Leon Vynehall in London

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  • Make no mistake: extended sets are nothing new. From the now-mythicized performances of DJs like Larry Levan and Danny Tenaglia to the marathon sets of Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann, the extended set is well ingrained in club culture. The concept seems to be particularly popular at the moment, and young London promoter Percolate were one of the latest to get involved as they invited Leon Vynehall, one of house music's fastest-rising artists, to play an eight-hour set for an intimate audience of 200 people. The sounds of Latin funk greeted me after the two-storey hike up to the Studio Spaces loft. Despite the whitewashed interior, the wooden beams overhead gave off a homeliness that's often absent in similar East London spaces. It was also nice to have minimal production for a change, with just a few projectors rotating psychedelic patterns along the wall. In between percussion solos, rose-tinted synth and guitar riffs got the floor grooving, with classics such as Tom Browne's "Funkin' For Jamaica" going down a treat. Vynehall seemed pleased with the opportunity to play from the less house-oriented regions of his collection, and with three or four crates with him he'd obviously come prepared. The mood was notched up incrementally, with Vynehall clearly in no hurry to get anywhere, although by 3 AM the crowd seemed to be pining for something more pounding. Technically, there were a few lapses, though his selections made up for the ropey mixing. Maurice Fulton's remix of "Happy Sunday" was a turning point, with its distinctive bassline engulfing the venue. Shortly after, a surprise appearance from Braiden saw the two DJs go back-to-back for the remaining couple of hours. The pair worked fluidly through gutsier cuts of vintage house and disco, though they peaked with Tom Trago's modern classic "Use Me Again." The place had long become a sweatbox, with a single air-con unit above feebly attempting to relieve the room. An uninhibited crowd and a communal energy—qualities that are sometimes difficult to attain in the transient and ever-shifting world of London clubbing—made this party very enjoyable.