On a very cold November evening, Funk D'Void, the intergalactic gigolo of Soma records, swung into town in a bid to warm-up the freezing people of Limerick courtesy of the Vinyl boys. Shane and Marc @Vinyl have already given Limerick some quality music this year by bringing American legends such as Larry Heard, Kevin Saunderson and Theo Parrish to a city with a thirst for electronic sounds.
Mr. Lars Sandberg, a Glaswegian who relocated to Barcelona some years ago, indeed drew on some of his early influences from the above mentioned luminaries and was one of the first alongside Slam in Glasgow to be bitten by the acid house bug. Since then he has never looked back with his own impressive production excursions, a slew of remixes not to mention a DJ career to match.
Limerick's music bods were particularly eager to see Sandberg back in town again; his last appearance in Costelloe's leading to tales of a night where many dancers defied the laws of gravity!
A warm-up set from Limerick's Nigel Hennigar got us in motion with a deep electro-house sound as shivering people coming in from the cold got an indication of what to expect later on.
Moody, off-kilter basslines filled the room and despite an early, minor, mixing hitch, Nigel pushed the boat out with great tracks, giving the faithful something to whet their appetite.
The utterances of "Don't stop", "Let's work it" from Blake Baxter's "Freaky" with its dark groove ushered listeners on to the floor as that old-skool Detroit rhythm shuddered and clattered, causing the venue's small crowd to multiply.
Atmospheric groovers with brooding basslines and vocals whispering "the taste of your tears", recalled bittersweet memories of lost love. The theme of forlorn emotion was personified when Nigel dropped the Icelandic mix of Nathan Fake's "The Sky was Pink", sending soaring, beautiful yet agonising melodies over the crowd's heads. Images of barren, polar extremes were conjured up as this spiraling epic plucked at the heart strings and its elasticated rhythm shook us all.
Nigel's set had almost come to an end but not before giving us some fine electro-funk and stabbing synths as the fresh sounds of Gabriel Ananda were fed into the mix. As his last track played out, the general consensus inside the venue seemed to be that we had heard a very respectable set from someone with good taste in music.
Funk D'Void took over the helm just after midnight and as soon as his first track rumbled out of the speakers, the head-nodding society quickly made their prescence felt as crackling, distorted, dark-electro drums let us know what we were in for.
Within a short time span, the morphing twisting techno began showing its teeth, momentarily scaring the listener as Funk D'Void -- using a laptop along with Final Scratch and Ableton -- quickly got into his stride while bopping around on stage. Giorgio Moroder-styled bass got the crowd whooping as he wove a tapestry of funk that left the crowd reeling in his wake.
More electro and Italo-house blended with spacey synths showed total disregard for the conventional house/techno set as he glided effortlessly between genres to give a seamless mix where others might just ruthlessly mash it up. The aesthetics of 80's synth-pop clashed with a kind of Eric Prydz take on Saturday night feel-good house. Moog and Rhodes synths were elements of tracks giving a cosmic collision of space and funk that were dropped in a carpet bombing tactic to literally blow the dancefloor up!
By 1 o' clock the frenzied, sweating masses had been well and truly cremated as Sandberg proved he was taking no prisoners and anyone who could wiggle any part of their body were given the soundtrack to their weekend. At one point, tracks with a car-ignition noise collided with a bass that sounded like Mr.Oizo taking a severe beating from a gang of thugs. It was a set as fresh as the proverbial mother's milk, occasionally using snippets or looped sections of music which had everyone scratching their head!
A track resembling Tiefschwarz's 'Body Dub' got a look in as filter sweeps and effects bended the sound like a Yuri Geller spoon-trick before a KMS production gave a euphoric rush to the head. Then we were given something rather special, an unreleased remix (apparently by a French producer) of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" givingfurther props to 80's synth-electro pop as Lars showed some of his roots. The track slowed the tempo down giving the effect of being played at the wrong speed and making the crowd appear as if they were dancing too fast due to the spell they were under.
Dreamy, proggy numbers from the likes of Alexander Kowalski, were used sedating the floor a little before analogue, Detroit techno brewed up a storm again as the gnarly, gritty structure of the music brought the ambience to a pulsing, electric crescendo. In a little party-piece, a track died out and the Scot thanked the crowd and ran off stage before bounding back on when the music kicked back in a moment later. Trentemoller's "Physical Fraction" and later Cirez D's "Knockout" found favour alongside tracks from Codebreaker and Moby's "Dream About Me"; the intergalatic ambassador of spacefunk almost drove the club over a cliff -- but in the nicest way possible -- as he provided instantaneous gratification on a musical level.
The music in Sandberg's set ranged from Italo boogie-house to electro via tech house and Detroit techno. Call it what you want as it was the way he blended it all together that made it such an experience. His dedication to the funk-factor allowed it to become accessible to everyone and his devil-may-care attitude brought a fun element to music which has been accused of being stagnant or in decline by the so-called "experts" in the music industry. For me I would have to rank this man's performance as being up there with Laurent Garnier and Chris Liebing for the 'DJ-set of the year' thus far in this country.
Funk D'Void concluded with a tongue-in-cheek bootleg of Beyonce as everyone got down and dirty and indeed by this point the new hair-do's among the dancers were ...well..."restyled" and make-up ran down the sides of faces as it was time to let it all hang out! You could tell the crowd were pleased and while they may have begged for one more, on the inside I think they were saying "Please let us go home we're exhausted!" .
Tonight, a truly non-conformist innovative take on the music from a very entertaining DJ had prevailed. As the crowd left Dolan's, many were heard commenting that it was one of the best nights out in recent memory and definitely not devoid of funk!
Special thanks to Shane at Club Vinyl and all the staff at Dolan's.