As summer winds down and the nights get darker, London club programming comes into full affect and Craig Richards has named his monthly party at Fabric, Collisions. In Craig’s words ‘the aim being to cover as much musical ground as possible’. Collisions is the event in which two or more bodies exert forces on each other in about a relatively short time. the concept is simple inviting close friends to stretch out and explore records, genres, frequencies and sounds. All these main room marque names play with a certain degree of confidence but what does that look like and sound like when carefully collided together..?
Fabric turns 19 this weekend check the RA ticker link here for line up and tickets.
For this outing we had Craig Richards colliding b2b with Nicolas Lutz for 5 hours an extended warm up passing the baton to Ricardo Villalobos for 6 solid hours. Room 2 saw Dave Clark flex out the Pioneer system for 4 hours with support from Mr Jones.
We know the Ricardo billings at Fabric mean a long night with a late start and later finish, the final curtain close have sometimes grooved effortlessly into Sunday afternoon. Party preparation, patience and party stamina are key. We arrived at 2:48am the club had a small queue or the usual mix of international dancers and local heads who step out to.
As we enter the club and swerve past the cloakroom queue we can slowly hear the sub bass and low-end piercing through the doors. We descend into the main room and get hit with the warmth and atmosphere, it still amazes the room 1 sound system that casually punctures each crevice in the club. The strobes flicker and strut in formation to the groove. In the booth we had the ever so serious Nicolas back to back with Craig Richards, it’s a hard game to play but we do try to track i.d when we are out and about however with certain djs the job gets very difficult.
We popped our heads into room 2 and it was already getting serious, heads down and driving 134bpm techno for those that like it serious and no-nonsense. the new Pioneer system sounds great and really details all the nuances and minor details within each composition. The story in Room 2 was already being told and from wall to wall the room was sardine like packed with bodies enjoying the techno on display.
Back to Room 1 as we saw Craig and Nicolas exchange words and hold vinyl in their hands as if this was an ongoing discussion of sorts. Nicolas casually rolled out electro and breaks which sounded Drexciya inspired lots of 808 & 909 drum patterns and metallic, caustic bleeps, clicks and stabbing chords. The main room dance floor was deceptively busy it never looks that full until you try to meander into the dance pit and try to find a spot. We aimed for in front of the booth in the middle to try and obtain the best audio signal from the speakers up front and back. The many bodies bobbing, weaving, bumping, sliding and flowing in, and around the space was noticeable. The atmosphere was palpable as the energy slowly started to glow & creep. Craig and Nicolas pushed the story into harder techno territory, restraining the bpm which felt patient at less than 125. Craig dropped in a rave number which caused applause and pockets of reaction which looked like hands in the air and fist pumps. It was now 4am and Nicolas then took a diversion playing a skippy hi hat garage number with fidgety claps and snares. Craig and Nicolas play b2b often and the musical diversity and range is vast, it never sounds the same and also results in intrigue and strong story telling which comes across as easy & considered.
Around 4:30am Ricardo appeared in the main room booth and as always as soon as the majority of the dance floor see his floppy, relaxed and casually approachable tall slender frame the cheers and happy smiles infect like waves. It is very noticeable when Ricardo takes over as he effortlessly keeps the same energy, intensity & drive but alway’ plays these minimal stripped back numbers that palette cleanse the ears for the new chapter of the story being told, a continuation and nod forward long into the night. the label ODE springs to mind with is dreamy subtle detail and super swing shimmy shimmy bass lines.
Ricardo these days looks more focused, sober and attentive, he most certainly looks like the most relaxed person in the club which is no mean feat considering its all eye on him and he most probably is the marquee name on the billing in most clubs we works in. After a solid 45 minutes of settling in the main room Ricardo started to slowly unravel the story line, the tracks mixed easily and the crowd appeared to relaxed and sit back for the journey to unfold. the main room significantly got busier as it always does, The main room can feel very intimate on nights like this. As Ricardo eased through the gears, time slowed till it didn’t really have much importance right now. the room 1 sound system always amazes as it details the various tracks being shared with ease, grace and clarity. LFO Leeds Warehouse Mix got the crowd really hyped as the siren and stabbing chords rolled around the room, the immediate faces around me had smiles, closed eyes, or hands in the air. This was slowly feeling like Ricardo at his best, playing with ease and going in all types of strange ways and funky directions. as it rolled on past 8/9am the rave was in full swing, Ricardo was into the groove and the tracks just kept building the story and carrying the baton very well from the confident and clinical display from Craig & Nicolas.
Paul Rutherford Get Real Happy House Mix which came out in the 1960s with the distinguished vocal of Paul who was the 2nd vocalist in Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Ricardo has a playful humour to his sets and always plays a few vocals throughout the performance. Fingers Inc with the magical keys and vocal snippets of Larry Heard also raised the bar as we started to push on past 9/10am. It was getting later into the morning, only the stamina crew remained. the bodies on the dance floor had thinned slightly, it was not a fling your hands in the air spacious but enough to get down and throw some shapes. As it etched closer to 10am Ricardo has been playing a rework of Madonna Justify My Love which appears to be a 2017 re edit on ODE which i do not know who is but Ricardo played this later into his set at Dekmantel, Houghton & now Fabric. For the last few closing numbers Ricardo totally curveballed the dance floor playing El Cantante Hector Lavoe which is a Puerto Rican salsa singer. This salsa segment played out the last 20 minutes of the night, half the dance floor had the ‘is he kidding me face’ the other half myself included couldn’t stop smiling, trying to desperately salsa which feels the total opposite to 2 step which i had been masterful at for the last 8 hours.
I have seen Ricardo play countless times around the world and several times in main room Fabric for the last few occasions he has played solo and really still looks to enjoy himself, he has that childlike imagination and confidence to go seek, share and explore the muic which he collides together with ease and grace. After all he’s years it sounds fresh and new, the desire and passion has not waived one bit. Ricardo consistently plays with confidence and it really is a joy to witness, don’t believe me join the many revellers on the dance floor and judge for yourself. The Fabric birthday is around the corner and he will play again with confidence i am assured judging by this outing.
Fabric 19th birthday RA ticket link here.