23.10.2010, Words by Zara Wladawsky

Fabric's Birthday Techno-thon-and-on-and-on

When Fabric really go for it, they throw a bigger and better party than anyone else in London. Even amongst all the venues opening and closing these days, their marathon thirty hour eleventh birthday this past weekend was no exception. Inside the club it was as if the recession and current over-saturation of massive lineups in London didn’t exist. The battle plan was simple: go on Saturday night for a while, run home for a disco nap, techno brunch, then power through the Sunday headliners until Monday work guilt got unbearable and vital signs started failing. It was time to get out of the low ceilinged basements and warehouses of Hackney and embrace the legendary, faintly cheesy super-club that M.C. Escher built for their marathon eleventh birthday.


I walked into the club at half twelve, gawking at the queue which stretched well up and around into the side streets. Having been in my pajamas an hour before, trying to fit in all the extra sleep I could get, I headed straight for room three to ease myself into the night. Floating Points was the perfect start and warm up. Although the floor around room one was packed like sardines, there was a air and space up in room three and I walked into Terrence Parker’s remix of Kenny Dixon Jr’s “Emotional Content” followed by a nice selection of classic disco & boogie. People were smiling away on the floor and Sam was probably dancing harder than all of them.


Room one was just about the polar opposite to room three: the warm lighting and casual crowd gave way to full on ravers and a technological spectacle as room one’s infamous soundsystem thundered out to a smoky expanse of extra laser power added for the birthday that would have made Fever Ray jealous. I’ve never thought room one was exceptionally big, but the sound and lighting was expertly set up to make it feel like a cavernous Berghain space. All of these ingredients fit Levon Vincent’s take-no-prisoners set like a glove.

I’d only seen Levon at smaller parties like Süd Electronic before and this venue brought out an extra edge to his usual banging sets. I recall Blake Baxter’s “Our Luv” being one of the more melodic and lighter songs of his set if that’s a good indicator of the heaviness of the tunes. Unfortunately though my enjoyment of his set was reigned in by the omnipresence of dickheads on the dance floor. Unfortunately there were quite a few in room, one touching up and grabbing every girl trying to have a dance. I spent far too much of my time cowering near the DJ booth instead of out in the crowd fists pumping where Levon’s set made me want to be.


Can Move D be anything less than exceptional? I think not. Although it was annoying that the two DJs I was looking forward to seeing the most had overlapping times, it turned out to be really great to take breaks from room one when the testosterone fueled crowd started doing my head in. Back up in room three the crowd was still all smiles and Move D was dancing away grinning even more than Floating Points was. A Move D set is always full of classic and new house music of all styles expertly crafted into a moving symphony of emotional peaks and troughs. He’s been one of my favourite DJs of the last few years so it was really great seeing him away from the usual underground parties he plays like Free Rotation and New York’s Sunday Best and bringing the same energy to such a big venue. I wish I could tell you some of the tunes he played, but this was the one time all weekend when I was dancing too much to write anything down to aid my sieve like memory. Absolute sign of a top set, non?


Although slightly less musical, these were definitely highlights as well and deserve an honourable mention. I caught the powerful end of Levon Vincent’s set in room one, but after one aggressive short sexpest too many it was time to get the hell out for half-time break. After something more like a short coma than a wee sleep, I was back out at a cafe near the club with some other friends that had been sensible and had quiet Saturdays nights. Like a parasite I tried to feed off of their fresh energy, and after some breakfast stodge and booze, went back in for round two.


Ricardo Villalobos was the original headliner scheduled for this slot, but unfortunately the poor guy was laid up with an ear infection. His replacement was none other than fellow Chilean techno maestro Luciano. I’d only ever seen Luciano play live with his AEther collective so had no idea what to expect walking back into room one. The atmosphere was quite literally night & day: almost all the sexpests were gone, most people were fresh and chirpy straight from brunch, the dancefloor had enough space to be comfortable, and most of all the room itself was visible and no longer a cavernous expanse due to the shutters being open and natural light streaming through along with one lone laser on chill-out mode. Luciano played a daytime set of classic funky and house tunes mixed in with acapellas and edits of Björk, Whitney Houston, Inner City, and other sing-a-longs. Highlight tunes that got everyone wooping were Robert Hood and Floorplan’s “Funky Souls” and an edit of Henrik Schwarz’s remix of Omar’s “Feeling You.” There were purists visibly horrified at times, since this was very different to what I imagined Villalobos would have played, but I’ve always been a firm believer in the mixture of cheese and feel-good tunes with sunshine. Whilst Luciano was neither exceptional or changed it up that much over the four hours, it didn’t really matter as there was a part of the room where the sun shone straight onto the dancefloor. We remained there in its warmth as I closed my eyes listening to the music and felt, for a while, that I was dancing somewhere between memories of Panorama Bar, Spain, and Croatia.


As the light started fading, Luciano’s sunshine set gave way to Dixon’s darker minimal tinged soulful techno. Sporting shorter hair and a fabulous jumper, the Innervisions man brought smiles back to the purist’s faces whilst reminding us that the night was just beginning … again. Dixon’s mixing and track flow was both understated and flawless as usual, which was great since four hours of Luciano’s penchant for build-ups had started to wear thin by the early evening. Thirtyy minutes in and he was already playing some of last year’s subtly emotional highlights like Oni Ayhun’s “OAR003-B” and Marcel Dettmann’s remix of Junior Boys’ “Work.”

Unfortunately, as it was getting darker outside and musically inside, my internal candle was going out as well and I left towards the end of Dixon’s set. There was so much more to come, but I was very satisfied with the weekend and had high hopes of functioning back at Dummy HQ Monday morning. Although I still missed a few DJs I wanted to see during my recharge and after I left, I still felt like I saw a lot and enjoyed my Fabric marathon. A truly brilliant party is more of an experience than an event, and this definitely felt like one. I might even catch myself moaning about Fabric again before the week is out, but deep down I have a lot of respect for this clubbing institution and their commitment to throwing one hell of a party. Happy birthday!

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