Take a decade-spanning mainstay of the international prog and tech house circuit like Danny Howells. Put him on to celebrate the fourth birthday of a small but established techno party in a 300 capacity room. Then sell tickets for £5. Hats off to Micron for the altruistic approach to putting on a night, and for staying clear of the "book more DJs than we have time to put on" ethic. Deservedly, what happened as a result of the above equation was a fine display of one crowd having complete faith in one DJ, all night long. And that DJ rewarded this loyalty by giving everyone a bad case of next track addiction.
Howells' Dig Deeper sets are known for their epic variety, sometimes spanning 12 hours or so. Here, this was cut down to a still awe-inspiring, morning-after-neck-aching six. With such a "short" amount of time available, his soundtrack took little time to set a pace, and by midnight it was clear things were going to be less about genre-spanning, and more about genre-defining. The tunes on offer this night were of the solid, dance floor focused four-four variety; sounds as Bedrock eerie as they are Sex On Wax sultry. Shades of Global Underground were still clearly audible, although here the focus on intimate, grinding rhythms as opposed to arena-filling atmospheres created a compelling, universally danceable soundtrack.
Chunky grooves followed deep bass rollers. When the mind seemed ready to wander elsewhere, a vocal stab or hook snapped in and guide you back. It was understandable, then, why so many fists were punching the hot air above the dance floor. And the amount of near collisions between jacking foreheads, blunt surfaces and flailing limbs was notable. After the smoke cleared, we left bruised and worn. Outside things were cold, clothes damp, legs tired. The biggest challenge of all, though, was the prospect of making an independent decision, now that the sweet and sleazy marching orders had finally finished being delivered for the evening.