We arrived fairly late – practically just in time to catch their two-hour set. The first thing I noticed was how busy the place was. I’ve been to The Key many times (even used to live around the corner) and it was as busy as I’d ever seen it. The room with the brilliant illuminated dance floor was chest-to-chest as was that ‘side bit’ with the couple couches and start of the bar.
The set really did have a very ‘Âme’ sound to it. There was a bit of Chicago, bit of Detroit, and just a more deep and soulful housey sound compared to all the minimal we’re used to by now. It was epic at places, a lot of sweeping atmospheric sounds, and that kind of crunchy crinkly sound effect kept cropping up, the kind used in ‘Rej’. The crowd ate it all up – they were definitely up for it. But certainly most of them seemed too hammered to care when the mixing errors began to pop up. On more than one occasion I remember turning to my friends to find they were already giving me the ‘are-you-hearing-that?” rolling-eyes-and-smirk expression. Perhaps Âme were drunk too.
Ran into some friends and they immediately complained about how packed it was. It looked and felt like a distinct ‘city worker weekend crowd’. Maybe they were all rich enough to actually get drunk off the £4 beers – ridiculous.
But things got better. There was an old Moodyman tune mixed into Matt O’Brien’s ‘Serotone’, which got a lot of people that had stopped dancing to sway again. Towards the end there was Marc Romboy v Chelonis R Jones’ ‘Helen Cornell’, and that sounded just right when it was dropped.
By the time the lights came up I was left with mixed emotions. Chatting with friends and others around me, the sentiment appeared to resonate. Unfortunately, there was a bit of something for everyone to complain about that night.