We're spoilt, the denizens of the UK's capital, and as such, can spend a lot of time complaining, especially in the rarefied world of London clubbing. "Too crowded, too empty. Too big, too small. Too hip, too cool." You get the idea. Sometimes it's necessary, sure, but sometimes it's good not to whinge. Instead, it's best to go with an open mind, looking at a phenomenal lineup, albeit in a challenging space, and for once, just once, hope for the best.
Sometimes when you hope for the best, the best arrives. Granted, The Red Gallery in London's Shoreditch isn't the premier club-de-jour that some wish it was. Granted, it isn't Berghain, But you know what? It never will be, or was ever meant to be. It is what it is, which is a space in a building earmarked for demolition—to eventually be replaced with a boutique hotel.
Photo credit: Tasmin Isaacs
In the past, The Red Gallery's sound has been known to be bad. Its concrete, bunker-esque basement isn't the perfect acoustic environment. Warm/Electric Minds, the promoters behind the event took the condition as found, turned it on its head and presented a night of impeccable techno and house. Black acoustic drapes lined the walls, and the basement's reconfigured layout provided a set-up that was as pitch-perfect as you could wish for. The boosted Function-One system was crisp, clean and packed a mighty punch, allowing Fiedel to play a four-hour plus set that took advantage of all available sonic frequencies, dropping classic after classic, surging from Lemon8's "Model8" to Jez Varley's "Quo Vidas" via Adam Beyer's "Swedish Silver"—all of which were lapped up by an appreciative and educated crowd.
Ben Klock came on at around 2:30 AM with a swelling, piercing-alarm tracked intro that led into a spectacularly controlled master class in mixing, rhythm, pace and flow that clearly held the rapt attention of clubbers from start to finish. It was good. Extremely good. And it demonstrated the effortless groove that Klock somehow imbues even the most austere techno with: sexy, seductive and physically completely addictive. It was hard to pull away from the dance floor, but, when I did, and ventured upstairs for a glimpse at the work of Ostgut boss Nick Hoppner and Prosumer, I was greeted by a scene of sweaty, happy people in a brighter environment than downstairs. I didn't stay there for long, but many did, enjoying the light side to the evening's dark.