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Review: Fabric 16th Birthday, London, 2015

The Sunday shift gets all kinds of crazy.

When Islington Council began investigating Fabric London's licence the club was in serious trouble; it looked for a moment that the north London venue might never make it to its sweet sixteenth. Fabric is one of the few iconic clubs left in London, and it's a brand that's recognised and renowned the world over for its forward thinking booking policy and love of sound. Fabric puts its residents first; no DJ or act is bigger than Craig Richards or Terry Francis. Ricardo Villalobos, Jamie Jones, Apollonia and Marcel Dettmann all shared headline status alongside the two legendary residents for the sweet sixteenth celebrations.

I entered the club at 4.30pm Sunday afternoon. With Saturday night focused on banging techno, Sunday afternoon and early evening was focused on groove. In R3 Jamie Jones, who stuck around all day after his peak time Sunday morning set, was laughing and joking with Craig Richards behind the decks, both of them got involved in the birthday fancy dress and between them offered dreamy and experimental sounds. Apollonia, who began their set at 4pm, looked fresh as daisies - Shonky would lay down something smooth that would get your hips moving and Dan and Dyed would follow suit. Over the duration of the five and half hours, it was one of the best sets I've ever seen them play, when they went for it, they went for it, but never did it get too much and never did it get boring.

After Apollonia had received a huge standing ovation in R1, the act I was most excited to see took to the live stage, located at the back of R1. Paranoid London's live act is an absolute perfect fit for Fabric's main room, Light Tunnel and Eating Glue were no doubt the biggest tracks of their one hour live show that really caught the imagination of me and everybody around me. Prosumer followed and for about an hour the whole party felt a bit mellow - this was when I choose to seek fresh air and Voodoo Ray's pizza.

Come 1am, I was back in the main room and perched on the main room DJ booth partying like a rockstar. I'm not normally a fan of the booth but Villalobos (without doubt my favourite DJ) and Richards were going back-to-back, this time I was allowed. I had a major fan boy moment when Ricardo, who was sat on the floor most of the time, stood up and began flicking through his vinyl selections right in front of me, naturally, I expressed my love for him like a fourteen year old boy who had just met his female celebrity crush for the first time (elephant juice). He grabbed my arm, thanked me and continued to mince around the DJ booth, grabbing his drink before twisting some knobs while Richards had the dance floor losing their shit.

Unfortunately this was the last I saw from my hero, when I returned from the bar, Villalobos was gone and Dyed Soundorom was in his place. Apparently he had gone home already, with Richards left to pick up the pieces like usual. This is what I love about Ricardo, he's a man who knows his records but not his limits. Yes, I was massively disappointed but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Richards and Soundorom absolutely ROCKED it and come 6am the party felt like it was only getting started.

I had spent fourteen hours inside one of the best clubs in the world. How many clubs around the world are designed for you to spend 15-30 hours inside without getting bored or seeking daylight? Berghain/Panorama Bar is of course the first venue that comes to mind but how many others? Ticket prices were no more than £25, G&T's were only £5 and water was only £2.50, with free refills at hand. Enter before 5pm Sunday afternoon and you got a wrist band that allowed re-entry before 10pm Sunday evening. After spending another summer on the island of Ibiza, this was an absolute treat.


WORDS | Andrew Leese PHOTOGRAPHY | @nickensingphoto

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