Fabric Birthday Review

fabric On & On & On...(& On)

After a good few years of attending fabric’s birthday extravaganza I’ve developed a strategic ‘plan’ to ensure I get the best from it. Saturday night is a no-go for two reasons. Firstly (and sadly), the early doors crowd increasingly resembles the cast of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ and secondly, the line-up tends to get better and better as the thirty one hour shift moves into its latter hours. Descending down fabric’s epic, winding staircase into its brick tomb to the sounds of Ricardo Villalobos’s twisted techno on a Sunday morning is quite frankly, my idea of heaven. Or so I thought, four years ago when I first heard him play and he blew my mind. The problem is however, that every time I’ve seen him since, I’ve come away disappointed and that so called heaven of mine is in reality, a distant memory. This year there were as always, glimpses of genius from Ricardo like the implementation of the acid techno and hard house ‘hoover’ – (think 1995’s Commander Tom ‘Are Am Eye’) – but then they was also gangster rap samples over a bed of early noughties minimal tech - which had it of been in time may just have worked...but it wasn’t. As influential as Ricardo has been over the years maybe it’s time for him to step aside and let Rhadoo take the reigns as our iconic fabric birthday dj – only fair considering while Ricardo stumbled around behind the decks in the early hours of Monday morning Rhadoo rescued his plentiful mistakes?

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fabric - Photo Credit – Nick Ensing

Set times as always, were left to Chinese whispers and for the few hours that Room 1 became the only one open, it was Room 2 resident Terry Francis in control - I made a speedy exit to the nearest pub before heading back a couple of hours later. Returning to find Lee Foss playing in Room 1 was unexpected, not only because his home of Kubicle where hosting Room 3 but because the trickery and innovation that I believe Room 1 artists should have doesn’t involve Foss’s predictable and hit style content. In saying that, Lee outshone his norm and his selection and mixing were at least a fraction less generic than usual.

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DJ Three – Photo Credits – Nick Ensing

Next up, Moodyman began his shambolically mixed set of sweet, soulful tracks that ignited that fabric birthday feeling that remained with me until close. An brave and un-mixable selection ensued – but when Nirvana’s ‘Teen Spirit’, Carl Craig’s ‘Like A Child’ remix and ‘After All’ from Franck Roger & Mandel Turner are played within the same 10 minutes of each other, who really gives a fuck? – Not me, and judging by the crowd’s enthused reaction neither did they. After Moodyman I headed to Room 3 where two of the three Droog members where filling the intimate space with a finely executed set of deep driving house tech grooves that put Lee Foss’s attempts of the same style to shame. DJ Three followed and instantly became my Room 3 highlight. Not having heard much about him and never having heard him play I was struck by his smooth yet arresting mixing technique and accomplished track selection which included Engels’ “To The Music” remix that has been happily spiralling in my head ever since. Excuse my ignorance if DJ Three is in fact a worldwide star, but I was left with the impression that he’s one of the most underrated DJ’s of our scene. A true dj’s dj, Three had punters and fellow artists climbing up the Room 3 walls.

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Ricardo Villalobos - Photo Credits – Daddy's Got Sweets

As Monday morning’s early hours progressed into the tech heavy closing set from Villalobos and Richards, any dissecting musical standpoint of mine had gone out of the widow; replaced by costumes, laughter, friendships and a nostalgic warmth for the past 12 months at what is without doubt, London’s No.1 electronic music establishment. fabric’s thoughtful and expert programming, lighting, sound and dedication to this industry is what keeps us going on & on...& on.