After a truly spellbinding year for Peter O'Grady in 2012, the man better known as Joy Orbison was always likely to push himself in new directions come 2013. Cue Just For You, a collaborative project between Hinge Finger (O'Grady's label with Will Bankhead) and promoters Black Atlantic, bringing four events to East London's Oval Space. The first of these parties brought together a diverse cast of artists, from the dark soundscapes of Raime to the more upbeat sounds of Mr. Saturday Night, plus Ben UFO and Joy Orbison himself.
The venue itself, which has fallen victim to its fair share of criticism since it opened its doors, is arguably in the best shape its ever been, with plenty of space to move and dance. Due in part to an overly stringent door-policy, I unfortunately missed Raime's opening set, arriving just as Mister Saturday Night found their groove. It was the second-to-last stop on the New York duo's European tour, and they wasted little time in getting the crowd moving to their upfront, disco-laced sound.
Joy Orbison followed, oscillating between house and techno with ease. He fired off a two-hour display of some of the biggest tracks out there at the moment, from Levon Vincent's storming "???" to FCL's "It's You," by way of his own edit of Donell Jones classic "U Know What's Up." But as he closed with the usual medley of "Swims," "Ellipsis" and the newer "BRTHDTT," one couldn't help but feel that O'Grady had missed an opportunity. Fun and engaging though his set was, here was a chance for him to show a different side to his musical character, to deliver something unique within the context of his own showcase.
Ben UFO, for example, gets the same crowd reactions as Joy Orbison, but with records nobody knows. He moved from an obscure start into moments of joyous '90s house, before closing with a good hour of top-notch urban jams from yesteryear. Pulse-X edits met with more garage-flavored tracks, all signed off with a foray into deepest, darkest jungle. With Cassy set to feature at some point in the series, it will be interesting to see if Joy O deviates from his entertaining, if slightly tired, course.