Reviewed: Ross From Friends at At One, Leicester
At One have steadily been creating quite a stir on the Leicester underground dance music scene for just over a year, with a flow of events featuring some of the brightest talent in house, techno and disco. The emerging brand has been formed by a collective of knowledgeable heads in the city that know a good deal about how to put on quality parties.
It seemed fitting that one of the fastest rising stars in the UK was headlining the sold out gig tonight, with Ross From Friends aka Felix Clary Weatherall and his band mates John Dunk and Jed Hampson bringing their colourful live show to town.
Taking place at Dryden Street Social, a 450 capacity venue located deep in an industrial area of Leicester City Centre, arriving there was a buzz on the air, as the queue wrapped around the street corner.
With a caring approach and a focus on attention to detail, At One create a fun and carnival-esque atmosphere by adding their own touches, including: plants, inflatables and plenty of other surprises along the way.
Inside, every crevice of the venue was full from early in the night, from the balcony to the packed dance floor, as the eager crowd took up their positions. Flat White Chris got things started with his feel good brand of disco including tracks from his vinyl label Flat White Records, infectious vocals calling bodies to the front from early doors. Real State then set the tone perfectly for the headline set with spacey and dynamic techno.
Ross From Friends has created his own path formed from a sound that has been developed through positive emotion and history, whilst also looking to the future. Initially bursting out of the lo-fi scene, but now taking things to a whole different level after releasing his debut album on Flying Lotus’ revered Brainfeeder label, a fitting home for music that doesn’t get tied down to boundaries.
With a rise that isn’t showing any sign of slowing, it was a treat to get chance to see this live set in the intimating surroundings and it didn’t seem like I was the only one who felt this way, with the adoring faithful rushing to get a prime spot as they took to the stage.
Felix proceeded to flick away at the controls of his live setup, grinning from ear to ear at the glowing reception they received throughout, whilst Dunk and Hampson swayed and swooned over their instruments as they broke into the sepia coated delight of ‘Wear Me Down’. This track is a trademark of the Ross From Friends sound, completely fresh but still somewhat comfortingly familiar.
A shiver went down my spine as the charming synths, high pitched vocals and saxophone of ‘Don’t Wake Dad’ floated on the air, relaxed and mesmerising tones providing a moment of dance floor tranquility under the blue lasers.
Exciting, energetic floor movement was created by the rumbling drums and powerful bass of the mad ‘Project Cybersyn’. This is a twisted rattler that doesn’t let you come up for air, sweaty intensity filled the room in abundance, but still there were jovial expressions in every direction.
The moment of the night came when ‘R.A.T.S’ emerged with its laid back choppy groove, sparkling chimes and whispers as a deluge of red balloons landed and bounced on top of the crowd, with the delighted ravers raising their arms and pulsating to the beat with glee. A playful magic force was created on the night by the originality and character of Ross From Friends music and a live set that is sure to only keep growing.
Talented local DJs and label owners who some may know from their Cityfly and Beastwang ties (also doing big things for the Leicester music scene) Jonna, Yumna Black and Nico the Beardo closed things out with great aplomb, dropping a number of hits that were sure to be effective in not letting the intensity levels drop, including Peggy Gou’s anthemic ‘It Makes You Forget’, whilst the classic ‘Hyph Mngo’ by Joy Orbison was received raucously by the educated heads.
One of the best aspects of At One was the friendly and diverse nature of the crowd, with everyone involved vibing to the multiple genres of electronic music that were selected during the night with a smile on their face.
After neighbouring cities have long been known for being the Midlands hotspots for rave, Leicester and its flourishing scene is fast coming up on the outside as the new contender for the place to hear and feel the most exciting electronic music in this region of the UK.