Everyone loves a free gig. But a free daytime open-air gig on Bank Holiday Sunday with Richie Hawtin? That's not love. It's the stuff techno orgasms are made of.
For the rabble congregated on Hartwell Street, blocked by metal barriers, however, it's a passion that'll remain unrequited. They've arrived a fraction too late. The limited space available within the cosily packed car park inside – on a first come, first serve basis – has filled in a matter of minutes. “Doors are now closed,” a man with a megaphone announces as politely as is possible when asking a mob of people to do one. “No point in standing here, you will not be getting in.” Of course, nobody moves.
First announced on Friday via Twitter by Canada's first minister of minimal, it wasn't until this morning that the location – an urban courtyard facilitated by Street Feast, London's ongoing experimental food festival – was revealed. Since the social networks have, like the flavouring of my delicious 'Crazy Lamb Jalfrezi Burger' gone bananas.
Organised in conjunction with Land of Kings, a series of (predominantly indie) live gigs and club nights coincidently utilizing the venues of Kingsland Rd in East London, it's hands down the most dance-y on offer, and undoubtedly the most spontaneous.Murmurs that it marks the start of a tour of free Hawtin gigs that'll touch Europe's major cities reveal it's a tad opportunistic too. A marriage of convenience, we suspect. Not that we're complaining.
Inside, we're relieved to find the organisers have resisted the temptation to pack the tattered, industrial space – a modestly sized square lined by shipping containers and food vans tucked off the main street – to bursting capacity, allowing for easy enough access to the front while the right amount of people get absorbed in the music without feeling like caged chicks on a KFC farm.
Starting proceedings with a cascade of bleeps and blops characteristic of his 15-year-old Minus imprint, Hawtin sets about deploying his building blocks one by one, slipping in a hi-hat here, a dampened 4/4 there, until encouraging an eruption from the patiently waiting crowd before him with a head-churning spiral of synths.
Gradually and steadily, he builds into more upfront territory. Minimal meets straight up techno, tech-house meets deep house, before a bout of wonky maximal as dark as his drainpipe jeans. By now, the collective – a combination of arty types, trendy students and techno-hardy Italians – is a giddy cauldron of fist-pumping energy.
The fact this free party is a rare chance to rave outside in East London, combined with Hawtin's willingness to pump it up with each track, has pulses racing to unusually high levels. The vibe is so infections hip photographers sat on the roof of the shipping behind the booth cannot resist doing a Dalston-friendly version of The Macarena causing a collective cheer.
A similar effort from a peroxide blond girl in comedy glasses does the opposite, however, distracting from the DJ until he brings it back to basics with the surprise (but welcome) arrival of a chunky, tech-tinged New Jersey house cut. From here on, it's plain sailing for the (now-not-so) minimal maestro, the grateful gaggle at the disposal of his every move as the sun fights its way through the clouds to let the elements match the atmosphere...
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