20 July 2008


The Smoking Ban has messed things up. People come to clubs like Tape because they're into their music, but the primary biological need to feed their nicotine habits overrides the less-urgent desire to dance to some nice tunes. So they head for the smoking area outside the club, light-up, then get involved in conversations with other smokers, which can end-up lasting for half an hour or more. The net result being that they spend more time outside smoking and chatting than inside checking the sounds they came to hear. This realization came to me in a flash last night as, once again, I found myself fighting through a crowd of smokers to try and squeeze back into the building, to a near-deserted dancefloor. Just one more reason to give the damn fags up.

To be honest, even when I was inside the club I spent most of the time in conversation, shouting in people's ears, fighting against the PA's volume; the music almost getting in the way of my social life. Maybe it's because I haven't been out as much recently. I bump into people I haven't seen for a while and there's lots of catching-up to do. I'm a sociable person. I had a really good time, just talking to people. The fact that most of Luke Malcher and October's dj sets were completely lost to me is an unfortunate by-product of this situation. Someone jokingly asked me where my notebook was. I truthfully answered that I've never written notes when I'm out clubbing. When writing these so-say 'reviews' I just rely on the aura that still lingers in my mind. An impressionistic afterimage, rather than specifics. I seem to have lost interest in the trainspotting aspect of track I.D.'ing. But maybe I'm not the only one like that. I don't hang around drug-driven scenes. These aren't frenzied crowds, 'on one', united in an ecstasy of pills 'n beats. These people wander in and out of the music. They dance enthusiastically for maybe twenty minutes than wander off for a chat and fag, then come back to the dancefloor an hour later. This may be Underground music, but it sure ain't a Hardcore scene. It's mellow, easy going. Without chemical assistance, Minimal/Tech/House lacks the kind of hooks required to sustain the attention levels for very long. After a while, your mind starts to wander. So you go and do something else for a bit. The music becomes a high-volume ambient backing track to a social occasion. So what? In club culture it's the clubbers themselves who are supposed to be the stars of the show, and last night they provided great entertainment value.

So what about Headhunter? Oh, he was on good form as usual. I reckon I managed to stay focused on at least 25% of his set, which was exceptionally good going (it would've been more but, y'know, people kept coming up and talking to me). Rather than a showcase of his own productions, Headhunter had his selectah head on, starting out quite techy-minimal, then moving into deep-dubby, before breaking-out the cd-rs for some dubsteppy exclusive shizzle. All good, but don't ask me for specifics. Right now I'm just surfing the sine waves, cruising at high-altitude, occasionally dipping below the clouds for a quick look around, then floating off again. Bare with me...


  1. Agreed, Definitely more of a social catchup then a Dj showcase. Was good to see you out Nick and meet all the TAPE guys, lovely bunch they are.

  2. Anonymous9:37 AM

    It seems there is room for a different type of club these days - something along the lines of a social club. Have DJs/music but playing on a really top notch hi-fi type set up - at a reasonable volume (retain the sub) but not so loud that you can't converse (Golden Pudel klub in Hamburg is just like this).

    On the odd occasions I go out to clubs not many people seem to be up for dancing anyway - just shouting into each others ears above the blare of the soundsystem. Which is actually pretty anoying if you just want to go out and dance... In fact does anybody do this anymore? Maybe dubstep/minimal/tech just aren't that great to move to?

  3. We've had smoking bans in place here in California for many years.It seems to go about the same way here as Nick describes in his post. I don't smoke, (anymore) but I'll usually drift outside and chat with friends a few times during the course of an evening anyway. Smog used to have their events at this place in downtown LA called Casey's Irish Pub.The sound system was set up in an outside patio at the front of the club, surrounded on four sides by brick walls with a stairway to enter, you could hear the tunes bouncing off the buildings as you approached. The brick walls (along with the Pure Filth Sound System)made the patio a pressure cooker of bass.And smoking friendly! You could always dip inside and snag a table if you wanted to drink and chat for a few minutes.Sadly it was not to last, the last night there was smog vs. dubwar.About halfway through Dave Q and Juakali's set the sound system was brought inside, never to grace the patio again(noise complaints).