72 years ago, St. Luke’s (built 1811-1832), on the corner of Leece and Berry Street, was bombed by Nazi Germany during the Liverpool Blitz. Its intricate stained glass windows shattered. Its roof caved in as the fires burned. It became a shell of its former self and even today neither the roof nor windows have been replaced. Yet, within this shell of a church Liverpudlians have found a way to bring breathe back life. On a weekly basis the aptly nicknamed ‘Bombed Out Church’ has been a venue for the arts. Where pews once lined the floor, a grassy garden remains, providing the perfect atmosphere for theatre, films, gigs, and even the odd capoeira session. On 20 June 2013, Freeze, an exceedingly beloved night in Liverpool, used the space for an unparalleled sunny afternoon, slowly transitioning into the evening, where more debauchery might have been excused. It was none other than a Kompakt Records party, which began in the church from early afternoon and led down the road to the Kazimier until late. Skyland Mountain, Adele Moss, Jemmy, Gui Boratto and Tobias Thomas played the main event. Following, Moss and Thomas journeyed down to the Kazimier for Round 2 with none other than Michael Mayer.
As we entered, the sun had just peaked over the west tower of the church. Walking through into the interior garden felt like being transported to another country, Croatia or Ibiza. Summer colours were all around. The atmosphere felt a lot more fresh and carefree than the last event with Luciano at St. George’s Hall. Sunglasses and sundresses were commonplace. Beer flowed from the bars. Capacity was top notch yet again – enough to feel part of something and not too much to put one off. Jemmy’s set was just coming to a close, but bouncy and ethereal was the overall theme. This flowed well into the main attraction of the event, the biggest name in Brazilian techno/house and one of the most renowned producers the world over, Gui Boratto. Known for playing 100% of his gigs live, Gui is considered not a DJ, but an artist. As such, his set looked like child’s play to him… if that child was a chain smoking virtuoso. The trigger happy surgeon on the decks sent the crowd through a journey of light and darkness, dosing the crowd with vibes ranging from radiant ‘Is this is actually my life…’ moments (‘Take My Breath Away’ – John Tejada remix; ‘Azzurra – It’s Not the Same Mix’), to seductive rock’n’roll (remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Paradise Circus’), and the characteristic heavier, darker techno, the creepy crawlies (‘Notations’).
In short, he played the hits and the people loved him for it, especially for saving ‘Beautiful Life’, his 2007 paragon, for the finale.
The screen behind him emitted a random blend of ever-warping images: cruise liners; computer chips; a woman in a white dress, spinning before a film studio; black and white clips of men drawing up plans round a table; close-ups of decks. Where once there were confetti cannons at St. George’s, in place we had a fog machine and this was a powerful one at that. With every emission, the crowd became enveloped, daring not to step in any direction until the smoke cleared. I couldn’t help but find it a bit eerie, staring up at the remnants of the stained glass windows, while smoke fed out of them. Smoke in a bombed out building? Smoke for celebration. Regardless, the crowd went mad for it. There’s no doubt that he enjoyed himself too. Anyone who was there saw him taking selfies on stage with the crowd behind him.
Now as any event planner knows, things don’t always go as planned. So it’s best not to worry about obstacles, but figure out ways to play these problems into your own hands. We found out upon entry to the event that permission to play music after 20:15 was denied due to the residents surrounding the area. But the day was saved nonetheless by that pervasive silent disco. A strange concept to grasp for some, one would wonder why anyone would bother. You can’t feel the bass as much. You can’t talk to your mates. And that’s true, you can’t do either of those. However, the trickling intricacies in Tobias Thomas’s set brought you closer to the music and there was still a feeling of connectedness with the other spectators. Special guests Todd Terje & Lindstrøm event turned up in the set with their collaboration, ‘Lanzarote’. Following Thomas, Jemmy jumped on the decks again to guide revellers on to the Kazimier afterparty.
Another masterpiece of a night by the celebrate team at Freeze. Look to the 21st of September, when they’ll team up with the Liverpool International Music Festival to bring Innervisions to the city. The night will host a stellar lineup: Dixon, Âme, and Guy Gerber. Stay tuned!
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.