Last Wednesday party

I went to my first drum n' bass party in quite a while last Wednesday when I saw Andy C and John B spin at the City Club - a garbage venue, but more on that later. There was a time when dn'b was the focus of my dance music listening, but too much of it sounds the same now as it did 5 years ago and those days are long gone. I was looking forward to Wednesday's party though. I'd seen Andy C spin two amazing sets in London, at Fabric in 2000 and the End in 2003, and his Kiss FM radio sessions are as good as it gets for dn'b. I knew John B for Visions, an excellent and unique collection of jazzy, live-sounding dn'b. (The trumpet + bass groove on "Jazz Session 2" always gets me.)

I had heard John B's latest album was more electro than jazz, which was clear from his set on Wednesday. He started with an unreleased rework of New Order's "Blue Monday" done by some Polish group Razorpoint. It's a really, really cool track - one of most unique drum n' bass tunes I've heard in ages, and a great way to start. All I can find on it is this entry from John B's diary, but I will be scouring the P2P's for sure. From there, he spun a 90 minute set continuing the electro/new wave vibe. He kept the hits coming, including his own unreleased reworks of "Closer" (NIN), "Tainted Love", and "Rocket Ride" by Felix Da Housecat - all unheard of for a dn'b set. It was a mixed bag overall and a bit rehearsed, but when it worked it was excellent. And either way, it's refreshing to see someone try something new with drum n' bass - I'd never heard anything like his set before.

Andy C stepped up to the decks with MC GQ around 1:30 to a huge cheer from the crowd, and instantly the party went downhill. Basically, the soundsystem was crap and couldn't handle his tunes. John B's more melodic style sounded fine, but Andy C is all about the basslines and the PA could not cope. First the sound was horribly distorted, then it became hollow and empty. I was about 25 feet from the turntables and I could actually talk over the music, which is not right. Andy C even stopped the music at one point to see if they could fix things. As MC GQ put it, they were "dealing with a soundsystem that's not fully loaded" and clearly not happy about it. The crowd was ready to throw down - a tease of Roni Size's "Trust Me" got a big response - but the club was not capable.

It's a shame that a rare visit from Andy C got wasted. I'm sure he'll avoid the City Club next time he makes it over here. I certainly won't ever be going back.