All you have to do is turn on your computer to read about the name Erol Alkan, whether it’s about who he’s remixing, soon-to-be producing or just weather it’s more praise in his direction; it seems impossible to get away from “London’s hottest Deejay” ™.
And it seems by the time we get there at 11 that we aren’t the only ones who have the news with long snaking cues already formed. Tickets were still apparently available on the door, yet a one-in one-out system was already in place even to those with tickets, (perhaps anything to do with the allegedly long guest list) something I’ve never seen in humble Bath for a mere dj set.
Inside the place is chaotic, suggesting tickets have been oversold. But I’m pleased to see that the audience, although not completely scenester free, is more than happy to start dancing early rather than pout by the bar. However this leads to the dj booth being pasted in human wallpaper hours before Alkan has had the opportunity to grace it. Christ, don’t even get me started on the wait at the bar though.
By the time Mr. Alkan took over the reigns to the club the dance floor was like a victim-shelter unit, cramped, sweaty and a little bit emotional. Instantly jumping into “Walkman” off SebastiAn‘s recent “Ross Ross Ross” EP, Alkan gave the crowd exactly what was needed after the generic indie mixing of the dj prior. Dragging the song out through extending the bassline, Alkan threw a new slant on the song which made you wonder why sebastion has only released a radio length version of the song already.
And Alkan wasn’t finished with sebastiAn yet, leading walkman straight into the ep’s title track, and in my opinion the Frenchman’s finest moment so far. The song truly is a monster, with a bassline keeping a repetitive jumping rhythm throughout, yet overpowered by a tag team of heavy synths and a string arrangement that make the track absolutely unstoppable.
Rightly so Alkan didn’t let the bassline slide for a few while, dropping it back into the mix, like a parent watching you on a car journey, yet in this case he was making sure the kids weren’t up to good, all the best sounds around.
By the time Rossx3 was a distant memory my ears had been taken along a journey of nothing I had heard before, not as groundbreaking as his set opening (but seriously, what could have been?) but more than enough to keep you dancing, and dancing and dancing…until the sweet sound of cymbals sneaked in-between basslines hinting at one thing and one thing only: “Boy from School”. After his constant chopping for an hour or so he gave himself the liberty of playing his own Hot Chip remix, just as he made a few months back, baiting with the originally shy electronic element of the song to overpower the groovy bassline, finally overthrowing it in a fast pace finale making it one of, if not the remix of the past 12 months . Yet, while everyone was going at it presuming they had another half to his remix to go Alkan performed the outrageous, dropping the most awkward indie opening drumbeat right through the soft hot chip vocals – “Idioteque“.
Showing he knew what the crowd wanted, he let it run throughout, to insane cheers, finally answering a questions that been puzzling me for years now: is it actually possible to play any Radiohead in a club and keep the folks going? well, he answered that question with an emphatic yes!
By the finish of the Kid A masterpiece I’m pretty sure Alkan could have been played some Talking Heads and no-one would have noticed, such was the insane love Erol was receiving, who was of course still corned in his booth by a boulder of happy punters. And where exactly does one go from there to finish an insane set? Simple, he nods to the finest set closing track there is – the tried and tested “One More Time” by Daft Punk.
The track, itself having been left for a couple of years whilst other electronic bands steal ‘Punk’s limelight, sounds as fresh as when it first invaded the whole country at the turn of the century. Finally, raising a bar that was now nonexistent, Alkan interspersed “Aerodynamic” with the original daft punk vocals, jittering the psychedelic riff to give a perfect ending to a very, very good set and evening.
Pretend you were, listen to: