It’s the Saturday night of the Easter weekend and with dreams of chocolate eggs and Techno in my head, I get into Dolans warehouse where Dan Sykes opens proceedings with a statement of intent. The Techno is sharp, precise and presses along molto vivance. The set has that little extra oomph this time around compared to some of the previous sets I’ve heard from this chap, most likely due to the fact that tonight will be Sykes’ final set for the time being as a resident. Going out with a bang appears to be the order of the night; proper order it is too.
ABOVE, DAN SYKES
Arriving on stage, Sunil keeps things at a similar tempo. The tracks are full, gargantuan and the meticulous foundations he establishes for the superstructure of his set ensure that no force could possibly disturb the building you can feel rising as the night progresses…
The set has a real crunch to it, a veritable bowl of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. Despite the deliciousness of each bite, you can still feel that sickly sweet Techno goodness rotting every tooth out of your head. Indeed, as you get deeper into the bowl, you begin to notice some dastardly chemical taste beginning to infiltrate your perception; your masticating jaw rattled beyond control by that grunting beast of a Void rig. The music is growing more unsettling, but in the best possible way.
ABOVE, SUNIL SHARPE
The figurative engineers have arrived to evaluate the site as the structure develops and the set creaks and kicks like a chainsaw motor; steel on steel-diamond drill bits shattering in the dust.
Of course, the irony of using so many construction images to describe a set in which the DJ destroys the place isn’t lost on this correspondent…
Sharpe’s substantial mixing style throws balls of lead into the mixer, ensuring that everything you hear is immensely heavy, the jab of the kick drums punching from the waist, throwing the entirety of its weight into the fist. Dave Clarke’s Thunder grumbles in the bass bins and things are beginning to get a little out of hand….
Those who have found themselves pressed against the back wall of the warehouse attempt in vain to raise their arms, the music expanding with the inconceivable pressure known only on the ocean floor. Punching the air here might as well be an exercise in preparing for the colonization of Mars; the gravity is dense and it feels like your arms weigh four-hundred pounds each.
SUNIL SHARPE ROCKS THE WAREHOUSE
Knowing that the night will quickly be coming to an end. Sharpe decides to tip things over the edge of the precipice and in a flash; the tempo has shot up about fifteen BPM. If we were listening at one point to Techno, things have suddenly shot into the Hard House territory; with no sign that the set is going to calm down. The pagans are leaping around the fire, summoning their heathen gods as the floor rocks. There’s Gabber in the air and looking up at the balcony, you can even see the Macronite residents and crew loosing the plot and somewhere in the vortex, things have gotten so bafflingly fast and outrageously good I’m reminded of those daft Southern Baptist church where everyone starts speaking in tongues.
And now that the music has stopped and crowd cheers appreciatively, I realise that the end of Sharpe’s set was so outrageously filthy the only simile I can use to adequately describe it is as if I just had a pop at my own grandmother. AND she was a ride!
Dirty business. And sensational to boot.
ABOVE, OM UNIT
Since I’ve started reviewing gigs in this capacity, I can stay that Sunil Sharpe’s set is definitely one of my highlights of the calendar year. Indeed, it’s been some months since I’ve seen the crowd get into a set with such relentless vigour. He was so good I actually found it difficult to keep away from the warehouse and didn’t devote enough time to checking out Om Unit and Tamen spread out throughout the Dolans complex. A poor move on this correspondents part, although in my defence, Sharpe’s set was just too good to ignore.
So how should I conclude this review…? Whereas other acts have built up walls of bass-heavy music, Sharpe’s set constructed a Roman arch, opening the set up in such a way that it gives the audience a sense of space that will not be heard on your average weekend; while other DJ’s and producers have built temples from bricks, Sharpe constructed a cathedral of sound from vaulted arches and buttresses.
Can I get an amen?
Written by Stuart Nealon