Inner City live at Shoom London

  • Danny Rampling's seminal acid house party returns with a heavy hit of nostalgia.
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  • More than 30 years since it began, Danny Rampling's seminal club night Shoom hosted a one-off takeover at Electric Brixton on Friday night. Feeling like a giant playground, the former theatre lent itself perfectly to the mischief of the night, with big, baroque arches and a sweeping balcony that held people deep in excited conversation. Shoom was renowned for drawing in a broad mix of people and in that respect it hasn't changed. Faces maybe looked more weathered than they did in the '80s, though they were still absolutely ecstatic to be reliving the glory days. The iconic acid house smiley stared back at you from bums, boobs and the ceiling, dangling above a hazy scene of smoke and strobe lights. With tracks like DJ Pierre's "Back 2 House (Pierre's 80's Time Warp Mix)," Rampling took the crowd back to where it all began. He dropped Frankie Knuckles' "Your Love," the track's synths like flecks of magic across the audience, their arms embracing the sky as they sang. "I need your luuuuurveee!" Hitting the stage in a blue, skin-tight jumpsuit, Inner City's Steffanie Christi'an sent her powerhouse vocals careering off the theatre walls. After classics like "Big Fun" and "Your Love," she threw the mic around her neck and set off into the crowd. Next, she grabbed the bass guitar; before you knew it, she was banging out samba on the bongos. The riff from "Good Life" made bodies tingle with a sense of promise and hope, as the band's leader, Kevin Saunderson, took to the mic to remind us, "We make music that brings us together." The night ran away in a tale of garbled stories and quickly forgotten names, with plenty of reminiscing about the good old Shoom days. "You bosh your knee, you dance all night," said one woman. "That's the house we know." The sense of community that once bound this scene together is obviously still a huge pull. "I just came for the vibe," another woman, who was too young to have seen the '80s, told me. Farley & Heller saw the party safely through to 5 AM with feel-good anthems that haven't lost their magic. Martha Wash's gospel vocals on "Carry On" opened hearts and lungs. As she sung about a new day dawning, you almost believed it. But then you looked around at the thinning crowd and something told you it wasn't quite the Shoom of old. In the '80s, people really did believe the world was changing. Today we find ourselves in similar conditions to those fomented by a decade of Thatcherism, but instead of looking to the future, it feels safer to take refuge in days that have been and gone. Photo credits / LarryJ