Review: Phonica’s 8th Birthday Party
8th birthdays are usually tremendous affairs. Cake, candles, balloons, presents, maybe a clown. No such frivolities for Phonica Records. Instead they booked out the normally wonderful 3-arched Great Suffolk Street Warehouse and pulled together one of the most impressive lineups South London has seen all year. With Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom arch playing host to both Benoit & Sergio and Visionquest, and the Phonica arch featuring Joy Orbison and Soul Clap, you’d think you’d have the night covered. But it was former-Phonica-employee Heidi who had, for us, the winning arch.
In all honesty, large aspects of the night were a bit shambolic. The first bug-bear came from the lack of set-times posted before the actual event. There was no word whispered of any timings online which sadly meant that due to friend-faffing we didn’t arrive until 1am, by which point we missed Waifs & Strays who’d played from 10-12. Plumping for Deetron in Heidi’s room was a good way to soothe this minor upset as the crowd seemed to be in a good mood despite having to peer through the gloom at phone-lit set-times on the wall to get there. Dropping the much-loved Julio Bashmore track Battle For Middle You won him definite brownie points as every single sweaty body in the room got down.
Backtracking to the first arch to catch Benoit & Sergio‘s live set was a choice move. They opened with Principles and by the time they played Everybody, the atmosphere in the crowd was simply electric. Mind you, no doubt a fair proportion of them were nicely intoxicated by this point and singing along to every single word of Walk And Talk just highlighted that. It’s a sight to see an entire room full of people, upright, with the hands in the air, singing at the top of their lungs about ketamine.
Leftroom headliners Visionquest (sans Seth Troxler sadly) came on straight after at 3am and keep the room in its blurry-eyed state of elation by immediately dropping summer-smash Something Special by Miguel Campbell. They were all there to hear a shit-load of deep house and boy did Visionquest deliver. Every single drop, the room got more entrenched in its hot, swaying euphoria. You could tell they were in for the full 3 hour long haul.
Moving into the middle arch, headliners Soul Clap were victim to some of the worst sound ever heard in a warehouse party….. ever. It’s a real shame as anticipation for them was high but it was too jarring for us and we headed back to Heidi, where it was ridiculously busy and every beat saw you jostled about in time. Dropping crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser like Azari & III’s Manic, Claude Von Stroke’s remix Cajmere – It’s Time For The Percolator and Jamie Jones’ Tranquilizer only made the room fall in love with her even more. It was here that it didn’t matter about the terrible sound because it felt like we were out with Heidi and having fun with her as opposed to her playing for us.
London Warehouse Events have acknowledged the poor audio quality and promised that their next event, Drumcode, will be top-notch, admittedly that now they feel like they have a point to prove. They’ve even released a statement from their sound people….
“We would like to explain and apologise for the sound issues at the Phonica event on 1st October 2011.
An incident occurred on the day which nearly jeopardised the show and if it was not for the dedication of the sound crew chief on that day the event may not have been able to go ahead.
The truck suffered a blow out at high speed on the M4. Replacement crew and sound equipment were ordered from our warehouse on the south coast but due to the time factors involved could not be properly setup and prepped. This meant that the main room sound was late to arrive and could not be setup as we would have liked. This resulted in sub standard sound quality for the event which was not acceptable but at that late stage, unchangeable. The replacement crew also had no knowledge of the event and were therefore running blind into the gig with equipment that was not prepped for the show.
At standard venues, such as halls and outside, this would not have posed a problem but with railway arches at SE1 specialist tuning is required to overcome the difficult acoustics of the arches and this could not be done whilst live.
After over a year of running very high quality shows in this space we were very disappointed to have had these unexpected events happen. We are very proud of our crew who worked on the edge through the night trying to cope with what was a difficult & stressful situation.
We can assure everyone that the next LWE event, Drumcode, will be back to the normal high standard expected at these great events.”
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