Tuesday, 9 September 2008

REVIEW: SECRETSUNDAZE, The Arches Open Air Courtyard, Sunday 24th August

Many things can ruin a Sunday garden beat fest: winding toilet queues, progressively warm beer, tentative volume levels – but more than anything a potential sunsetter knees-up can be foiled by rain. The sky started off beautiful - clear, and blue. Then we had cloud, wandering over in patches. Then it went grey, very grey. People carried on dancing, pretending they weren’t ready to run for cover. Aviators stayed out. Flipflops stayed on.

Pornographic and very funny art adorning the walls.

But in the end…the rain never came. And the beer wasn’t that warm, nor the toilet queues that long. The soundsystem was not quite running at a healthy volume – it did mean the chance for a proper chat, but as the afternoon wore on the need for a more involving volume became apparent. The fact that on approaching the venue there was no chance of getting lost, as the bass could be heard several streets away, made the reality all the more disappointing. But the rain never came, and despite other complaints this turned out to be a class event.

Shiny Disco Balls in the sun.

The venue was perfect – a flashing, intimate indoor space (if mostly deserted for the first five hours due to the good weather), and a brilliant, atmospheric outdoor courtyard, flanked by arches on one side, and by traditional London brick buildings on the other, it lived up to its ‘sprawling urban backdrop’ claim. The décor was fun and flashy whilst not taking itself too seriously, and the two bars quick in service and not over priced.

Musically things started off a little too housey for my personal taste but soon progressed to become sharper and more techy, whilst retaining the funky and breezy element perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Keith Worthy also added an eclectic element, checking in via the Detroit vibe before going leftfield to a more chilled out feel, and then back to a progressive tech style. As the sun set Carl Craig took things a little darker, notching up the four-to-the-floor factor, before the 10.30pm curfew drew things to a close before the rain could be further tempted.

Me and Phil in front of some urban decay, and shit.

All photos are thanks to Hannah Parkin, my photographer, and are her copyright, All Rights Reserved 2008.

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