It was summertime of last year and Marshall Jefferson was headlining the bill. A friend rang while I was in the queue. She and some others were trying to find the warehouse party.
I told her to walk deeper into a dark alleyway. Trail the sounds of chit-chatter. Let the kebab shop scent drift away. We’re underneath a bridge. Leaning against a brick wall. I’m wearing black. See you soon.
But I didn’t wait for her. Forgivable. The thumps seduced and the heat enveloped as I entered the busy car park.
It was around 11 pm.
In the weeks leading up to the event, I had relished saying Society was to blame for this…this Acid House rave. A wag of the finger and a wave of my ticket, I quickly made arrangements to attend their July party.
Society accepts full responsibility for a resurgence of Acid House in London.
Invented by DJ Pierre in Chicago, the sound of Acid snaked its way to London. Here, it took a life of its own.
At the time Thatcher was sticking her two iron fingers up at the unemployed. Dancing after-hours was outlawed. Club-goers met at illegal raves.
And those yellow smiley faces were infectious.
The smile was good-natured. It could happily bounce to that repeated sound sequence. The beat is naked, stripped of the milk and honey normally cushioning house music. A synthesized bassline – the 303 – is worked up to an nth degree and dancing bodies moved accordingly. The tracks’ reverberations coiled their way through the nervous system, easily carrying the raver through to the very end of the party.
In time, the Acid touch punctured its mark in the electronic music scene. Beyond the secret locations, the mainstream had picked up the sound and ran away with it. Different concoctions of electronic music were eventually brewed.
Fast forward 20-plus years and those that remembered bygone days of lasers and smoke were dancing right next to me. The car park’s large alcove was sweaty. The lasers jumped across. The bassline was pushed into overdrive and my legs followed suit.
My friend from earlier found the secret locale – my instructions were on point after all. Others of our crew filtered in.
We scattered ourselves amongst the novices, the heads and the pioneers of House music.
Sometimes I conversed with those resting their stems. Other times I stepped outside and smoked a cigarette or two. But it was never too long until the draw of the 303 took reign again.
Andy Blake, Dan Beaumont, Class of 808 DJs and one Marshall Jefferson later, I emerged from the car park. Little by little others stepped out and walked down the quiet alleyway. It was lighter out. The air was crisper. The kebab scent, stronger.
It was around 6 am.
Society has been celebrating this golden age of electronic music by dishing it out on some damn fine silver platters: Three previous Acid House all-nighters in East London, and monthly sessions with Robert Owens at Dalston Superstore.
A fourth party is set to take place on 10th February. And help me god, the deliverer of that precise 303 sound is playing.
Society will pull out all the stops and make like its 1989.
East London. Warehouse. Artwork. Projections. Funktion One sound. Acid. Chicago. House.
Just trust that bassline.
- Erika Soliven