried on raising the temperature, with one of one of the highlights from their set being Kenny Glasgow taking the mic for a live version of "Touch You Gently," perfect for that murky time of the morning when everyone's a little under the influence. Finally, Hot Natured—Jamie Jones and Lee Foss—took everyone through to the close. Early on, a teasing hint of Jacques Renault's remix of "Beam Me Up" by Midnight Magic crept in amongst the disco-tinged house and slightly harder-edged music. Later it was brought back in, almost sewing the whole set together as everyone raised their hands and the familiar "Beam me up, beam me up..." lyrics were sung in unison.
Yes, this was a hugely successful party. The venue was still busy as the show came to an end and the entire organisation was faultless. It's just a shame that Hot Natured's success has attracted a certain type of crowd. But, as I said, it's a symptom of success that is uncontrollable. Let's hope it doesn't contribute to the outfit's downfall.