“Not everyone understands house music, it’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing”… the famous loop from Eddie Amador’s 1998 classic track ‘House Music’ speaks volumes and lays down a perfectly phrased mantra to sum up Morning Glory — London’s break-of-dawn, natural high danceathon.
Warning. This review may not be to everyone’s taste and you should avert your eyes if you are easily offended at the sight and notion of people enjoying themselves just a little bit too much.
DJ Mag joins the colourful queue outside London’s Oval Space on a crisp Wednesday morning at precisely 6:30am. There are dressing gowns and PJs, sequins and glitter, onesies, cyclists, ‘unicorns’ and men in suits. This has the makings of a seasoned oddball clubbing crowd — shall we say a mixed bunch? We’re thinking Burning Man-meets-Bestival at a concrete jungle hug fest. The doors open and a group of lycra-clad MG meeter and greeters bound outside, faces beaming, most resplendent with 10-pence-piece-sized pink cheek dots (the make up choice du jour).
“Are you ready?! Let’s warm up. Practice those lunges,” they sing at us. When in Rome...
Inside there are queues forming for coffee and smoothies. And time slots are being grabbed and filled for a massage later. The Hackney venue has been attacked with bunting and the early-bird crowd are already limbering up on the daylight-lit dancefloor. Inhibitions have been safely tucked away at home and the atmosphere is immediately electric, with a sense of endorphin frenzy in the air. “Push me and then just touch me, till I can get my satisfaction” rings out Benny Benassi; and is closely followed by more lunges and much waving of arms in the air.
Morning Glory is only one-year-old; events producer Sam Moyo and bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes held their first party in May 2013 to a crowd of just under 100 ravers. Each party since then has pretty much gained another 100 peeps, with 800 plus currently keen to join their ‘conscious clubbing world stage’.
Early bird tickets for their next party sold out in less than an hour. And after Rob Da Bank played for them recently, he was so taken with the morning rave that he invited them to do their thing at Bestival this year.
The windows are steaming up and it’s a strangely normal sight to see wildly euphoric dancing combined with the drinking of coffee and the eating of a pain au chocolat. Whatever next? A saxophone player, that’s what. Max Johnson edges from the stage into the middle of the dancefloor, where he’s surrounded and worshipped as he parps along to the progressively old skool set courtesy of MTV presenter and DJ Becca Dudley, who fuses together the likes of ‘Lady’, ‘Bring It Back’ and ‘Closer Than Close’.
During the four hours we’re handed water. It’s a well-received gesture, coupled with their bid for us to help with recycling by next time Bringing Your Own Bottle. We spot co-organiser Sam Moyo amongst the stage groovers, where she’ll occasionally grab the mic, “Feel the love! Love each other. Love, love, love,” she beams. As if this loved-up, energy-hungry bunch needed any more encouragement.
It’s starting to get very sweaty. A mid-time turnover of newcomers replace the commuters that are reluctantly heading off to work. Fresh energy keeps the peaks on high alert, but the occasional lull is required if only for a breather from this non-stop work-out. She goes on to say, “I just wanted to thank you all for supporting us, it just gets bigger and better. Freedom! And fun! Freedom and fun! Positive energy!”
By now the Loose Cannons have taken over the decks and Duke Dumont’s ‘I Got U’ is closely followed by Gorgon City’s ‘Ready For Your Love’. “Are you ready?” they shout out. “You’re the hardcore. You’re powerful. You don’t have a proper job and we’re grateful for that!” More hugs. And more lunges, as spaces appear on the dancefloor and much showing off of dance moves and stretches takes place.
Steffie Timanti completes the bill and winds her set down, or should that be winds up her set, with ‘Rap Das Armas’, ’Suavemente’ and the ultimate Morning Glory anthem ‘Happy’. And so the clapping begins.