Yousef Presents Circus At East Village Arts Club
It was a warm, misty evening, the 29th of June 2013, and Circus had set up camp once again in East Village Arts Club. Patrons queued outside the Seel Street building, keen to make it before last entry at half eleven. Regulars, Scott Lewis, Lewis Boardman, and ringleader Yousef, carried moods to the familiar degree of heart-stopping bass and varying rhythms. And although show stopping names, such as the freshly arrived Hot Since 82, Nicole Moudaber, and Siberian princess Nina Kraviz were on the ticket, the night for the first time a while still had tickets on the door, probably something to do with the massive student exodus from Liverpool. The theatre played host to Scott Lewis, Hot Since 82, Yousef, and Nicole Moudaber, while the loft hosted Lewis Boardman, Noir, and Nina Kraviz.
Happy to note: It finally seemed like the Circus team is catching on to crowd control issues this time around. The smoking section was nearly quadrupled in size and the restaurant section was opened up as a chillout room with a less suffocating bar to grab whatever sustenance you might’ve needed.
Down in the theatre things were heating up early on. My first opportunity to hear Leeds-based Hot Since 82 live went down a treat. A key player on Noir Music record label, he’s really taking off this year. From the hit ‘Knee Deep in Louise’ to today, he’s continuing to impress. His set held strong and fast, as with most Circus sets, but, dropping many of his own tracks, injected a little bit more dynamism into the air like with special treats, ‘Like You’ and ‘Leave You’. It was only right that he drop his Future Mix of Yousef’s ‘Beg’, an oscillating track which emulates the platform that Circus stands on.
Much of the night was spent upstairs in the loft, which kept to a cooled temperature and never seemed to outgrow its capacity. The male to female ratio was 3:1, but if you hadn’t come to pull, which most attendees hadn’t I can assure, there was no reason to take umbridge. Noir kept with the vibe, doling out blaring overtones, some of which emulated a lengthened and twisted whale call, immense basslines, and drums through the heart. Rachel Row made a guest appearance with KiNk’s remix of ‘Follow The Step’ and although it was a good note to leave on, it dragged on for about 10 minutes or so. It’s a great tune, but that breakdown, playing on repeat, is enough to make you want to sit down on the floor and hold your face in your hands.
Nina Kraviz walked on about 20 minutes late, but the cruel heat of her set was reason enough to pardon the tardiness. However, that minimal deep house, the flirtatious vocals, and raw beats – these didn’t show up for the party. It was wishful thinking, hoping that I’d hear much of anything off the album and from the looks of many in the crowd, I wasn’t alone. After all, her sets are known for largely sticking to techno and house music. With the event being Circus, I suppose I would’ve been surprised if she played anything but. I hate to admit to it, but much of the set sounded – at times – a bit too run-of-the-mill Circus; like it could’ve been anyone up there. It was all charge and less individual substance. I wanted feel some sort of connection with her up there, but high expectations made it hard to enjoy as much as I would’ve hoped for. Regardless, she was a beauty to watch on the decks and special thanks to a grovelling encore from the crowd, she did throw on ‘Ghetto Kraviz’ for one final dance. Afterwards, we ventured back down to the theatre for a last hour with Nicole Moudaber’s set, full of bare, rough and ready house. She successfully kept the Circus-goers satisfied and more right through to the end.
Looking to be one of the best lineups Circus has had yet this year, the 26th of July will host a disgustingly good one. Please join Yousef and the team in welcoming MK, Subb-an, and the legendary Solomun (his long overdue debut Circus performance) at the East Village Arts Club. Tickets are flying out so don’t wait too long.