Ok, so it may not be Berlin, New York or London. But over the years Maidstone has certainly forged itself a reputation as one of the UK's leading purveyors of underground dance music. It's with this in mind that DJ Mag eagerly hops on a train out of London to check out Kent's noisiest affiliate. Tonight we'll be heading to Source Bar, a Maidstone institution and Kent's leading underground music venue, to see what the fuss is all about.
Tonight's event is hosted by Random, a club night run by promoter, DJ and all-round geezer Tristan Ingram, who in 2007 set up the happening under the premise of putting on high-profile underground artists at a series of random venues.
This mantra has seen Random become a solid fixture not just in Maidstone, but across London and Ibiza for the past seven years. Having played host to the likes of Eats Everything, Dusky, Shonky and Wildkats, Random has a habit of bringing artists on the brink of hitting it big into intimate settings. This evening Random plays host to Huxley, who, with a slew of huge releases this year for the likes of Hypercolour, Kolour Recordings and Rinse, is no exception to Random's 'on point' booking policy.
As DJ Mag enters Source Bar we can't believe how busy it already is. If arriving 'fashionably late' is the done thing in its big city counterparts, then arriving 'fashionably early' seems to be the norm round here. Already eager clubbers are taking to the dancefloor to check out what Random's elite team of residents have to offer. The club itself is deceptively large; providing several intimate areas in which to explore. Kitted with a Funktion 1 soundsystem and decked head to toe in Random's Ibiza-esque branding, you'd be forgiven for forgetting you are in sleepy Maidstone... it becomes clear that after seven years of parties, Random really knows what it's doing.
DJ Mag decides to kick things off in the main room. Huxley is taking to the stage at 1am, so we have an hour to check out what the warm-up acts have to offer. With that said, the Maidstone massive are already up for this, leaving Pierre Codarin to merely feed fuel to the fire.
Laying down a vinyl-heavy set of old school cuts, J. Cub's sassy remix of Lil' Louis's '90s classic 'Club Lonely' gets a particularly good reaction. 1am is drawing near and Codarin signs off with Deep Dish's 'Flashdance'. Ending a set with a chart hit can be a risky business, but you can't argue with results, as it gets one of the biggest reactions of the night.
As Huxley takes to the stage it's clear there will be no need for him to tease this crowd; they've been hammering it toe for toe with the DJs since opening time and they don't seem to be looking for any respite. DJ Mag settles in for the long haul, hoping for two hours of Huxley's garage-infused take on house; and after dropping set opener Lars Vegas's 'The Game', we know we're not to be disappointed.
There won't be any chart flashbacks here, however. Huxley prefers to look firmly into the future, making sublime use of Justin Martin & Eats Everything's Dirtybird banger 'The Gett Up' and Dusky's Aus Music epic 'Nobody Else'. Just as DJ Mag begins to think Huxley may have milked this crowd for all they're worth, the creeping pianos of Huxley's 2012 jam 'Box Clever' ring throughout the main room, and everyone has seemed to gain a second wind. Finishing on a high, Huxley has proved why he is so in-demand at the moment (Maidstone being his third set within 24 hours that day).
Next up, hotly-tipped fresh faces to the scene Electronic Youth take the reins and see the crowd through to 6am, with an energetic deep house set compiled completely of their own tunes; whilst outside on the terrace DJ Mag checks out Andrew Galea, who cranks things up to 127bpm and makes the Maidstone house massive work for their party!
Whilst they're more than happy to oblige, we decide to stumble home, taking with us the high probability of a hangover, a ringing in our ears and our first, but certainly not last, Random experience.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.