Jonjon checks out the ESM Launch Party, featuring Fred Falke, Starsmith and Burns at The Nest, Dalston, 17/11/11.
Dalston gets a lot of stick... and deservedly so. It’s a punchline to any attempt at social commentary on “youth” and “fashion”. However “The Nest” doesn’t really fit in... it’s a bit too commercial, a bit too slick. It’s missing the dank, a mysterious musk and sticky floors. How can I put this nicely? It isn’t cool. How do I know? It let me in without having to queue. Admittedly the place *was* near empty but still, that isn’t right.
When I say empty I’m not being completely accurate. It’s not often you walk into a small club on a chilly Thursday evening and see the crowd near the dj booth already packed five or six rows deep. Admittedly the space near the dj booth is cramped but at similar gigs I’ve attended you were able to get close all night... what is going on? The crowd... how to explain the crowd... how many people attend a sweaty club gig wearing chinos, brown leather shoes and striped collared shirts? Not me, but this crowd did – when did it become cool to be preppy in a club? Not faux preppy, I mean true, Animal House preppy. They even had US accents. Does Smirnoff Black wash more easily out of an oxford shirt? Was I the one out of place?
There wasn’t much dancing happening on arrival. The crowd, what there was of one, was massed near the dj booth and the dj (who according to the set times list was Burns) was playing an excellent set of French house/Italo disco, but the dancing was minimal. This changed quickly however... Burns (or whoever he was – I take care in my reviews) stepped back and the music was turned down a tad. That was when the chant started; “Golden CAGE! Golden CAGE! GOLDEN CAGE!”. These guys (and the crowd was overwhelmingly guys) were here for one reason alone: Fred Falke.
You should know who Fred Falke is (go buy Rubicon or Music for my Friends!). First garnering notice with Alan Braxe, he’s released some excellent, and some terrible, remixes. Tonight we were lucky. On arrival I’d been worried by seeing his set was only for one hour, but I shouldn’t. He opened with his recent remix of Metronomy’s The Look and played his greatest hits – remixes of Robyn’s Dancing On My Own, tracks from Rubicon and snippets of Daft Punk and finishing with his ever popular remix of Whitest Boy Alive’s Golden Cage, sending the collared shirt crowd into an ironically ecstasy-lacking ecstasy. Not only was his set excellent, but he also played the bass to his tracks live. Short, but amazing.
I felt a tad sorry for Starsmith. He’s talented and could have headlined on his own but the crowd had seen what they wanted to see and began to dissipate. I can only hope the money I presume he’s raking in from his high-profile collaborations and remixes is enough to sustain him.
ESM is next scheduled for January with Burns as the only act confirmed. Go if you get the chance. Burns is an excellent dj, the crowd can only get better (first nights and all) and the cost was minimal for the talent involved (£3? Bargain). If you usually avoid the East End don’t let that put you off, and if you’re a local take advantage of the talent appearing in your backyard.
Review by Jonjon