Yousef Presents CIRCUS Birthday, East Village Arts Club – Liverpool
Circus celebrated its 11th Birthday at its ‘spiritual home’ in Liverpool, East Village Arts Club, formerly known as The Masque. Taking place just before the globally acclaimed night completed its first Ibiza season at Booom!, ringleader Yousef took special attention to curate a line-up of the most trustworthy stewards in house and techno. The bill ran: Seth Troxler, Cassy, Scuba, Catz ‘n Dogz, Adam Shelton, The Angel (Live), and the usual suspects Yousef, Lewis Boardman, and Scott Lewis. As always, entering East Village Arts Club required one to lower his or her heart rate considerably. The combination of heat and humidity is enough to ruin your hair and, if you wear it, your makeup. So take note. Don’t show up looking like you tried too hard. Not many come to Circus looking to pull.
Seth Troxler led the Theatre early on, rolling out fractalizing sounds over pumping industrial house. Was a bit like an audio kaleidoscope that spun on endlessly, if such a thing could produce house music. On another note, let’s face it, the man is popular, really popular and I don’t know if that room could’ve been full of any more people as he played on. One small request to the security in the establishment: Could you please make some sort of attempt to coax the naive dancing girls off the stairs leading to the pit and instead on to a normal place to dance? It’s hard enough to move about as it is.
All the while, Polish duo, Catz ‘n Dogz, played on upstairs in the Loft, a room that I for one cherish, not only due to its air conditioning actually working, but also to the intimacy you can experience unlike in the Theatre. Though they began their career with techno at their focus, today they’re known for criss-crossing the boundaries of dance music in fluid fashion. The set maintained the right high of dancing waves and carefree vibes, a welcome break from the comparatively patterned music in the other room.
Cassy followed Troxler downstairs in the Theatre just as the air finally began to cool down; that or our bodies had acclimated to the sauna. Her set went down a treat: breakdancing beats, thunderous bass, a hint of Brazilica, and momentous vocals. She had this pleasantly smug look of content all the while, appearing poised and calculated. I watched as her eyes would drift slowly onto the decks and rise seductively to the crowd each second of her gaze dripping with confidence. It was at this point that I became of a mysterious man about Liverpool I end up seeing at every gig I go to. Whoever you are, Mohawk Man, thank you for being a great point of reference for all the separated friends out there. Thank you for bringing them back together under your ridiculous hair.
Scuba took up the reins back upstairs in the loft to deliver a dynamic set full of bass, whirring rhythms, and varying tempos. Imagine a car chase that jumps onto different planes of existence and, if you’ve managed to, there’s the deal in a nutshell. And now before I go on about this too much, I must say that the Kenny Larkin remix of Kevin Saunderson’s ‘Future’ has done my head in since I first heard it a few months back, what with its ketty breaths and whispers and skipping vocals it is one of my least favorite tracks of recent times. Thank you, Scuba, for making me warm to it by playing the original incarnation of it which was bearable bordering on enjoyment. Finishing up with the ever loved ‘Coma Cat’ was a welcome break from the intensity of it all and returned some stability to proceedings with its grooving tech house vibes.
Prior to Yousef’s final set of the night, the lovely Scouse treasure, The Angel stepped up on stage, looking drop dead gorgeous in all black, there to sing her new collaboration with Yousef, ‘Float Away’. It’s a track that sounds like something you’ve heard before, an instant classic, but it’s even better than that. Its energy is fully charged, its organisation – immaculate. Yet, I must say, each time I go to Circus, I end up frustrated with the sound quality. It’s a shame about the night’s over-emphasis on bass which is most evident in the Theatre. It was more than an obstacle to hear her voice resonate at the start. Now I don’t pretend to be an audio-tech guru, but something’s got to be done about such an issue even if the night can still pack out a full house regardless of sound quality. That aside, we got there in the end and the crowd went absolutely wild for her, more so than any given moment I have ever seen at Circus. From this climactic moment, Yousef carried the high of the crowd on till 4 in the morning with bassy tracks emblematic of Dusky’s epic tune, ‘Rise For Love’.
Anyway, look to the 26th of October for the Circus Halloween do, which is bound to be a spooky one. Don’t forget though, it’s fancy dress so make an effort for the line-up: Yousef, Heidi, Nick Curly, DJ W!ld, Gorgon City, Simon Dunmore, Lewis Boardman, and Scott Lewis.
Photos by: Gary Brown