There can be little surprise that London’s Fabric has reclaimed the crown this year. Consistently back-turning the cash-grabbing traditions of the superclub, Fabric’s name might reverberate round the globe as one of club culture’s standard bearers but the management themselves have never once taken their eye off the ball in their own back yard.
For Fabric, there’s never been any inclination to cash in on global tours or endless merchandise runs. The single focus has been on the music itself and a steadfast refusal to entertain any sort of stagnating complacency with it.
So whilst it remains the only London venue where you can regularly see names like Hawtin, Villalobos and Mathew Jonson, the team behind it also remain 200% dedicated to consistently breaking the next generation of electronic pioneers rather than simply relying on the established order each week.
“The formula for Fabric’s success is that there is no formula,” believes Fabric music director and resident Craig Richards. “Everything is based on simplicity of approach. For a large venture, our success has been realised in a really understated and modest manner. We consistently present quality underground dance music with pride and confidence. That’s all we have ever done.”
It’s an endeavour that has been so faultlessly rigorous that clubbers have come to take the Fabric stamp of approval as a watertight quality seal. At Fabric, there’s never once been so much as a dud DJ, commercial crowd-puller or any dead wood there on name rather than merit. Just honest innovative talent stuffed into every single room. The place oozes integrity.
“Fabric has pushed the whole thing to a much wider audience and broken a lot of acts and DJs that wouldn’t have had the stage to do so otherwise,” continues fellow resident Terry Francis. “For me, it’s the best club in the world from top to bottom.”
From Villalobos to names like Ivan Smagghe, dubstep pioneer Skream and even Kompakt’s Michael Mayer, the number of artists that Fabric has elevated to the grandest stage in the UK runs on and on. It’s no understatement to say that Fabric is responsible for breaking more cutting-edge talent than any other venue in the UK — if not the globe.
But for all its avant-garde vision and pioneering line-ups, Fabric’s crowning position is most vindicated by the atmosphere that is routinely generated in both the cavernous neo-industrial main room and its marginally smaller second room. Not a stroked chin in sight, we’ve seen crowd-surfing mayhem erupt at Pendulum’s Fabric Live gig, epic Richie Hawtin marathons unpeel into the deep, debauched hours of midday Sunday and nights like Breakspoll and Adventures in the Beetroot Field cause sell-out mayhem on school nights.
And that, surely, is the reason why Fabric remains No.1. Because all its world-beating soundsystem, epic labyrinth layout and cutting-edge talent would mean nothing if it weren’t for the plethora of enduring memories and classic moments that the venue has stitched into club culture’s rich tapestry.