Reviewed: Illyus & Barrientos at MOODS
The second instalment of the MOODS series at The Perception Bar in The W Hotel, London, saw the entire space opened up this time, complete with giant disco ball from above, and swank in full swing!
Warmin’ things up effectively as ever was PIEM, dropping a broad spectrum of upfront and deep vibing, skirting through Tribal notes, Latino rhythms, Disco grooves, and more – including work by Pitto, Michael Bibi, and Piem himself. The dancefloor was peppered here & there with those ready to get things moving, but not quite ready to move themselves… in contrast to myself, of course, who was happily shakin’ ahyass from the offset – when not updating and adding to my directorial portfolio via the DT Instagram story! Yes, that’s my arm below, roving reporter!
Between catching repeat prescriptions of water, and gently workin’ up a sweat, I was approached by a skinny bald gent and invited to join him and his male companion for a drink. Caught off guard by the warm welcome and polite gesture, I accepted and threw teetotalism to the wind… something of a growing tradition, it seems! The three of us shook and bopped through more of PIEM’s set, enjoyin’ the likes of Eddy M, Luttrell, The Deepshakerz, and Secondcity, while scantily clad and glamourously bejewelled dancers ascended the raised platform, and even mounted the towering set up behind the DJ – the enormous disco ball still looming menacingly overhead like a flashy planet-destroyer of glitz.
As midnight struck – and I mean, to the minute! – the night’s headliner humbly stepped forward, taking their place at the mixer and decks. Opening with the Dario D’Attis remix of Paolo Martini’s “I’ll Take You There”, Illyus & Barrientos began proceedings with something akin to a Tech House vibe, before flitting casually between twisted Nu Disco, Piano House, Soulful House, more Tribal and South American vibes, as well as a fair few of their own pieces.
It seemed evident early on that the Glaswegian duo (of varying origins) were there to have fun: no egos, no arrogance, just a good ol’ fashioned jolly-up. Musically speaking, it was soon apparent that their respective heritages (Illyus of Frankfurt, Barrientos of Chile) had made an impact on their track selection as much as their musical output. Tracks from their catalogue such as “The One” and “M.E.A.” went down a treat, showing their Disco influences, while “Shout” and “So Serious” tore the dancefloor apart.
In and amongst the sweaty crowd on the intimately packed dancefloor, a number of fellas break-dancing, and one dude dropping into the worm (!?), I found myself capturing an extended moment for Instagram, to then have Illyus himself point at me and outstretch his hand. Perplexed, I kept recording, unsure of what his intentions were. It was a moment or two later when he cut the music completely, shouting to me in an appropriately gravelly Scots’ fashion “Hand the focken hat over!”, that I finally clocked what he was after, and graciously chuckled over to him a hat I had spent the whole night sweating into! He then proceeded to lift himself a few feet above the crowd, joyously taking in the atmosphere, clapping along to the energy that he and his partner-in-vibe were very much commanding.
With an assortment of happy and emphatic vibes pushing from the Funktion One sound system, into the densely populated dancefloor of happy-happy groovers, the night was definitely full of pomp, with the biggest boast being the feel of the room itself – exemplified by the instance of a staff member clearing some broken glass from the outskirts, only to then be unable to resist the groove and himself ease into a lightly joyous bop of his own… #Lad!
Elsewhere in the two-hour throwdown, tracks from Mercer and ATFC inspired a number of dance-offs and trios of pop-and-lockin’, while classics such as Ce Ce Peniston’s “Finally” brought back some old skool flavours to recalibrate faces from awestruck to browed smiles. After a few more cheeky numbers from the duo, as well as an impromptu Live PA from vocalist Jinadu [on a track we can only assume is an as yet unreleased collaboration from both parties], and the duo’s take on “I Feel Love”, the night started to draw to a close with “Ride On Time”, and the ‘Disko’ variation of Todd Terje’s “Strandbar” setting the place alight in a more melodically psychedelic key.
With their final track being effectively impactful, and a close from the aforementioned Jinadu, it was undeniable that the event went down a success, and a good time was well & truly had by absolutely everyone!