Dance like no-one is watching is what they say. It’s what they say when a club is packed full of sweaty hyped-up revellers.
Revellers who take glugs of rum and coke and look angry when someone barges past them and spills the sticky liquid on their feet. Revellers who go wild when the DJ drops the track they’d been itching to hear, hands in the air trying to grab the beats.
But what do they say when there is no club? What do they say when the clubs have been closed for a year?
What do they say when everything else has been open then closed as the lockdown became tiers and the tiers were never the nice tiers of a wedding cake?
Those revellers still exist. They haven’t been hibernating for the year.
For them dancing like no-one is watching is still their ultimate joy, and that’s why they packed in to their kitchens, their living rooms, their bedrooms and their (insert name of alternate location here) other rooms for four and a half hours of party magic on Saturday night (March 27).
Counting down to the start of British Summer Time it was reminiscent of the hope everyone felt counting down to 2021.
But this time there was even more to be hopeful for because instead of counting down to the dark grey days of rain soaked January there is the brightness of summer to look forward to – an extra hour of light and an extra hour of hope for the future.
It didn’t quite get to the wonderful feeling of finishing a party by watching the sun rise over the hills (because it finished at 1am not 7) but, just like Rave to the Moon, there was an absolutely stellar line up.
But, not entirely dissimilar to life throughout most of the pandemic, I stayed in the main room. Mostly because I could watch it on Twitch so could play it on my big TV but also because I wanted a lot of bang for my buck.
The bang being quick 15 minute sets to pack in as many DJs as possible (anyone who has stood next to me at a festival while I explain my idea to have all the bands playing for 15 minutes max each so the event just takes a day will know how happy this makes me).
Well, DJs and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Instead of DJing she kicked off the night by sparkling her way through two tracks If This Ain’t Love and Holiday by Dizzee Rascal. Then it was over to Adam Fabulous who kept the party vibe going (while also promoting his separate room) by being fabulous.
Slipmatt always reminds me of going to school on the coach when someone would have a tape of his tunes. He’s much older now, like all of us, and was playing from his home rather than in a field but still fantastic.
Also fitting in the “still going strong but I hadn’t realised they were still making music” category was Altern8.
Nowadays it is mostly just Mark’s thang, with Josh Doherty joining for live stuff (remember live stuff?) and Mark may or may not have been in his kitchen. It was a very good set wherever he was.
He’s another one I remember from back in the day – mostly BBC Radio 1 days. Nowadays I know he’s got a nice kitchen and can still pick some awesome tunes.
DJs I should have been aware of before but sadly wasn’t are Georgie Rogers, Mattana, DJ Michelle, and Jax Jones. The first three with great party vibes and Jax with a hat that reminded me of one from the Mario Brothers.
Earlier on in the pandemic I chanced upon Howard from Take That djing on an Instagram Live. I thought wtf because it definitely wasn’t the kind of music I would have thought he would play, and I was also confused by his beard (I’m not a massive fan of beards).
That experience meant I was prepared for what happened at BST – yep, Howard was at the rave and he ensured everyone was dancing (by everyone, I cannot guarantee there weren’t people just sitting on their sofa but that’s the world of a show where the dancefloor is a bedroom/ kitchen or living room).
I know I should know Matt Black (from Coldcut) but I didn’t before the rave – but just look at the ray of sunshine that’s his shirt! My notes from his set say “Funky soulful colourful beats” and that’s all you need to know.
Also astoundingly good dnb from DJ Rap. Reminds me of the days when I was considering buying a pair of Reebok Classics – but it was much much fresher than those days of old. She’s the kind of DJ I should have been aware of a long time ago – she absolutely smashed it.
As someone who is looking at speakers at the moment, it’s a possibility I had never considered but I’ll probably leave it for people like him with his splendid beatboxing skills.
Then finishing up the great night with another unknown to me but superb DJ in the form of AAA Badboy.
But for a couple of hours it was real. It was the shared experience of hundreds of people partying like they were out while raising thousands of pounds for Calm – the Campaign Against Living Miserably at the same time.
It was an epic way to say goodbye to the dark months and to instil some hope for the future.
We made it. One day we’ll be together but for now we made it to British Summer Time.
Stay safe for another week!