Review: Percolate Does Disco at Oval Space
Few parties in London have gained such recognition and respect from artists, music platforms and party-goers alike as the forward thinking underground dance movement, Percolate.
Now in it’s third year, the guys behind it pride themselves on giving their punters a night to remember; a glamorous, euphoric, but above all classy evening of boogie. It begins with excellent promotion and instantly recognisable artwork, from the flyer to the club’s interior. Marble-themed, trippy patterns flood the twelve posters that humbly quote carefully-curated line-ups in a choice of three different cities for your calendar. Venues in London, Manchester and Amsterdam all look tempting as live acts and dj’s spring off the page. Friends gleefully message one another in a race to claim the ‘early bird’ places through Resident Advisor – and with good reason.
Off the back of a sell out show in Manchester the previous night, I caught up with the boys in the green room just as the night kicked off. Krywald and Farrer were elated to tell me about the previous night’s antics at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen: “They know how to party up North mate, it was proper vibes. We ended up doing a back to back set with Ron Basejam (one third of Crazy P) and it went off!” Pulling in replacement artists with a matter of hours to spare is something that haunts promoters – as was the case here with HNNY pulling all gigs indefinitely due to ongoing mental health issues – causing nail biting phone calls and frantic emails to comrades in the music scene to desperately find a replacement. Percolate’s booking agent Simon Denby nailed it announcing veteran party-starter Krystal Klear earlier in the week.
One standout feature tonight is the stage. In an effort to enhance and invigorate the night’s sentimentality, the organisers have erected several levels of platform surrounding the decks. Flippantly casting away the stature of the traditional DJ booth, one can stand side-by-side, right in front or even above the disco jockeys tonight and the crowd do just that. Making the most of it they get sucked into a hub of bodies; a myriad of legs, hips and shaking bootys amidst smiles and laughter as the intimacy of a Percolate night is apparent. This is a club night with a difference, and the crowd are obviously enthralled by it.
Krywald and Farrer get the evening started in the way they know best; melodic techno and house, tropical flavours and eloquent vocal mixes. Today is a special day for the duo, having come straight from the factory with their very first vinyl release, on Gottwood Festival’s GOTTWAX. As an integral part of Percolate’s success, the residents have been there from the very first party, warming up for some of the world’s most prolific artists and closing the shows in style following the headline slot. These guys love what they do and it shows.
Late addition Krystal Klear steps up to the turntables with a flat-peaked hat pulled down low over his face, the crowd are giddy with excitement. Kleezy (as he calls himself on Instagram) unleashes a volley of sun-drenched jacking house and disco; tight and meticulous mixes that coax the dance floor into moving and shaking as it quickly fills up. Kleezy is swaying from side to side, unleashing pure disco fire and clearly enjoying himself as his two-hour set draws to a close.
Two thirds of funky disco-pop act, Manchester’s Crazy P step up next. Hot Toddy and Ron Basejam are missing their female vocalist Danielle Moore tonight as they take to the decks for a widely-anticipated DJ set. Deep, sultry disco grooves are laid down with expertise and the crowd are really find their footing. Toddy and Ron close their set with a vamped-up relick of David Morale and Inner City’s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’. It’s been a pleasure watching these two tease and caress the club into an absolute frenzy for the last two hours – stand out pieces include their own smash production ‘Like A Fool’ and an extended version of ‘Il Veliero’ by The Chaplin Band.
It’s been an all out groovy affair tonight and the final headline slot falls to Horse Meat Disco. Rare cosmic grooves and luscious Italo disco basslines ring out seamlessly around Oval Space. Percolate’s intentions for tonight were realised – a disco showcase to be reckoned with. The Wrenchman re-edit of Punkin Machine’s 1981 clash ‘I Need You Tonight’ promote silly shapes and moves amongst the prancers as the vocal asks, “Tell me what to do, tell me what to do to feel better? Tell me what to do, tell me what to do to feel warmer”. Carrie Lucas’ ‘ Dance with You’ and Italo monster Koto’s ‘Visitors’ resonate through the Percolate collective. Whether you are straight or queer, it is clear that if you’re here, love is the message from the Horse Meat guys.
Saving some confetti party poppers for the finale, organisers Simon Denby and Fred Letts can be found hands in the air at the front left of the decks. Smiles aplenty, they look on; satisfied in the knowledge they have provided their loyal followers with yet another memorable night of hot disco joints, raunchy flavours and downright party antics as the final February Percolate draws to a close. They learn from each event that takes place, taking audience participation into account, DJ reaction and ticket sales to create the complete package. This one has been a roadblock. Just to look around the club at any moment throughout the evening, you would find a gathering of people so happy to be alive. After all, dancing’s good for the soul.