Wagon Christ in London

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  • While it is likely true that a majority of club nights hold at their centre a premise, it is rare to find one that fulfils it. This night had celebration at its centre—not only of Luke Vibert releasing a long-awaited slab under his Wagon Christ moniker, but also of a return of Acid to the dancefloors alongside a showcase of more current production techniques. Perhaps more of a nostalgic trip than an outright revival, the concept and atmosphere was sustained throughout. With Wagon Christ being Vibert's overtly un-acid persona, the tunes from this side of his life being heavily sample-based rather than synthesised, clearly he is still a serious acid-head, so it was perhaps no surprise to find a room devoted to the stuff, with many fans moving seamlessly from the refreshing acid bounce to the crunch of today's electronica in another. Photo credit: Emma Gutteridge Second on the bill after a well-received set from Mike Ladd's Infesticons crew came Young Montana? with a stonker of a live set cooking up a beat lasagna: through a slight crinkle came a layer of moisture and a soft warmth adding to the depth. A pause for the microwave. More European al dente stylings came from dEbruit's French fist which pounded Afro-Ismaili gristle to Nile granules and scattered the crowed with the mystery dust. What is, on record, ostensibly a one-man electronic project benefitted greatly from the support of live vocals and instrumentation which not only added an improvisatory element so often lacking in laptop-centred live sets, but also character and charm. Leopard-shirted Ceephax and his synth and drum machine collection next blasted what samples were left lining the audience's cortexes away and played a stripped back acid set for the heads. Shouts for more bass were rebutted with increased hi-hat syncopation over the wobblies from his large Bank of Machina. Meanwhile, AGT Rave and Keep Up Crews played out pre-fab acid of a similar vein upstairs, both holding it tight for the '90s nostalgists. Photo credit: Emma Gutteridge Now, while I would prefer not to set off a debate about DJing v. performance, much of the club's populace vacated XOYO's cavern when it became apparent that Luke Vibert was only DJing, and had not put together a live Wagon Christ set. Even though it was his very own sold-out album launch, Vibert sported an especially miserable face to play some wholly uninspiring hip-hop (OK, and the odd tune from YosepH). Keeping his mixing credentials intact but destroying any faith his fans held in him inventively pushing boundaries, grand disappointment was sensed, and much movement was made. As such, in sum the night was located somewhere between a collation of the cutting-edge of a fading scythe of electronic music, and a flashback in the pan.