You’ve been bludgeoned with the fact that UK dance music and nightlife are facing difficult times. In Great Britain, the number of clubs and music venues dropped by 45 percent between 2005 and 2015. Key causes cited include bad drug press, rising regulation and rents that don’t make commercial sense. Even the ONS picked up on this devolution by taking club entry out of the basket of goods used to calculate inflation. Fear not. In this murky context, there is always hope. DIY parties continue to seek out non-club settings to host and a number of stalwart promoters continue to ‘get stuff done’ in the capital and beyond.
These two glimmers turned up together last Saturday as Percolate took their seasoned brand to Bow’s Three Mill Island for an afternoon of house, techno and disco in two bespoke built sets. Roster highlights included Moxie, Ryan Elliot and Objekt, the latter of whom put out his first record since 2014 earlier this year.
While the promo quite rightly boasted the location through a sun soaked lens, the reality was one long day of drizzle. Because it became so integral to what Percolate Open Air became, here are three effects that the rain had on the party:
First, it’s important to stress that although selectors were dry, they were faced with a large crowd of wet. To counteract this, they might consider drawing for heavy hitters and unconventional cuts to keep punters interested. Sure enough Scuba laid down the Boddika remix of Soul What and Paranoid London played more acid house than usual, which says a lot.
Second, you ended up doing at least one lap of the island, to see if it’s dryer on the other side (it’s not). Doing so highlights a bit of bleed between the two stages which was a shame. That said, all the real legends dancing in the rain with no cares (because fivers are plastic now) won’t have had any audio-inclined complaints. In the midst of it, the sound was pretty good.
Finally, as if we ever doubted him, DJ Koze and his repertoire of left leaning house and disco proved that the Pampa seal of approval is golden and operates at a very high capacity.
Percolate Open Air brought respected names to a space they designed with intent. The effort conjured a certain intimacy that you couldn’t grasp in the press of a club or in the wilderness of a festival. Yes it rained. But if that bothered you you’re probably boring.
Words: Nick Moore
Featured Images: Michael Njunge and Gemma Bell for Here & Now