Thus ran the worst-case scenario in the run-up to this special edition of house and techno monthly Sensu, for which the phrase "hotly anticipated" may as well be substituted for "pound of good-quality mince," for all that either adequately expresses the sheer hyperventilating fervour that greeted it. Pre-sale tickets for the 500-ish capacity basement venue went in 15 minutes, some charitable souls were reselling them for as much as £75 on Gumtree, and for weeks the virtual air had been abuzz with chatter so giddy it's a wonder the authors were able to sit up for long enough to type it.
Photo credit: Jamie Lee Mcauley
All perfectly set up for a crashing anti-climax then, but happily this was nothing of the sort. Not having seen Villalobos for several years, but having read plenty, it seems clear he's a hit-and-miss proposition, with the probability of a "miss" rising in approximate tandem with the size of the venue and how many days' indulgence the never party-averse Chilean has recently allowed himself. A show of this comparatively boutique size, and with this attentive a crowd, seemed geared to bring out the best in him, however, and his set, which saw a foundation of funky tech house punctuated by hands-in-the-air moments such as Cassius's "The Sound Of Violence," Inner City's "Good Life," Talk Talk's "It's My Life" and Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood," carried the evening off with a warmth, humour and fun-loving abandon I had feared might be missing.
Add to that the facts that the club, against all the odds, never seemed unpleasantly full, that the crowd was uniformly friendly, and that the venue had evidently enacted something close to an all-leave-cancelled policy on its bar staff, and this evening ended up being an awful lot closer to heaven than hell.