The final instalment of Sunday night’s carnival weekend saw promoters Need2Soul celebrate a decade of hosting parties with some of the US’ finest international DJ’s around the city and Europe. Spearheaded by Alex Ruello, the streetwise business brand encapsulates deep house, techno and jazz fused into the rotation of wisely selected DJ’s and artists he has on his bill. Citing the infamous Body & SOUL parties of the mid-nineties in New York as inspiration for his own nights he has secured his own niche in the London dance scene by acquiring the likes of Ron Trent and Joe Clausell.
Pulling off the mother of all hat-tricks with a line-up that would ensure a full house was a dead cert of course and support from Makin Moves‘ Jamesey and Matt L-S just added to the je ne sais quoi of it all. Doing what they do best – an injection of deep and afro-house had there followers satisfied down in the basement room. Meanwhile upstairs and serving up the first of a double-dose of Chicago-cool was native Boo Williams who had everyone up with some seriously classic sounds injected with some cool electro-disco sounds an ode to the days of Moroder et al, when all this started in the late 70’s.
Inspired by his innovators Lil Louis and Larry Heard, thirty years in the industry Williams has racked up a biblical discography and is very much part of the scenery of Chicago house. His aliases include Mandrake, Moon Man and Willie Snickers as well as being part of the infamous Strictly Jaz Unit. His set encompasses everything it’s deep, techy, synthy, jazzy, jacking even a little tribal at times and pure understated bad-ass that’s all there is too it. For his quote he is well-known by “House music will never die,” rings true with purveyors such as Williams at the helm “Love, peace and hair grease!”
Up next and fresh from the previous day’s Jazz-Refest is our very own home-grown singer Omar. The MBE and Guildhall School Of Music graduate has done us proud ever since breaking onto the music stage with hit infamous hit, There’s Nothing Like This. Collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Caron Wheeler, Common and Carleen Anderson the neo soul artist has crossed genres to suit his versatility. Performing that hit and his more recent ones Simpatico and Ding Ding both co-produced with Hallex M and DJ Fudge is what all the ladies were waiting for. A very intimate and up close performance by the smooth vocalist left all his fans very satisfied.
After that mesmerizing performance came another in form of Strictly Jaz Unit founding member Glenn Underground. Gracing us with his unique infusion of his jazz and disco inspired music was deeply appreciated by the crowd. He indeed is like that rare vinyl you’ve been searching your whole life to find and it was in your collection already. A diet of disco and jazz heritage propelled him to express it in the then new form house music. Another enviable back-catalogue of spanning two decades ensured Underground had the right prescription for the remedy as he pumped up the volume and cross-faded, re-triggered and my favourite impromptu mash-up was Grace Jones‘ Slave To The Rhythm.
Later on Williams and Underground went back-to-back and sent everyone into a freakin’ frenzy at 5 am in the morning, if you left you missed out – as much as I was tired from my triple venue night I didn’t want leave, I just couldn’t. I was held to ransom by the these two guys the mind was weak but the body was willing. It’s only the second time I’ve seen DJ’s keep Plan B up right to the very end, the last one was Kerri Chandler. Underground warmly thanked everyone for coming related how starstruck he was at meeting Omar of whom he wanted to meet for years, adorned us with his love for playing to the UK crowd and played out the finale track to daybreak. The mother of all nights for the mother of all Sunday bank holidays.
Reviewed by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett