Friday witnessed the notorious Club Womb play host to the first in a hat trick of nights by Jeff MIlls as part of his October "Contact Special" residency.
RA arrived at the club early to catch Jeff’'s first 2-hour set and was greeted by a typically sparse main room, typical at least for that time slot! The concept of the "Contact Special" nights resolves around alien sightings and musical abductions and the club was eerily dark as was the music.
Having expected Jeff to rinse it out with something a little livelier and atmospheric to get things going, it was primarily a dark and minimal set that at times gave me the impression he was filling time. To be honest, his early set was as uninspiring as the visuals, which consisted of little more than a trip through the stars - and as was noted by many, not even at warp speed but more like the Millenium Falcon after a bad oil change! And not forgetting the constantly appearance of the words "Contact Special" just in case we had in fact, why we he had come....
But...the best was yet to come!
By half twelve Jeff's set had picked up the pace - the highlight at this point having been a banging remix of LFO by LFO - which gave me a glimmer of hope that the aliens were still on their way and the night was in fact gonna go off. Even though the club's renowned lighting and laser system wasn’t quite rolling yet, the punters had begun flocking in, leaving me to ask myself : Why did the man, who looked every part the techno connoisseur in his black suit and white open collar shirt, have such a low key start?”
Then, as if theatrically rehearsed, local veterans Co-Fusion took to the decks with a rocking acid start to their live set and BOOM, the lasers and visuals fired up, as did the crowd. Finally I was startled out of the early evening slumber with Co-Fusion's set progressing nicely from acid into banging techno. It was the first time I had caught these guys and had been warned it could go either way but they did a sterling job of getting the atmosphere up and their home crowd loved it.
With the lasers going nuts, and a big improvement on the visuals everyone was soon jumping around like loonies and all of a sudden it became clear: this was turning into a top night!
Co-Fusion rocked it out for about an hour before Jeff came back on. I was thrilled to hear him continue on with the thumping theme to jackin, grinding sounds, with some old school classics thrown in for good measure. Down the front in the thick of it - and loving it - like everyone else I was going nuts and responding to the drums enthusiastically.
A quick wander around the venue saw chilled and groovy house playing in the lounge bar, the 2nd floor balcony soaking up the sounds of the main room and the 3rd floor bar rollin out drum 'n' bass. As I stood at the windows, it was great to watch things going off down on the main floor in combination with the system now in full effect. And, apart from some slightly dodgy mixing, which the punters picked up on, it was a source of aural pleasure.
This continued till the end; lot’s of happy, nutty people about and fantastic tunes being hammered out by the man everyone had come to see until the lights came on. Like everyone else on the dance floor which had been pumping solidly for the last few hours, I was also reluctant to to have to tear myself away from it at the end and not without, the traditional shout of "One more, please!".
All in all, a great night. Co-Fusion rocked it and the Jeff Mills I was used to hearing in the 1990s was on full form for a storming second set after the disappointment of the first. If you are in Tokyo on Friday October 21st or 28th I strongly suggest you get to Womb - wicked night and you won'’t regret it. That said the club and DJs should however, encourage people to come a little earlier, or at the very least, reward those who bothered!
Photos of Jeff Mills and Co-Fusion taken by STRO!ROBO
Special thanks to Yuuka Tokomitsu and Kazu Nakazawa @ Womb, Nikki Wright @ IMD and Yoko @ Axis.