I went to my first socially distanced ‘sit-down rave’ and was treated to Engage Audio’s killer series at The Cause, with both Dogger and LSB behind the decks.
I’d been resistant for so long as my over-demanding-self wanted nights out to be the crowded dance floors, unrestricted, full-fat, director’s cut, 12” extended edition experience that made me fall in love with raves. My friends asked, “are you meant to sit down and dance?”, “how can there be an atmosphere?”. All fair questions – but assumptions get you nowhere. I psyched myself up to walk in without any preconceptions of what my experience would be.
Engage Audio’s first post-lockdown event was a blast. Although most of my dancing was done sat down, almost every other element of nightlife culture that I missed was there.
I arrived feeling excited with a pinch of nerves and was directed to my table. Now, to those that have ever worked in the music business, it can at times be lonely. I knew I was there to do a job, but I don’t think anything in life can prepare you for the awkwardness of sitting at a table by yourself in a club. I sipped on my pint whilst looking like Billy No Mates and started taking down my notes.
My immediate surprise was that there was a full lighting rig and the smoke machine was pumping out clouds. The low-level mist across the room made it feel like you were emerging from the water in an indoor swimming pool when you stood up. Tottenham Spa day, anyone?
Enough of the life blog yada yada. What was the music like?
Dogger brought the energy, dipping into melodic liquid rhythms with his new release on the Precinct label and Calibre’s new remix of ‘Collage’ by Lady Blackbird before switching it up in the dark side with ‘Everything Boss’, the new floor-filler by The Sauce featuring the wicked vocals from Fox.
LSB has never disappointed, and this time was no different. His set was end-to-end magnificence. A blend of liquid melodies that had the packed tables moving and singing. The highlight of the night was an unexpected play of his modern classic, ‘The View’, featuring DRS and Tyler Daley. This tune seriously needs scientific study of its immortal powers, it doesn’t get old. Within seconds the masses were up on their feet and blurting out the chorus. The bouncers rushed in and the music was cut so the MC could tell everyone to sit back down again, followed by “at least we get to pull up the tune”. Top-level crowd control.
It started as a solo mission, but it wasn’t long before I recognised a friendly face from a rave six years before. We were catching up and trading stories and it was at exactly this moment that I realised that nothing’s changed. To those that worry raving won’t be the same post-Covid, I too thought the worst, but all those unexpected moments are still happening.