After a week of enjoyably frail spring temperatures, the streets outside the Boiler Room feel like a stinging return of the piercing, novocaine winds of late December. This small basement space is spiked with furnace like heat and thick, metal girders, which hold the low hanging ceiling in position just a few feet above the swirling crowds below. A few days ago, in the city of Berlin, Amir Alexander, Nina Kraviz and Ben Klock went live to a global audience and performed what was to be a benchmark for 2013. Following on from that success is the Hotflush label, who make a much anticipated return tonight to the Boiler Room, London.
Tonight's gauge of quality seems stitched to the room's thermostat, making for a potent sense of interaction with the crowd. Considering their perfectionism towards sensory assault, this connection must be a common atmosphere for the Boiler Room, as it feels more like a house show than anything, with virtually no detachment from the back of the room. As we stand huddled behind chunky recording equipment and computers, watching a small handheld camera precariously film the end of a stripped back, groove heavy set by Dense & Pika, it becomes clear that this evening is one of amazing contrasts.
The live stream sends out a feed of the second set of decks for a B2B session from Scuba and George FitzGerald, who use a clinical approach to control the room with a seamless and relentless mix. A forthcoming release from George called ‘I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)’ thumps with punchy synthesizers and a reverbed vocal hook, a song destined to become a fixture across the summer festivals. The track selection reeks of effort and eagerness to live up to the contagious hype which has built up since the takeover was announced. Plenty of future gems and sly remixes are constantly dropped on the crowd, an upcoming Four Tet record named ‘For These Times’ forces everyone in the room to throw their arms up and explode behind the decks, it's pure excitement wrapped up in an acidic atmosphere. Scuba's own re-work of his nostalgic house tune ‘Hardbody’ would have rattled windows if there were some.
It's easy to see the pleasure on Scuba and George's faces as the room is flawlessly torn apart. Tonight has a sense of urgency to it, a rush of assumed importance at every turn, and has inked the label's ability to pull something outstanding from an event laced with consistent brilliance from the world’s best. The secretive nature of these events feels as though it's broken down by big online audiences; it makes a small space seem ten times as hug. After an amazing performance the Hotflush takeover burns out to the sound of ‘Vogue’ by Madonna and we walk home in our T-shirts.
Words by Charlie Wood