An event review is usually chronological or thematic, with artists and their music at the centre. This is what we know and hold dear. But we cannot follow this format here. To start in any other way apart from talking about the person that befriended and danced with everyone from start to finish would be a travesty.
I have decided the very fibre of the The Dancer (as they shall now be known) resonates exactly with what dance music is, and should be, all about. First, there are some, and I include myself in this category, that just cannot, and will not, ever feel comfortable physically expressing how music makes them feel. Those awkward and socially anxious among us last Thursday saw The Dancer in flight. And for those beautiful moments, under the tutelage of Spiritland, we unlearned our side-shuffles that shackled us to the ground and soared. Second, let’s put ourselves behind the buttons for a second. We absolutely do not want to look up from a blend to see 200+ motionless zombies staring blankly at us. No. We want sign, and direction. How can we play for a room if they give us nothing back? The Dancer, in his conductor-like fashion, shifted the focus from decks to floor. And because of this, the night felt like it was constructed by a master clockmaker, with every piece moving precisely when it meant to.
Back to the bookings, Lovefingers did a stellar job on warmup duties, navigating the difficult balance between building people up and dropping heaters only when the room is ready. This was illustrated impeccably when Arthur Russell was played to ease the tension off the back of a Headless Ghost tune. The transition to Jane Fitz was seamless with the night peaking triumphantly in straight and swung house alike. Often we pay to see sets because we trust the taste of artists. In this case, Lovefingers and Fitz played music the crowd didn’t know they wanted to hear, with the pair reading the room faster than real-time.
Repurposing the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for the night was bold. The room wasn’t ever going to feel full and the large glass panes laid everything bare to the moon-lit Thames. But the room’s layout felt considered and fortified the Spiritland mysticism, especially at the outset. The perception of music and space is more interlinked than we think. Reading music alone demands you see time from left to right, and pitch up and down. Last Thursday, the Foyer succeeded in marrying the two to add a unique experience to London’s night, that felt both inclusive and welcoming.
Words: Nick Moore
Featured Images: Louis Bork