Reincarnated as a performance space from its past life as an East German deep-sea fishing vessel, the MS Stubnitz is a dedicated yet mobile venue for a wide range of events. At a time when parties in London seek out new and interesting locations—often at the expense of basic facilities—it offers a unique combination of pop-up quirkiness and practical design, with all the benefits of a purpose-built venue. Electronic music events onboard the Stubnitz are rare, so the announcement that Electric Minds would be using it for an afterparty during the Easter Weekend was a welcome one indeed.
From the top deck of the boat, the dawn brought with it an impressive view of Canary Wharf, with its towering skyscrapers and carefully landscaped gardens—a stark contrast to the industrial shell hosting the mayhem below. Marcel Fengler set sail hard and fast, weaving crisp techno with sparse melodies underpinned by pulsating bass to a steadily growing, vocal and receptive crowd. Picking out the early risers and the carry-ons wasn't such a difficult task, but the mix of the two made for a great dance floor from the outset. Fengler's two-hour slot raced by, and it was clear that he had plenty more ammunition when it drew to a close. Up next was Electric Minds resident Dolan Bergin, who picked up the baton and pushed forward in a similar vein, maintaining both Fengler's tempo and intensity. As the space continued to fill and Bergin shifted towards a housier, upbeat sound, the hulking metal interiors seemed as suitable a home as they had for the pounding techno before. To round things off, Dark Sky straddled the lines between edgy house and big-room techno, with a bassy, analogue-heavy set that hit the ground running and kept pace throughout. Although their tracks never dug particularly deep, their selections were well-received by the enthusiastic crowd.
The Stubnitz worked extremely well as a club venue. Its top deck was an ideal smoking area, away from the busy dance floors and bars. There was great attention to detail throughout—pipes protruding from the metalwork were fashioned into seats by the bars and metal support columns served also as drinks tables on the dance floor. Almost everything about the venue ran at least as smoothly as most permanent clubs. Both the sound and visuals were excellent. Far from the soullessness of echoey car parks or drafty warehouses, the atmosphere created in the unusual space made for an unforgettable start to the Easter weekend.