I rolled into the Superhero-filled Terrace just in time to catch Mr. T (behind the beard and bling lurked Oliver Twizt) hand over the reigns to a creepy Friday the 13th mask wearing Laidback Luke. Luke quickly had the rammed Terrace raving as he smashed out big-room house and electro numbers at lightening speed.
Meanwhile, in the Main Room, as Gareth Wyn faded out his final offering, Above and Beyond literally bounded up to the decks and had a crowd clap and sing-a-long going before I had finished scratching my nose. I knew there was all sorts of housey fun going on in the Terrace next door, but to me the Euphoric Communal Chorus is what Cream is all about – and no one does Community quite like Above and Beyond.
The four-eyed monsters dropped crowd favourite Language by Porter Robinson very early in the set but, as I was soon to discover, with A&B – everything’s a crowd favourite. There were hardly any moments when all hands weren’t cast towards the roof – and those rare moments would be filled by a few eager beachballs amiably flopping around the top of people’s heads, picking up dandruff… Then A&B would drop a banger like the Eric Prydz remix of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus and the beachballs would be swallowed in a sea of fist pumps.
We also heard the Above and Beyond classic Sun and Moon and the set finished with the Oceanlab anthem On A Good Day, during which the chorus from the crowd was so robust I thought they’d hear us down the West End. “You sound awesome,” A&B told us, with their customary messages of love flashing across a screen in front of the DJ booth. “This is group therapy. Just the kind of therapy we need.”
The motivational messages rolled thick and fast from here, as we were reminded that the future is what we make it, we made this day amazing for them and everything will be f**king fantastic thank you thank you thank you…
I always come away from an Above and Beyond set feeling like I am in a deep romantic relationship with them and that I provide the radiant beacon of hope in their existence. Hey Digweed – how come you never make me feel appreciated like that, hm?
Back in the Terrace and Laidback Luke was wrapping up what looked like it had been a rager of a set. I always think he’s at his best with a heavy-hitting bassline and nothing else and this seemed to be the place he’d ended up as I grooved to an instrumental mix of Sander Van Doorn’s Girl You Lost to Cocaine. Laidback’s final tune was an absolute classic: we were all thrown back to the 90s with Wildchild’s Renegade Master as Fake Blood assumed the position.
There was a creative, movie-style intro from Fake Blood, at the summary of which he downed a shot and kicked in with a seriously menacing bassline. What followed was a quality set that I enjoyed even more than what I heard of Laidback Luke’s, as Fake Blood had taken out the scratchy electro treble that had been slightly bugging me in Laidback’s set. He also threw in a cheeky Green Velevet La La Land remix – which is always win.
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