Two men loosely dressed as sea captains are dancing round a pair of CDJs to Phil Collins' "Sussudio." On the other side of the DJ booth, perched on the side of Bristol's little-used Feeder Canal, an assortment of happy freaks are jumping about like epileptic loons. What is usually a laidback smoking terrace has been turned into an all night "yacht rock" rave-up.
Welcome to Motion, the nearest thing Bristol has to a superclub. Skate and BMX park by day, multi-roomed warehouse venue by night. This evening, there is no dubstep or drum & bass to be found; just the sharpest tech-house, techno, disco, deep house and unashamed party bangers. The city's more house-inclined clubbers—complete with glitter make-up and stripy jumpers—are here to celebrate the combined birthdays of two of Bristol's most important clubs of recent times: Just Jack and Futureboogie.
Photo credit: Matt Anniss
Both nights have done much to turn Bristol on to musical styles far more popular elsewhere around the world. Just Jack began life as the city's first "proper" tech-house and techno afterhours three years ago. Since then, they've expanded to become one of the South West's most popular house and techno nights, with their residents guesting at the likes of Back To Basics and Birmingham's vast Rainbow Warehouse. Tonight, they're doing what they do best in Motion's dark, smoky "Tunnel" room. The dance floor throbs and pulses to a hypnotic mix of cutting edge house and techno, the massed congregation of Just jack regulars jacking their bodies seemingly as one. By the time resident Tom Bacon makes way for Tiefschwarz, the dancefloor is buzzing. It's a groove thing.
The Futureboogie crew, meanwhile, are having a ball in the smaller "Cave" room, the dark décor and flickering purple and green lights perfectly complementing their mix of past, present and future gems. Their Seen and Futureboogie parties have been turning Bristolians on to forward-thinking left-of-centre dance music for seven years, and tonight they're in their element. Whereas once their hedonistic soundtrack of choice would have taken in future soul, broken beat and nu-jazz from the likes of Jazzanova and Domu, recently they've been embracing disco, nu-disco and house.
Photo credit: Simon Knockton
Tonight, they've brought Norwegian disco daddy Todd Terje along for the ride, the first time the acclaimed edit freak has played in the city. Terje is typically on fine form, working a room full of friendly faces with a sublime mixture of dubby disco, trippy funk, vintage house and dancefloor Balearica. When he drops his own edit of Chic's "I Want Your Love," the room erupts in a sea of raised arms and mile-wide grins. Residents Joe 90, El Harvo, Christophe and Steve Bongo are loving every minute, mingling with the crowd and hyping up their illustrious guest. As birthdays go, it's memorable, to say the least.
Meanwhile outside, the Sea Captains—or local DJs Jambo and Lukas, to give them their full titles—have moved from yacht rock to disco, jumping around with boundless energy in time with the massed ranks of cheering ravers. Welcome to Motion… you may never leave.