Reviewed: Idris Elba at Boxed at The Arch, Brighton
Last Friday saw Boxed take over The Arch in Brighton, in order to hold the final chapter in their three-part concept mini-series. Previous events have seen the likes of Latmun, Skream and Dennis Ferrer grace the stage, for one of the most immersive club nights around.
For those of you who aren’t aware of Boxed, the brand is eager to provide a 360-degree spectacle of the artists it showcases. They do so by bringing the DJ booth into the centre of the dance floor, and surrounding the booth with a box of lasers. They say that they have done this in order to “redesign the relationship between the DJ and raver in a full range of kaleidoscopic sounds and visuals”. We certainly weren’t met with any disappointment on that front!
The night was set to be a memorable one, with none other than Idris Elba taking the headliner position. Whether spinning surprise sets in small east-London bars or thrilling thousands in the world’s top clubs, Idris’ credibility as a DJ & selector is without question. With Idris learning his craft on the turntables long before finding fame on the big screen, we were eager to catch a glimpse of his very special 1.5 hour set and witness some house magic in the making.
Supporting Idris was Brighton born and fast emerging producer George Kwali. His tribal house dancefloor smash “Crank It”, a collaboration with fellow Brightonian Kideko, gained radio support from tastemakers such as Pete Tong, Danny Howard, Mistajam, and Annie Mac! Completing the line-up, were the energetic and talented Boxed residents: Christy Walder, CL:TN, Emma Love, Ethan Jenner, Fin Evans, Jack Castell, Matt Dennis, Oliver Sturdy, Revlow, Suat, Summer Ghemati, Tracey Rhodes, and Zac Harris.
Arriving at around 11.30pm, entry was quick and efficient – every party goer’s dream! The event was well managed and this ensured that we were in through the doors and ready to enjoy ourselves in a matter of minutes. Heading straight towards the main room, we were met by the final few minutes of Oliver Surdy’s opening set. With some clever edits of particular classics, such as Ultra Naté’s ‘Free’, accompanied with some quality crowd engagement, the club was already starting to let its hair down!
George Kwali was up next, and with him, what seemed like a near infinite supply of energy. Gifting Brightonians with some of his new releases such as ‘All On Me’, whilst at the same time selecting some new productions from the likes of Friend Within and Weiss, his set fluctuated between a mixture of crowd pleasing weapons, and a large selection of feel-good, piano-driven, classics. A thoroughly entertaining performance that had us moving in every direction.
It was at this point that the Boxed laser facility came into action and the entire booth was surrounded by a wall of rotating red beams. As a concept this is incredible to witness, and is definitely a unique and extremely engaging feature to have within a club environment. Idris Elba parted the lasers and took to the decks for what was sure to be a continuation of the energy that had been witnessed so far that evening. He did not let us down. Seeing how energetic the crowd were, Idris proceeded to play one of the most bass driven house sets that we have seen him perform to date. With tracks such as Hollaphonic’s bass version of ‘Breathe’feat BXRBER being the majority of what made up Idris’ set, the room temperature started to increase both physically and metaphorically. Sweat driven “bass faces” became a regular sight, and upon taking a few seconds to take a step back and witness the current surroundings that had befallen us, it was clear…..this was a party!
Following on from Idris, and seeing the party through to its final hours were the Boxed residents: Revlow B2B Fin Evans B2B Jack Castell. These final three hours just confirmed the quality and high standard of the evening. With flawless mixing skills, a crowd that never seemed to want to go home, and a selection of some original Brighton classics such as Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now”, it was a truly memorable end to the evening and the series. A hat tip to all those involved.