Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Dance School at the ICA

Every so often you see an event you feel you should queue for. Dance School at the ICA slotted snugly into that bracket, so a couple of hours on The Mall was the least I could offer in return for what promised to be a mix and blend of some of club culture’s more seasoned selectors. The excellent creatures at Dollop showed a real appreciation of the wave of nostalgia that’s threading its way through nightclubbing at the moment; syrupy disco, 90s hip-hop, UK garage and plenty of the Balearic gave a platform for a straight-up shindig to rival anything laid on anywhere else on Saturday night. Without question, the ICA was where to be. The promoters knew it, the staff knew it, and as it all slinked together, the crowd knew it too.

The whole of the ICA was transformed into a club-space, so its subtle white walls were awash with neon. There was plenty of giddy anticipation as the Night Train DJs gave things a soulful start, and when Work It took over the crowd was certainly at its happiest. They’ve operated at the ICA before, and their warm embrace of 90s hip-hop and R’n’B can’t help but draw broad grins en masse. In the main theatre, Rinse FM’s DJs showed how a dangerously laid back roll through some seminal UK garage still gets even the most eclectic of crowds up and down collectively. Spyro looked almost embarrassed at how much the crowd lifted at the first drop of his needle. He epitomised the effortless cool that tends to go arm in arm with those associated with the capital’s premier piration-steppas.

Cocadisco treated the main bar to a challenging soundscape from the aurally-arresting, ever-alluring Leila who borrows her space from Warp Records. For me, her sound would have been suited better to one of the darker less chatty rooms, as at times all I wanted to do was cock my head and gaze. The highlight for me was undoubtedly seeing DJ History legend Bill Brewster charm the knickers off the main bar area. He drizzled his dubby disco around the place with a subtle sense of occasion, peering out over the decks and surveying the scene with the same sensitivity with which he writes and lives. Read him, but don’t let him turn you to Grimsby Town!

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