Reviewed: Helena Hauff at E1
Off the back of International Women’s Day, Helena Hauff flexed her DJ chops on the decks to once again to exert her dominance in the dance music scene. Krankbrother presented a stellar line up last Saturday in East London, with a relentless and mesmerising electro workout on the cards.
Krankbrother are known for their top-notch parties in E1 and curating a superb display of dance musics finest on the helm of the decks. They enlisted Helena Hauff to manage the line-up here; out emerged without a doubt a huge electro offering.
Helena has been flying the flag for empowering women in the dance music scene for a fair few years now, alongside a number of other key figures she’s helped cement gender equality in an industry which has suffered for a long time. Coming from an absolutely insane 2018, it’s become pretty hard to slow her down. Her blend of hard-hitting techno and electro has brought her to do her very own label showcase at E1 for her imprint Return to Disorder, inviting electro veterans DJ Stingray and Aux 88, Alienata and fellow label mate, Galaxian to the party.
Murmurs are always circulating around about the sound system at E1; it’s Funktion-One setup recently got a sprucing up last summer and it remains one of the best on the London dance music circuit. It lent itself very well (as one might imagine) to the bass-heavy and thumping nature of an electro night as DJ Stingray spun his first track around the 1am mark. Atmospheric floaty rollers blended with 808 syncopated kick drums provided the crowd with a vintage Stingray exercise in DJing virtuosity. His skill and technique is ever apparent with the welcome addition of scratching across his 2 hour set – highlights of which accumulating in tracks such as Go Nuclear’s ‘Time2Party’.
The atmosphere was simmering up to boiling point at this stage with a noticeable amount of people in the crowd removing their tops to quell the heat administered from >130bpm electro. The following hour from Stingray saw Aux 88 perform an hour long live set from 3 to 4 am, something that unfortunately left a few minutes of setup time aside of their slot which saw some of the momentum die off somewhat. As you would expect from artists that are of such a status though, they brought an insane amount of energy to the dance floor (this reportedly being the first time they performed in London in 5 years). Classics including ‘Aux Mind 2005’ and ‘Detroit
Aside from the electrifying line-up in the main room, credit must be given to the room 2 acts who kept up a very impressive level of energy and provided a superb selection of dance music throughout the night. As hard as it might be to drag yourself away from an act such as DJ Stingray, those that did venture to the smaller corners of the venue were gifted with a brilliant atmosphere and impressive glimpse at some upcoming talent. Galaxian more than proved his worth whilst Alienata showed us again why she’s very much on the map.
4am rolls around, there’s the eery quietness of the changeover between Aux 88’s live act and the anticipation of Helena taking charge of the night. As the familiar sound of rolling basslines and atmospheric percussion that we’ve come to expect from Helena starts whispering through the Funktion-Ones, her spell was cast over the dance floor once again. Jerome Hill’s ‘I Know’ encapsulated the vibe well and played into Helena’s breed of energy as she came into her own half an hour in. Anyone that’s seen her in the last 12 months won’t be a stranger to what came next; but in no way does that detract from the amazing intensity Helena is able to conduct whilst being the decks. It’s always a pleasure to see a DJ spin wax in such an accomplished manner – her technical skill is mesmerising and her track selection certainly makes her a hit in the world of music IDing.
When such a strong line-up is presented, expectations can be so high that the reality just doesn’t quite live up. Not the case here. DJ Stingray and Helena Hauff did for sure steal the show, with the headliner proving time and time again why she is worthy of the accolades she receives. But with newcomers such as Galaxian putting on such a strong show alongside Alienata and Aux 88 providing London with an incredibly rare performance, there’s no doubt that it did live up to the hype.