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Reviewed: The Black Madonna, Ellen Allien & Shanti Celeste @ XOYO


After the unmitigated success of Andy C’s residency at XOYO kicking this year off in fine style, next up to bat for XOYO is none other than The Black Madonna. Marea Stamper seems to be going from strength to strength cementing herself as one of the mainstay within the industry. Occupying that delicious sweet spot in between House, Disco and Techno. Booked to play dates all over the world, it’s an impressive feat for XOYO to have her in residence, and in doing so, bringing a whole host of talent along for the ride.

It was quite refreshing to see an all-female line up, with more exposure of late, into the issue of gender equality. Especially a line up that showcased up and comers like Shanti Celeste as well as established stalwarts such as Ellen Allien. It is an issue that is starting to garner more support and acknowledgement, and nights like these do help, yet there is still a lot of work to do.

We descend into the dark, smoky basement of XOYO lasers illuminating all the hands in the air. There are signs now telling clubbers that filming on phones is not permitted and I see a number of would be Snapchat story heroes have their phones lowered by security on the night. Harsh, but fair. Moving back to the moment, where the only way to really see a set is to actually be there in person, and I for one loved it!

Shanti Celeste’s warm, breezy vibrations get our heartbeats moving and pumping. Then the woman of the hour takes to the decks, The Black Madonna drops Jesse Rose’s recent release ‘Appreciate’ with it’s sleek and sexy groove the track is an instant hit on the dancefloor. Things take a slightly heavier turn when we’re introduced to ‘What’s Mine Is Mine’ by DJ Pierre, swelling bass hits circulate around the gospel-inspired voice cutting through the air. Harking back to some of the sets she played at Techno temple Berghain, Randomer’s New School Mix of ‘Stupid Things I Do’ brings in some cavernous drum kicks which bash around the room. The techno is in full swing by the time Radio Slave’s ‘Another Club’ hits. After a set that’s reached around various areas of the musical sphere, The Black Madonna roots around and finds a softer finish with Kevin Yost’s ‘It’s Getting Bigger’.

It’s 2 am and the party is in full swing when Ellen Allien steps up to the deck. She’s got a box of records perched behind her as she slams down some vinyl and starts taking us on an acid-tinged adventure. One of the highlights of the night occurs ten minutes into Allien’s set. When ‘Acid Police’ is dropped, DJ Pumphead sampling the classic from KRS-One, bubbling acid synth stabs pepper over the top of “the sound of da police”. Bodies pumping, huge cheers ring out across the basement as acid and lasers combine in spectacular fashion. Ellen Allien continues in the same vein, the acid keeps on hitting, later on in the evening more and more techno seeps into the set. This is where Allien really gets to work pulling out mind-bending edits that push the experience even further like ‘Comet Temple 1 (Patrick Siech Remix)’ by Calculus. One could be forgiven for forgetting the time and place, as Ellen Allien spirits clubbers away into the night in a haze of techno acid.

Can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of the series The Black Madonna has planned out for us.

The Black Madonna be playing at XOYO, every Friday with her closing party taking place on Sunday 2nd July. Tickets: http://westillbelieve.co.uk/


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