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Half Baked have grown so much in its five years and this review will highlight some observations from there 5th Birthday party which was headlined by Zip the Perlon label boss alongside many others. There 5th birthday was an 18 hour party and we came to see if this would be boring or an much needed extended birthday bash.

Over the last few years London has seen a rapid change in its nightlife landscape with club closures,  local authorities clamping down and new parties starting and old ones stopping. Half Baked grew from a very small humble idea and there have been many positives which we discovered on there 5th birthday.

The venue Studio 338 is a little out of the way on the motorway towards South London, Secretsundaze have used the space in the past decorating the outside terrace to great effect with the parties signature yellow and black colour scheme. I was curious to see how Half Baked dressed the venue and how well they used the space.

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I entered the venue around midnight Saturday evening and to give you context he part started a cool 12 hears earlier at midday, so there were lots of heads who had been out all day and more heads rolling in as late as me. On entering the club I recognised lots of regular faces, cool club kids who have made the effort for one of London front running deep house parties.    There was a glitter bath that saw groups of friends taking pictured and enjoying the nightclub theatre. In the opposite side was a photo booth which I ended up with some random which was fun.

Whilst I waited patiently at the bar I could hear the thump of the sub bass and some lead sounds which got me intrigued, the vibe was deep and as I entered the main room. The main room terrace was magically transformed with the Half Baked signature bike hanging in the middle and I could really sense happy energy, with people smiling and dancing and lots of girls and boys throwing shapes to Hold Youth. Hold Youth have had a great year with the release of there album De La Club which has been critically acclaimed. Great job overall warming up for Zip which most certainly would have been on there mind. As the time approached 1am I noticed a change, people clearly came to see Zip and the atmosphere was rising.

 That small figure Thomas Franzmann stepped into the already busy dj booth and so it began. The journey and story telling which within 20 minutes stood apart from all the great music I had heard that night already. Zip does seem to be a very polarising figure as in the forums he has legions of fans which is very commendable considering he has the slightest inclination for self promotion or social media which is a rarity these days. Zip is a self-confessed ‘digger’ he strictly plays vinyl only and it can be very frustrating to figure out what he is actually rinsing. On this occasion I did recognise some of the wax which included Mood 2 Swing, Schatrax and Masters At Work. As I looked around the room of about 600 people I pretty much noticed the majority of the room grooving, lots of smiles and a real sense of togetherness and energy. I tried to see if anyone was not enjoying themselves but I could not. For good 15-20 minute solid blocks, I danced and enjoyed the sounds and musicality, the vocals and seamless mixing. The 3hr set seemed to fly by which is always a good sign and overall this was the stand out set from an already great party with several djs and live acts who really kept the tapestry and mood of Half Baked consistent for nearly 18 hours.

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After Zip finished Mike Shannon took to the booth to keep the groove going as he pushed the intensity a bit and the tone a little harder. As we popped into the 2nd room upstairs which was more intimate and reminded me of those cool French deep house, house parties. The groove was deep and again everyone looked to be enjoying the closing set in the smaller surroundings by Julietta.

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Overall Half Baked are growing from strength to strength and the bookings seem to always be on point, never obvious or commercial. The party started at midday on the Saturday with local stars from Keep On Going, Colors & Damaged to keep the vibe true and also inline with the Half Baked sound. The crowds are as you would expect, knowledgeable, young, well dressed and friendly.  For a party that lasted 18 hours there was enough interesting djs and live acts and the way the venue was dressed made the difference to the birthday celebrations. 14 hours into the party and the club was still busy with new faces piling in for some dance floor action.  As the Half Baked agency and record label grow the future of this project looks to only grow better and not commercially. This party is very well run, with a distinct look, feel and sound, the venues or sound are never staid or safe and there always seems to be genuine energy and excitement for the djs on the bill. If you havent already checked this party we would recommend you do, if you are already in the know, we might just see you soon.  If you would like to catch the vibe there are no more tickets on sale on RA however there might be people re-selling there already bought tickets, check the link for full line up and re-sell ticket details here and here.

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