Thursday, 15 October 2009

Music: Armand van Helden @ Matter. The Dish (Online)

Armand Van Helden – Matter – 24.05.09

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Written by Gordon Stribling. Tuesday, May 26, 2009

London’s club scene has been in something of a decline in recent years, with infamous haunts such as The End and Turnmills disappearing off the clubbing radar. Fortunately, Fabric-owned club Matter has taken on part of the responsibility of breathing life back into the scene.

The club is located inside the former Millennium Dome alongside the O2 arena and a huge array of bars and shops. Unfortunately, the dome is miles away from anything else of interest (other than the David Beckham Academy, of course), so the resident Londoner more used to hopping on a tube for twenty minutes is unlikely to venture this far unless it’s for a suitably special occasion. Surely, then, with Armand van Helden, Dizzee Rascal and Evil Nine on the line-up, a visit to Sunday’s event was worthy of kayaking across the Thames itself.

After getting lost in the concrete jungle of pre-Olympic games London and being shouted at by a Scottish couple for not knowing who Susan Boyle was (is she a news reader?) we were greeted at the club by the sounds of Air Recordings head-honcho, Ali B. His set, much like his productions, was breakbeat-orientated and tinged with the kind of funk-fuelled sounds you’d expect to hear from the man behind tracks like Funk 4 Peace and Beats on a String.

Next up was Jack Beats who steered the music along a more eclectic path, touching on booty-shaking electro house and shelf-wobbling Dubstep. Among the mish-mash of tunes was yet another remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill‘, which certainly kicked the crowd’s enthusiasm into fifth gear, despite falling way short of Skream’s sublime effort.

Then headliner Armand van Helden took to the stage, minus the man many people had come to see, Dizzee Rascal*. Perhaps sensing his audience’s disappointment, Van Helden’s set was packed with crowd-pleasing anthems including the chart-topping collaboration with Dizzee, ‘Bonkers’. His other productions, My, My, My and You Don’t Know Me, followed, as well as Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time‘ and Mylo’s Dr Pressure, by which point the crowd had all but forgotten about the bonkers one’s lack of attendance.

As Van Helden left to universal applause and the curtain was drawn on the main stage, Evil Nine took to the helm at the back of the room, much to the crowd’s confusion. In surprising contrast to their shift in musical direction seen in They Live!, the Brighton-based duo unleashed a set of pure, unadulterated breaks, reminiscent of their 2004 album You Can Be Special Too. Unfortunately, many of the crowd were beginning to wane at this point (perhaps due to exhaustion after Van Helden’s set), but their appreciation of the music itself was evident from the smiles that lit up their tired faces.

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