Tube station parties, Aphex Twin and raves in Pentonville Prison.
Cousins Rich Bevan and Joshu Doherty have played a major role in keeping acid music in the UK spotlight. Their party series, I Love Acid, does exactly what it says on the tin, booking leading 303 wizards to play at parties all over Blighty. On top of throwing quality parties, their label Balkan Vinyl is one of the best in the game for synthesised sonics, releasing tunes from the likes of OGs LFO and Ben Sims, as well as newer artists such as Shinra.
Together, the pair form the acid house/slow-techno duo Posthuman, performing and releasing music since 2000. As well as releasing on their own imprint, labels such as Acid Avengers and Shipwrec have released their goods, tinged with meandering acid lines and always of the highest quality.
Due to host friends Luke Vibert, Ceephax, & DMX Krew this weekend at Gorilla as I Love Acid return to Manchester, Posthuman trace back the evolution of the party and recount some of their favourite moments over the years, from tube station parties and Aphex Twin to hosting raves in Pentonville Prison.
BEGINNINGS & NUBAR…
Our first show together as Posthuman was in 1999 in the Music Box in Manchester, at a Skam Records party. We’d sent them a demo saying “will gig for vodka” and they offered us a 12” and a show supporting Altern8 (who 15 years later I would join!). We never got the vodka.
I then moved to London, and got a job in a local venue called “The Nubar” and soon we started putting on our own parties. The DJ booth was up a ladder above the bar, you would get drinks passed up to you by the barstaff. We pulled the door off a wrecked car near our flat in Dalston (which was round back then) and would write the lineup for the parties on it, hang it on the stage. We had a friend who lived in a warehouse space in Ridley Road market, and we held an afterparty there once with the whole Skam Records crew – Gescom, Team Doyobi, etc.
(Nubar Afterparty with Skam Records)
(At the Nubar, Cursorminer in the crowd)
(The car door at Nubar)
TUBE STATION PARTIES…
Between 2001 and 2004 we put on a series pf parties in Aldwych Tube Station – and abandoned underground station that was still in it’s classic 1940’s décor: beautiful green tiles, wooden ticket booths, old – style hand painted signs etc.
We would take over the building, turn it into a clubnight, have a big party, then afterwards pack everything down, clean up, and be out within 24 hours. We hired it from the curator, an ex – tube driver who’d been working for London Underground his whole life – he wasn’t too bothered what we did as long as we left the place how we found it – he would stay in the office, do in a bottle of whisky and fall asleep. We didn’t have any kind of drink licences in place, so we’d sell tokens from one booth, that could be exchanged at the other for drinks or CDs or records. I’m not sure how legal that was but we got away with it.
One of our parties there, our security firm didn’t turn up, so me and a mate from the pub put on black jackets and stood on the door pretending to be bouncers. Rhys Ifans turned up with an entourage of giggling girls and dealer hanger – ons. He didn’t have tickets, tried to just walk in with his crew – so when I directed him to the door to pay he said “Mate, I know the guy running this bash I’m on the list”. A glorious moment for me: “No you don’t. It’s my party. £20 please. Each.”
Over our time there we had guests like Aphex Twin and Goldfrapp, and held label showcases from Warp, Rephlex, Skam, and Mute. On our second birthday, the night was sabotaged by a graffiti artist who threw paint everywhere shutting us down, and sadly for our final party there – John Peel had been booked to play but passed away a few weeks ahead of the party, then a couple days before the event we were cancelled by London Underground (I think someone higher up had seen press calling it a “rave” and panicked). On the night of the event, Coil were meant to play, and that same night John Balance died. A sad end to a series of amazing events, we never returned.
(Tube Station Crowd)
(Vibert & AFX at the Tube station party)
(Ceephax, Paul B Davis, and Doubtful Guest at the Tube station party)
SWITZERLAND AND GERMANY WITH SPEZIAL MATERIAL, 2001 & 2002…
Our first ever international gig was in Switzerland in January 2001. We played a 2001: A Space Odyssey themed party, with the movie screened before the clubnight. It was held in a old prison building near Lucerne. The promoter, Cio, took us and our tour DJ Bruce up in the cable cars to the
top of the mountain, and then we went racing snowcarts down the slopes. The mist was so intense, we couldn’t see each other or even 10 feet ahead of us. There was a dip in the track and I was convinced I’d gone off a cliff and was going to die – I was screaming in terror like a baby, then Rich
and Bruce sped past me laughing their heads off…
The following year the same promoter took us and his label posse – Spezial Material – over to tour Germany with them. We started in Switzerland then travelled using trains from gig to gig across Germany: Munich, Ulm, Manheim, and then towards the North East cities: in Hamburg we played at
Golden Pudel, an amazing party despite the tiny venue only holding about 50 people!
In Berlin – the gig itself was cancelled halfway through, the police arrived (it turned out to be an illegal venue) so we never got to play. I had to go back and stay at someone’s apartment, there was no budget for hotels. I slept on the couch and had a huge allergic reaction to their pet dog’s hairs. It was a miserable first time in Berlin.
In Dresden, we played as part of a technology & arts mini – festival. It was held in a huge building that had been a Nazi Olympic training camp, and then a Soviet base of operations – many Nazi murals on the walls were still there, peppered with gunshot holes. We stayed in the building – the whole crew of us, and our hosts informed us as they left “you’re sleeping in the room Hitler used to stay in”.
(Outside Golden Pudel, Hamburg)
(Somewhere in Germany, 2002)
(Live set in Zurich, 2002)
(Flyer from Lucerne, 2001)
After our Tube Station parties, we held a handful of smaller events in London – including one in Pentonville prison, and in now – closed venues like The Spitz. In 2006 we then decided to step it up and do some larger parties – and headed to The Coronet in Elephant & Castle. An old cinema that
still had a upper deck of seating and a big screen. Our first event there, we booked Modeselektor – and while the club was running also held screenings of from moviemakers and visual artists in the cinema space. It was a big success so we then went bigger, and bit off more than we could chew.
We hired the entire venue – which held a good 2000+ at capacity, and put together a huge lineup including The Grid, Phil Hartnoll, Kenny Larkin, Surgeon & Regis doing their “British Murder Boys” show, Arovane, Milanese and countless more acts. Unfortunately, we didn’t sell ANYWHERE near enough tickets to cover costs and lost thousands of pounds – it led to some big falling-outs between us, and I left the record label as a result. To make matters worse – when we were on the main stage playing our set, some plaster fell from the ceiling into our laptop and crashed the computer with 20 minutes to go, we had to leave the stage in embarrassing silence. I drank a lot of tequila that night and tears were shed.
(Flyer from Soviet party, 2006)
Based in a disused iron mine in northern Sweden, Norberg is one of the most interesting and obscure festivals we have played – we’ve been there three times so far. We would stay in chalets down by a local lake – it didn’t quite get dark at night so you could swim at 2am, steam coming off the surface of the water in the twilight. Magical.
The main building is like the set of Aliens, all gangways and stairs and platforms, levels up and down – a health and safety nightmare. This stage is generally set for experimental and ambient music, and is the perfect location for these kind of soundscapes. The second building is the old powerhouse for the mine, and is just a straight up rave den. That’s where we would play. As well as electronic music fans from around Northern Europe travelling in, locals from the nearby (very small & isolated) town would join in; I remember kids moshing inside shopping trolleys on the dancefloor, wearing crash helmets. One of them, speechless from home – brewed moonshine gin, tried to give me his shoes as a thankyou at the end of the set.
One year, Milanese was playing in our room and got fairly carried away on the drink, shouting “oi oi saveloy, let’s fucking ‘ave it!” etc and various insults (in fun) during ours and B12’s sets. We then headed to the main stage, where Mira Calix was playing the closing show of the festival. In the final
few moments of her set – ambient sound drifting through the cavernous building to a silent crowd, Milanese shouts at the top of his lungs “COME ON THEN YOU FILTHY ROTTEN CUNTS!” and honestly I think every single person in the place looked at us in disgust. It was fucking funny though (sorry Chantal!)
(3am down by the lake at Norburg Festival)
Norberg chalet with all the crew in 2015
Norberg’s main building
I LOVE ACID CORSICA STUDIOS & GINGLIK…
In 2007, I held a one-off party at Corsica Studios with Luke Vibert (we’d been friends since the Tube Station parties) based around his track – we picked a lineup of mates of mine and his, and I did a flyer on a CD which were handed out in the Hyponik flyer packs. No-one was really using social media to advertise gigs at that point, so it was still all about physical flyers, and giving away a CD full of acid tracks with the party details printed on it seemed a good idea. The bash went well, though someone spilled a drink in the mixer which ended up costing all the profits – but it was good enough that we did a followup bash a few months after.
Later that year, Ginglik offered me a residency. Bring I Love Acid to their venue once a month. It was the best venue in London but in the wrong location: an old Victorian public toilets underneath Shepherds Bush Green – you had to cross the road into the park and go down some stairs, it was hidden away. A great little bar, a mirrored lounge, and an intimate dancefloor with a Turbosound rig that absolutely sung. Low ceilings draped in red fabric: I still think if Ginglik had been in East London, people would be talking about it like they did of Plastic People. Holding just 250-300 people, the vibe in there was incredible and it remains some of my fondest memories of gigs. This is where Placid joined I Love Acid as a resident, we formed a family with the regulars – DJs, punters, and promoters – and it really grew us as a crew together.
We stayed at Ginglik until the summer of 2014, every month. Sadly it closed down and the site has been abandoned ever since.
Video from our 5th birthday Ginglik, April 2012
Video from Posthuman live set Ginglik, Feb 2012
Mark Archer at Ginglik, Halloween 2011
I have a very long standing relationship with the Bloc crew. We used to rave together back at Wang – which was one of the best, most defining techno and electro parties in London in the early 2000’s. We played every single Bloc Weekend, from the early days in Greater Yarmouth, and then hosting stages (and the dome) when they moved to Minehead.
When Bloc had their ill-fated disaster of a London event in 2012, we were booked to do an I Love Acid lineup on the Ceephax Acid Waltzers stage: literally a waltzer ride with a DJ booth in the control room. We were on early, so had finished our set before everything went crazy. Next thing we knew, the whole festival was being closed down, yet somehow we managed to collect all our crew together and took over Snoop Dogg’s backstage room. While everyone else was caught up in the chaos, having a terrible night, we had a few crates of booze, snacks, weirdly a magician performing tricks (I still don’t know where he came from) and a MASSIVE bowl of salad plus an family-sized squeezy Hellman’s mayonnaise. When we were finally let out to leave, early hours of the morning, we walked back through the docklands to my flat singing “Who’s got Snoop’s Mayo? We’ve got Snoop’s Mayo!”
At the last ever Bloc Weekend in Minehead, Jerome Hill and I held a Super Rhythm Trax vs I Love Acid stage with all our crew. I’d just been given the Altern 8 suit by Mark (but not yet done a show) and in my drunken excitement I put it and the mask on, and invaded the stage while Mark was DJing, jumping all over him, being so annoying it’s a miracle that he didn’t sack me from the band there and then. I hadn’t worked out how to tie the straps down by that point either, so the top was flapping up flashing my fat belly to everyone in the crowd everytime I jumped. I’ve seen footage, it’s not flattering.
Bloc ended up setting up a London venue, and after Ginglik closed down we moved I Love Acid there for a few years.
Backstage at Bloc 2015 with Jerome Hill, Ceephax, Mark Archer, and the Malta crew
Luke Vibert at one of our I Love Acid parties, Bloc London
Sharing the stage with Jon Dasilva (and Seagrave dancing!)
Bangface remains my favourite, and the best, party in the world. Bar none. No one else comes close.
I started going in the mid 2000’s when they moved from Trafik to Elektrowerkz. Funny enough my first time there I was kicked out and told to not come back, one of the crew was a girl I had gone out with when I was younger and been a total dick to (a fair call, I deserved it) …but I kept going back and over time was welcomed in by James and the Hard Crew. I finally played for the first time alongside Mark Archer on the Dutch Master for the Bangface Boat Party, then a set at Elektrowerkz, and then when James started doing the weekenders, I got my first booking for the festival up in Southport. Due to a cancellation from another act, and the fact that I was also playing as Altern 8, and a request to do a set for BangfaceTV, I ended up playing four sets that weekend.
I’m back every year now. You can often find me wandering about in my shit robot costume… I wouldn’t miss it even if I wasn’t playing. It’s the friendliest, best atmosphere, best crowd, most insanely diverse and fun lineups, and the absolute opposite of posturing too-cool-for-school black-tee techno. I love it.
In the crowd at Bangface with Mark & Nikki
Dancing on stage in the Robot suit
In the AGT Rave Cru getup on stage at Bangface
I LOVE ACID MALTA…
For the last ten years, there has been an I Love Acid party in Malta every summer. Mario, Neil and the crew there are like family – they head over here to Bloc and Bangface, and we play out there with our crew.
There’s a couple of video diaries of parties there – one time with Mark Archer and Placid, where we stayed in a run down hotel with a rooftop pool. Another time with Transparent Sound, where I got food poisoning, sat up all night, and hallucinated an extremely boring conversation with my best mate.
Video diary from 2011
Video diary from 2012
I LOVE ACID MANCHESTER & BOILER ROOM…
Going back to Manchester and bringing I Love Acid there came after I started working with Jon Dasilva. He was the resident of Hacienda during the glory years of 88 to 91, and was mentor to the likes of Sasha and Justin Robertson: Dasilva is a veritable legend of acid house. I signed to his booking agency a few years ago, and we started doing shows together – including b2b sets encompassing the history of acid house (which we will be doing again at Gorilla, Manchester, in October)
We did three parties at Hidden, an incredible venue and lovely crew to work with – as well as pre-party shows at Eastern Bloc. The community and vibe about Manchester is something that I feel London lacks these days – it’s too big and there’s too many people competing, while Manchester still feels like there’s a collective spirit in the scene. As someone who hasn’t lived in the city for 20 years I was worried about coming back and being treated as an outsider, but on the contrary it has been very welcoming.
Our next party there is at Gorilla. I feel there’s some ghosts to excorcise! We did a Boiler Room session there a few years back, with Steven Simpson, Ceephax, and Tyree Cooper. They set us up in the middle of the dancefloor – it was packed, a really hot late April day and an utter sweatbox. We had Josh Caffe doing live vocals, and two 303’s on stage: but because we were in the middle of the club, the monitors were useless so we were trying to play over the main rig: you couldn’t hear the vocals (so Josh was off key the whole time) and both our 303’s were tuned wrong but the lack of monitoring made it impossible. Plus it was SO HOT I was mopping my head with a beer towel drenched in lager. Grim.
I’m looking forward to returning but playing on the stage properly! DMX Krew, Luke Vibert, and Ceephax have all been friends for many years and played so many of my shows but this is the first time I’ve managed to get all three on the same night!
Posthuman live set at Hidden
On stage with Ceephax
With Jon Dasilva and Kenny “the Wasp” DABJ
I love acid host Luke Vibert, Ceephax Acid Crew & DMX Krew at Gorilla Manchester October 12th. Tickets and more info here.