As regular readers might be aware, I’ve long had a suspicion that the days of limiting dance music to a club in the depths of night are coming to an end. Well, maybe not an end as such, but both the social and cultural aspect of what once one relegated to the strobe lit darkness have changed over the last few years. Perhaps it has been the growth of the festival scene in Britain and across the continent, or perhaps it is a simple desire to experience the music in a different way. It doesn’t matter. It’s all good.
Even if the music had been duff, the East End Social’s Last Big Weekend event in Richmond park would have probably been a success. Putting on a mostly outdoors event in Glasgow can be a hit or miss affair, even in August. It can be wet in Glasgow…it can be terrifyingly, biblically wet in Glasgow – and as any of the residents know very well, most of us have spent the last two weeks wondering why it was so unseasonably cold.
None of that mattered, though. Sunday came through for us all with unbroken blue morning skies and a warmth that had been absent for what felt like a lifetime. The Richmond park site itself, tucked away on the south side of the Clyde not far from Glasgow Green, was just about the perfect location for a shindig like this. Not too big, not too small; a square of grass to sit around on and some world-class beer courtesy of West Breweries gave it the feel of a lazy Sunday in the park with your mates. Even better, and perhaps a first for Glasgow, was the fact that the whole thing couldn’t have been any more chilled if it tried. I’ve rarely seen a crowd as relaxed and ready to go as this. There wasn’t a hint of trouble the entire day. Security was almost invisible – always a good sign – but it was the punters who made it as calm as it was.
The gig itself, within a big top and relayed over a pounding but crystal clear sound system took its time to build. It was a varied enough bill, put together by Optimo and Numbers and heavy with the sort of deviant noise merchants Weegie’s have always loved. First to make a real impact was probably Numbers signing Sophie. Anyone who sniggered with delight at the reaction Sophie’s recent Lemonade tune got from the humourless Techno-boys on Resident Advisor would have been in their element as he threw about brain and gut chewing bass frequencies with reckless abandon, bringing it together with early rave insanity and acid bathing it into a weaponized form of crazed dance pop.
I’m not going to talk about every act. I spent far too much time outside drinking beer to pay close attention I’m afraid. Special mentions also go to Nozinja who kicked things further into the stratosphere with his hyperkinetic Shangaan Electro craziness, and LCD Sound Systems and DFA hero James Murphy who played probably the funkiest set of the day, kicking through some material that was just about perfect for the slowly growing crowd.
By the time Darkness came, ushered in by Jackmaster and Optimo, things were set for the Wizard himself. This was Jeff Mills at his earthquake summoning best – one long rolling funk storm of hard, morphing and fluid Techno that took no prisoners and gave no quarter. Just what a Glasgow crowd needs to keep itself at bay.
I don’t know whether there are any plans for a repeat next year. I hope so. It’s the sort of event that Glasgow has needed for a long time. A bunch of people in a park getting drunk with local heroes and old friends providing the soundtrack to a sun drenched day. Doesn’t happen here often enough. Lets have some more.