20 April 2013 saw Yousef return to the ‘spiritual home’ of the internationally renowned Circus at the new venue, formerly known as the Masque, East Village Arts Club. 600 people gathered in the theatre for a five-hour set by the man, the creator of Circus (now in its tenth year), who remains at the vanguard of underground house music as a DJ, producer, remixer, and promoter. True to style and form, to this day, you won’t see a laptop sat next to his decks.
Where Easter Sunday saw the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Bicep, Martinez Brothers and so forth, now we gathered for an intimate and informative solo performance of house and techno. The set began at 22:00 and saw a steady build up as everyone filtered in before the last entry of 23:15. Upon entry, it was quite clear that the venue had undergone renovation. As the building that Circus built its name in after the closure of Cream, its rebirth must be a little bit significant to Yousef. Though its reputation was less than favourable to some towards the end of its days as the Masque, the name isn’t the only things that’s changed with the reopening. The smell of fresh carpet in the corridors. The red and gold paint covering the walls and pillars. The crisp surge of the new sound system. And a light system that could both stun and blind the soul.
Even as more and more people stepped onto the dance floor, it became clear that space was more than provided for. The vibe was one of true fans. No one fought for the lucky opportunity to be squashed up against one another on the railing, pathetically reaching hands out to the artist in hopes that they might lock eyes for a second or two. No, there was room a plenty to dance about and no one to tell you to do otherwise. As the night pushed on, so did the complexity and energy of the set. At first glance, the lighting wasn’t worth mentioning, but then again, why would EVAC unveil all its new tricks all at once. As the pace quickened, fog filled the air, more previously unseen light fixtures appeared above, and dancers began to find extra space on the amphitheatre-style steps that backed up to the back wall. Though the volume and basslines may have amplified, the clarity surprisingly didn’t diminish much, as tends to happen in most venues.
The vibe surged all sails ahead into his finale at 03:00, where he received a standing ovation of respect and adulation. No night’s made me as proud to be an inhabitant of Liverpool thus yet. To spend an exclusive five hours with such a crucial figure to Liverpool’s electronic scene was priceless. For anyone who happened to miss the event or who just wants to relive the glory, Yousef has graciously posted an hour long section of the set on soundcloud, just as things started to heat up. Look for the whole five-hour set to be uploaded soon! Now to look forward to bank holiday Sunday, wherin Circus will be presenting Rebel Rave with Art Department, Damian Lazarus, Yousef, Eats Everything, Infinity Ink, and Lewis Boardman. Get involved.