Having built a steady following over the past 18 months, already hosting the likes of Greg Wilson and Tony Humphries in 2013, excitement in North London reached a fever pitch for November’s edition of The Date, held at Loft Studios and featuring a three hour set from the legendary Frankie Knuckles.
Perhaps unsurprising given the stellar line-up (support came from Chicago’s Daniel Wang alongside The Date residents Stuart Patterson and Tim Keenoy), the night was completely sold out weeks in advance and promoters were warning clubbers to arrive early or face lengthy queues. The advice was obviously well heeded as the club was already around 80% full when we arrived – and this was just after 11.30!
Clubbers who haven’t checked out Loft Studios yet, but who like the vibe of Peckham’s Bussey Building, where Patterson and Keenoy are hosting their new night Giant, will probably really like the venue, which is all exposed brickwork with wooden ceiling beams set around a cobbled courtyard. Leading up to midnight Stuart Patterson was holding court downstairs, warming the crowd up for the headliner with some amazing geisha visuals in action behind him. The room went mental for the arrival of Frankie Knuckles, who kicked off his set with one of his own tracks in the form of ‘Bac N Da Day’. The three hour set that followed was a pure delight and a masterclass in the variety that can be weaved into a single house set, moving from ten-minute jazz horn interludes to dropping ‘Dreams’ by soft rock legends Fleetwood Mac as it neared 3am.
Upstairs had been designated the disco space for the evening, in a departure from the usual Date format of house upstairs, and a huge mirrorball in the middle of what is a really beautiful space set the scene perfectly. No DJ can feel too bad for drawing a smaller crowd when you’re up against the likes of Frankie Knuckles in the main room, and Daniel Wang genuinely looked like he was having a blast, bouncing around behind the decks and playing the kind of tunes that lived up to his reputation as a master of playful beats. If dropping Eddy Grant’s ‘Electric Avenue’ in the middle of his disco set had the smaller but delighted crowd going mad, then mixing it into Todd Terje’s ‘Inspector Norse’ had more than a few people who’d popped up to check out the second room rethinking their plans to head back downstairs.
Upstairs started to fill up later in the night, not just because Frankie Knuckles was drawing to a close downstairs but because many of the people we chatted to were there to catch resident Tim Keenoy’s 4am set – it was definitely testament to the quality of the night overall, not just the draw of the headliner, that the room was filling up as opposed to emptying out the later it got.
The Date has gone from strength to strength, and is now planning its second birthday party, scheduled for late February/early March time. Judging by the caliber of music on offer across the event, it’ll undoubtedly be a night worth making the trip to North West London for.
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