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Soul Brothers

Need2Soul @ The Big Chill review

While London's club land cries out for new homes to house its hungry clubbers, there's simply no shortage of superlative party collectives to fill the city's frustratingly absent rooms; the capital it seems is churning them out for fun – secretsundaze, mulletover, DDD, Disco Bloodbath, the list goes on. But it's Alex Ruello's need2soul crew that have really been pricking up tastemakers' ears of late. Taking influence from Chicago, Detroit, New York and indeed the new wave of European housers, the climate has never been riper for them to take charge.

So impressed have the Chill honchos been, with their striking, well-poised and finely-tuned sound, that they've invited Ruello's posse to Eastnor to host Saturday's proceedings in their jaw-dropping, colossus of a club tent. And for a festival that readily promotes horizontal behaviour, they certainly know how to deck out a dance floor. It's ridiculous. The sound – full, crisp and very, very loud; the lighting - intense and plentiful, with lamps and strobes searching deep, into the crowd. Hell, it even looks the business. We'd go as far to say it's probably the best of its kind in the country.

No doubt a wee bit daunted then – it's Rap Saunders who takes to the decks as DJ arrives. Floating out fine early-doors fodder, the lng time resident delivers a succession of warm, pulsing grooves – quickly coaxing need2soul's really quite impressive Eastnor entourage into some fevered whoops and cheers before it's even mid-afternoon. 1 Xtra's Benji B follows Saunders, delivering a bright, yet, techy set, peppering in the odd vocal, but keeping things nicely balanced. Then an impressively swift change-over sees the masterful Christian Prommer take to the stage with his 'three-pronged percussive attack and a set 'o' keys' Drumlesson ensemble. A stripped back, live journey that sifts through the many realms of house, new and old - the Drumlesson project is tailor made for festivals. Three tunes in though, and DJ starts to fear for Prommer's health due to his manic dancing – energetic doesn't come close, the man's got more steam than Arno from Booka Shade! Their rhythmic re-telling of Derrick May's 'Strings of Life' sounds dutifully majestic, but it's stage successor Ame's very own 'Rej' which takes the proverbial – with its soft, sullen keys, trickling seductively over a flurry of logistically baffling and brilliantly satisfying beats.

The tent now starting to fill up – Ame (or one half of, as it in invariably tends to be) hovers behind the decks. Interestingly though, it's the bearded Frank that joins us here, not the monk-like Kristian. But while it's not clear whether this is a calculated manoeuvre, it certainly turns out to be a canny one, as Frank's distinctly emotive, flightier sound, sits all the more snugly in the need2soul groove. And in headliner Ron Trent's absence, the Berliner - to the clear delight of many crowd - plays an extended set. Body and Soul's Joe Claussell also helps close the gap left by Trent, as well as that left in the tent tonight – closing proceedings with a big and bolshy, festival savvy set. Perhaps a little vocal intense at times - but he nonetheless does a fine job of feeding the now distinctly cerebral mood – the epic full-length version of 'Relight My Fire' leaving the crowd in nothing short of mass recoil.

Wobbling back to our campsite then – the reverberations still shooting through our flaunt and frail body – DJ reckons it's about time all those budding entrepreneurs of London town, started searching the city's infinite chasms - as well as their big green-lined pockets - to find us some new nocturnal playgrounds to invade – 'cos if the likes of need2soul can rock it on this scale, we'd say the future of London's club land could be looking pretty damn sweet.