A sea of good vibes
Secretsundaze Go Bang! 2012

Undeterred by the task of speedily snaring a new venue for a huge bank holiday party (after wisely moving things away from the disaster that was the London Pleasure Gardens, days before it went into administration), the stellar, varied dance lineup of Secretsundaze Go Bang! was split into two parts, with the Roundhouse hosting the day event and Proud Camden taking care of late-night shenanigans.

After a fine set of forward-thinking house with a soulful, bassy twist from PhOtOmachine, Sven Weisemann’s live UK debut was the first act of the day to draw the crowds. His upfront house had plenty of pace, but also contained some nice melodic touches, reinforcing the sense of musicality for which he’s known.

Following was Motor City Drum Ensemble. There was a surprisingly techy edge to the initial stages, with some booming 4/4 being relayed, before MCDE settled into a soulful groove, journeying through jazz-house jams but still with a techy edge. Excellent stuff.

In the intimate confines of the basement studio, DjRUM then played probably the best overall set of the event. As with his recorded material, it was a genre-splicing and eclectic affair, mixing up future-dub tones with bassline house, deep garage, and acidic, dubbed-out techno, each of them explored smoothly. A big highlight.

Unsurprisingly, Four Tet was one of the biggest draws, with a packed main room all vying to hear what he had in store. After a slow electronica intro, Hebden brought in the beats, beginning with spacey ambience and working into bassier moods, via minimal house, chunky techno and Talking Heads’ ‘Once in a Lifetime’. It was a considered, darkly dancefloor-oriented set, and perfect for working the Secretsundaze crowd.

Headline duties for the daytime event were handled proficiently by eclectic experimentalist Matthew Herbert, who went back to his dance roots with a storming set, peppered with delightful Herbert-esque quirks. There was plenty of off-kilter, solid techno (Blawan’s acid-dipped ‘Lavender’ was a great shout), fuelling the rave-seeking mood of the crowd at this point. A superb performance from Herbert, proving he can still lay down mad dancefloor shenanigans far better than most.

Moving to Proud Camden for the night event (a touch too small for the heaving numbers, but considering the difficult and last-minute circumstances it held up extremely well), Ben UFO was, as ever, on impressive form. His was a sharp, thoroughly danceable set, mixing big basslines with soulful house, garage and a twisted disco sensibility – an excellent way to draw the packed crowd into a long night of partying.

Levon Vincent – a justifiably big name in US house – then stepped up to close things. After a swirling build-up, Vincent delved into punchy vocal house, melting into trippy, bleepy hypnotic grooves. It was a deep-and-deeper set, with Vincent constantly mixing things up, whilst retaining a vague Chicago ambience. It was impossible to spot a disappointed face anywhere in the crowd – a statement also true of the entire event.

Giles Smith and James Priestley – the brains behind Secretsundaze – had excelled themselves with their bank holiday lineup, and even with a late-in-the-day venue change, the wealth of talent on offer and a sea of good vibes all day ensured that Go Bang! did indeed go off with a bang.

Words by Tristan Parker
Photo by Oliver Clasper

Click here for a photo gallery of the festival.

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