Some say New Year's Eve can be an anticlimax. That may be, but it undoubtedly has a unique feel. Because for the biggest night in the 'aving it calendar, everyone's in a great mood. They're determined to have a good time. This is why I, personally, love going out at New Year. We've had a few things in London in 2012 that have brought us together, and in my experience, NYE tends to do the same. Border Community's wistful melodic techno in the main room of the Hydra's NYE event promised to match this nicely.
Although the music wasn't the most forward-thinking, it was definitely solid. Generally, people delivered as expected. Luke Abbott played tracks from Holkham Drones, his live set full of arpeggios and grainy melodies. His tunes are well suited to the armchair, but on the dance floor there were powerful drums behind them. Mark E played faster than you might expect, with edit-y house, occasional R&B inflections and an overall poppy feel.
Earlier, James Holden played some clearly hewn melodic techno, with bold hooks that were driven by defined, individual hi-hat and snare hits. Ivan Smagghe finished up with a confidence that suggested years of experience. He locked down the room with tracks of a driving, unshakable persuasion that started more in the region of tech house but were, again, melodic and compositional. Monty Luke's "Tomorrow" was dropped, and Tale Of Us' "Fresh Water" near enough stripped the wallpaper.
The event felt halfway between a club night and a house party, something that had a lot to do with the venue. Peckham Palais has carpeted floors and medium-sized, irregularly shaped rooms. There were cloakroom queues a lot of the time, one of the male toilets was firmly unmentionable, and it was also pretty crowded. However, at this stage it's probably also common sense to say that if you're going to a night in a converted space, you're just not going to get the same level of service as in a purpose-built club. In any case, the sound systems were ace, the bars weren't much hassle, the surroundings were cosy and the music was great.
As clubbing on the 31st is often associated with anti-climaxes and short-term hyper-inflation, so the 1st has begun to usurp its position as the definitive night for celebrating the new year. The advent of Peckham, one of London's most historically infamous boroughs, as the capital's newest clubbing hotspot helped define 2012, and the likes of Electric Minds ensured this continued into 2013. Housed within the shabby, ex-department store chic of Peckham Palais, and boasting a line-up that would have made most NYE promoters blush, everything was in place for a proper party.
It's not often that one arrives at an event mere minutes after it's opened, but then it's not often that Levon Vincent is first on the bill (booked to close Warehouse Project in the early hours of the following morning, the New York jock had requested an early slot). This did not, however, detract from his performance. Laying down a typically tough selection of groove-orientated tracks, Vincent made sure to keep things tense without ever truly letting go. Herbert's "Take Me Back" and his own "Late Night Jam" were scattered examples of real dance floor fervour, but these were kept few and far between.
Come midnight a little investigative wander outside of the main room was in order. I hoped to catch D-Bridge under his new 4/4-inspired moniker, Velvit, in room through, but found instead a fully-lit room and no sign of him. A quick glance at room two gave off waves of intense, Dusky-induced madness and so I returned to the trusted confines of room one, intrigued to see what Mosca would bring to the table.
The former Radio 1 DJ turned out the surprise set of the evening, steering clear of his garage-inspired roots and sticking to a rich palette of deep, tribal house, with smatterings of African and Middle Eastern rhythms. As the business end of the night approached, typically hard choices were presented. Shed vs Move D? Eight hours into a NYD party, there could only be one winner. As ever, David Moufang pulled out all the stops. Timeless cuts from Dennis Ferrer and Kerri Chandler oozed seamlessly into one another, set stylishly against modern interpretations courtesy of Bicep and their "Vision of Love." Going a good half-hour over his allotted time, Move D put an end to things in truly emphatic fashion, drawing on St Germain classic "Thank U Mum (4 Everything You Did)" in its full, twelve minute glory, giving everyone present what was undoubtedly the best moment of 2013 so far.