Evolving out of Jockey Slut magazine in the 90s, the team that became BuggedOut first put on Jockey Slut nights before taking over Fridays at Sankeys in Manchester to launch BUGGEDOut!. Often booking DJs they’d interviewed in the mag, Richie Hawtin, Daft Punk and the Chemical Brothers were all regular guests. Jockey Slut eventually closed but BUGGEDOut! continued to grow, moving venue a few times, riding the ebb and flow of UK dance music, their success is down to shrewd booking decisions, a passion for the party, and an absolute commitment to acid house.
Twenty-five years later and they’re here at London’s Printworks for their birthday bash, featuring DJ sets from Dusky, Erol Alkan, 2 Many DJs, Simian Mobile Disco, Justin Robertson, Green Velvet and more. DJ Mag teamed up with Printwork favourites BULLDOG Gin – the gin most associated with music – to broadcast live sets from tonight’s event. For those who know, BULLDOG Gin host the Ginporium bar inside Printworks and launched a Gin’spresso Martini in collaboration with Kuka Coffee especially for Printworks Autumn/Winter Series.
With no entry after 5 pm and an 11 pm licence, Printworks is at capacity by the time DJ Mag arrive at four, where Dusky are just launching into their main room set, treating us to some deep house and melodic techno, before heading off into acid squelches and some hardcore-rave influenced bangers. Looking around at a capacity Printworks dance floor, with the massive tom fills of ‘wbf’ from Autarkic splendidly rattling round the sound system, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was three am rather than quarter to five on a Saturday afternoon. Next up were 2 Many DJs who gave the Printworks sound rig a decent work-out, banging out some heavy-duty sound pressure before dropping Technotronic’s ‘Pump Up The Jam’, creating one of of the evenings’ many magical dance floor moments. Mr Alkan got on it next, mixing up the old and new, with the epic bass stabs of Alter Ego’s monster Rocker (Dub) from 2000 coming through an absolute treat on the Printworks system, before mixing in the irresistible Italio-esque sequenced b-line of Club Tularosa’s ‘Solux and Vision’ from earlier this year.
We grabbed a brief chat with urbane bespectacled DJ and producer Lemmy Ashton, who has been on the BUGGEDOut! team for around six years. “I think a lot of the success of BUGGEDOut! lies at the door of [BUGGEDOut! director] John Burgess - there’s never been a man who’s more of a chameleon - he senses trends, he adapts, he’s revolutionised the brand over time. His bookings are so forward-thinking, so full credit to him!” Certainly one of the strongest aspects of the night was the programming, with each of the main-room DJs steadily upping the energy, creating a genuine flow to the music.
Meanwhile, Justin Robinson, Mylo, Simian Mobile Disco and other heroes of previous BUGGEDOut!s played half-hour DJ sets in Prinkworks’ aptly named Darkroom, where the vibe was intimate: low roof, low lighting, hot, dark and absolutely rammed.
Green Velvet closed the main room with Eats Everything and Hot Since 82 remixes of his ‘Flash’ and ‘Bigger Than Prince’ getting big reactions. Although this was an evening looking back and celebrating the past quarter century, when Green Velvet dropped his Patrick Topping collab ‘Voicemail’ with its ‘Meet me at the club’ refrain as his final track, it felt more like another new beginning. As BUGGEDOut! used to say: Viva acid house!