Having garnered a reputation as one of London's — if not Europe's — leading Sunday day parties, Secretsundaze have lined up two pioneering figures in Motor City Drum Ensemble and UK techno legend Mr G to round off another successful summer of events.
Highlights from this year's SSD season have included their takeover of Barcelona mountain-top venue La Terrazza to coincide with the climactic closure of this year's Sonar Festival, as well as a heavyweight line-up featuring Juan Atkins, Omar S and L.I.E.S' Ron Morelli stretched across multiple venues at the August Bank Holiday Go Bang! Special.
Head and shoulders above your usual after-hours fodder filled with those still rolling from the night before, SSD is a recreation for like-minded music heads to enjoy classic and contemporary house and techno, with the hours of daylight giving the party the breadth to explore forward-thinking locations which compliment its consistently brilliant selection of DJs.
Overlooking a large gas works in the back streets of Bethnal Green, Oval Space boasts two outdoor terraces adjacent to its main room, a vast space with full-length windows which allow September sunshine to spectacularly frame the room with fading glimmers of daylight at this year's closing party.
The festival-style vibe created by playful lighting and palm tree props completely obliterates the pretentious, self-conscious veneer often associated with underground club nights in London. It is rare to see a crowd this full of smiles, and after Mr G's final showdown DJ Mag doubts there is going to be a bad vibe in the entire building.
James Priestley does the initial honours, easing the dancefloor into action with a characteristically slick selection of lush deep house for which SSD, not only as an event but as a record label, has become renowned for (Brawther, Space Dimension Controller and Trevino have all had releases on the imprint).
As day turns to night, headliner Daniel 'Motor City Drum Ensemble' Plessow's absence becomes increasingly apparent; a delayed flight causing his late arrival to the venue making it all the more climactic when he finally steps up to launch into the smooth house cuts the crowd have been waiting for.
Needless to say, it's a set stacked to the brim with grooves, one floor-filler following another with tracks such as 'Dance Dance Dance' from Nick Holder's 'Fruit Loops' series flowing seamlessly into the infectious rhythm of Moodymann's 'Tribute' and deeper shades of house circa early nineties Deadly Rhythm.
Effortlessly lifting the energy, MCDE provides impressive warm-up for the techno mayhem of Colin Mcbean aka Mr. G. With Roland Clark's seminal sample 'If house was a nation, I wanna be president' blaring out of the system, he descends into a demonstration of the techno-infused house for which he has been educating us all with since the early days as one half of The Advent alongside Cisco Ferreira.
For anyone wondering “What is house music?” Mr G is providing the answer, with every molecule in his body, and not without a smattering of techno to fuel the ride. Playing on what he calls a “caveman-style” set up of MPC and mixer, McBean's performance is literally being created before the audience's eyes, as he conjures gritty, urgent basslines against thumping, vintage drumbeats and emphatic vocal snippets. What ensues is a mind-blowing showcase of raw, rolling 4/4 and winding loops, all delivered amid his own captivating dance moves and demon-like concentration.
Considering his reputation as the quintessential 'daddy of house', McBean is a somewhat elusive figure with a selective approach to gigs, having barely touched the UK club circuit bar a live set at Fabric last summer.
Thus the pleasure of witnessing his performance today is all the more special, and with the electric energy pulsating through the crowd, we can rest assured that the man is giving Secretsundaze 2013 the send off it deserves.
Words: Lauren Bush
Photos: Nick Scaife.