- It's unlikely MTV will make an episode of My Super Sweet 16 where the birthday boy/ girl turns out to be a fan of underground house. But if they did, the resulting shindig might look a bit like Tief's 1st Birthday bash. There was cake, balloons, and a lineup so huge, it could have been picked by an overindulged child let lose with Daddy's Black Card.
Expanding the capacity of London's Corsica Studios to three rooms meant the promoters could really go to town. Headlining the added third room was disco maven Daniel Wang, who emphatically displayed the importance of personality and tune selection over technical skill. Throughout his set Wang goofed around, dancing behind the decks while he spun a ludicrously camp selection of tunes. During the space of just one track, he played a furious air violin solo, performed the invisible horse dance from "Gangnam Style" and faux collapsed as a girl whacked him with balloons.
As you might expect, this left the Balihu boss little time to get his next record cued up. The resulting mix, to put it politely, was a little rough around the edges. But as the next wave of sweeping orchestration strutted in a few seconds later, the dance floor was sent twirling into disco induced rapture. The whole process was then repeated, more or less move for move, for the next hour or so. The crowd loved it.
Detroit DJ Omar-S cut a contrastingly low-key appearance during his headline slot in the main room. Peering out beneath the low brim of his Kangol, Omar ran through a set that relied heavily on his own material. Like Wang, Omar's set was prone to the odd bit of dodgy mixing. But seeing as he was dropping records like his own "Psychotic Photosynthesis" after other self-made classics such as "Wayne County Hill Cops," you were never likely to get too many complaints.
Throughout the night, the crowd seemed really intent on having a good time. Girls climbed on their boyfriend's shoulders and reached for the dripping air conditioning. People hopped up on the stage when the dance floor ran out of space. Irish DJ duo Bicep even got into the raucous spirit of things when they took their shirts off midway through their set. You might think all this would be par for the course at a London party, but all too often that's not the case. This was a proper, sweat soaked rave—albeit with a tasteful house soundtrack.
Despite the huge array of talent on offer—there were also notable sets from Hunee, Portable and Mano Le Tough—the standout of the night was probably Jeremy Underground Paris and Bicep's lengthy end of night back-to-back. Starting at 5 AM, Bicep lead the way with their trademark '90's leaning New Jersey sound. What's notable about Bicep's DJ style is how deep they dig for their material. Their sound is definitely retro, but they play almost exclusively overlooked dub versions and obscure B-sides to keep things from becoming corny. It's exactly the kind of record-nerdism that Northern Soul DJs used to exhibit.
While there's a discussion to be had about what such reverence means, a hazy dance floor on a Saturday morning is no time or place for such a chat. As the clock started moving past 9:00 AM, the cut-up MK vocals and Kerri Chandler kicks kept on coming and no one seemed in the slightest mood to listen to anything else. The fact that I was with a self confessed "'90's house hater," who had to admit he'd seen something special, shows you just how good these guys are putting together this well-worn sound. Simple economics means that you don't often see seven international guests in a club with less than a thousand capacity. It's even less often that a mega-lineup like that creates a night that lives up to the hype. It must be said that Tief delivered in spades.