Reviewed: Sam Divine ‘Openers’ at XOYO
What more could you want than to top off the Christmas celebrations with a celebratory shindig to start burning those excess calories by two-stepping around a dark room with pumping music. Sounds great, right? We did just that by heading to XOYO for Sam Divine’s ‘Openers’. A night in which DVine Sounds originator Sam Divine would take to the decks, with an extensive selection of house and garage classics, to curate a progression of sound with some special guests. Playing from 10pm until 2:30am followed by a 30 minute back to back, Divine was able to dig deep into her collection that she wouldn’t normally get to play out in a typical hour set.
We arrived at XOYO, located in the heart of Shoreditch, and after we had skipped through the security checks we headed down under into the dingy basement. Now, one thing that really stands out when you get down into the basement is how dark it is, the sheer darkness split up by some pretty amazing lighting sets up the perfect setting for some underground beats. We had arrived at around 10:30pm and unsurprisingly it wasn’t too busy, a little bit of a slow burner as people filtered in and out but that didn’t bother us, or Divine. The Defected DJ was displaying some infectious energy as she warmed up with some old school classics such as ‘Push The Feeling – Nightcrawlers’, a proper crowd favourite. Known for being a serious party dictator, Divine knew just what was needed to get everyone in the spirit of a good knees-up and it’s safe to say she didn’t disappoint. By 11:30pm the basement was packed out with ravers and Divine was really starting to get the groove moving through the room as she delved into some chunky house numbers. XOYO’s sound system didn’t fail to fit the bill as Divine fired out ‘Cola – Camelphat (Low Steppa Remix), a bouncy remix really fitting in with the mood and time of the night. Continuing on with more crowd favourites Divine dished out another classic, ‘Steve Silk Hurley – Jack Your Body (Doorly Club Rub)’, one for everyone to bop to.
Time was moving on quickly and the later it got, the deeper Divine was getting into her collection. Moving through a fine selection of tech house numbers, Divine was shelling out belter after belter and one song, in particular, got quite the response from the crowd, ‘Ya Kidding – Fisher’. The techy build up, matched by a bass filled lead on the drop had everyone throwing out their grooviest moves. With the atmosphere in the place getting better and better, it was time for the unannounced special guest to jump on the decks. D-Vine Sounds member and manager of Sam Divine, Jess Bays. With Bays set to play at the Defected NYE takeover at Ministry of Sound (read about that night here), this was a great opportunity for her to stamp her mark on some people who may not have known who she is. After making waves in the scene over the past few years by being labelled as ‘one to watch’ Bays jumped straight into the action and didn’t waste any time in showing people what she can do. Throwing out some wicked tunes such as ‘Tiga – Woke (Jamie Jones Remix)’ and ‘Society – Jennifer Cooke, Delivio Reavon, YAX.X (Josh Butler Remix)’, Bays was taking XOYO by storm and was proving why she deserves that ‘one to watch’ title.
The time struck 2:30am which marked the start of a 30 minute back to back between Bays and Divine to close up what had been a superb night. Going back to back, they really bounced off one another with great energy, improving the song selection with every mix. A shower of uplifting vocals and some thumping basslines highlighted just what these two are about, serious party throwers. Switching up the songs quickly, Divine and Bays cycled through some absolute classics such as one that everyone knows and gives a little cheer when heard, ‘Flowers – Sweet Female Attitude (Sam Divine & Curtis Gabriel Remix), an all-time classic perfect for the closing few minutes or so of a rave.
The time struck 3am and when it’s a Wednesday, that marks the end of the rave. A pretty early finish but take nothing away from Sam Divine who absolutely smashed it. Playing for 5 hours is no walk in the park but the Defected party thrower, threw one of the parties of the year as we all got in the mood for NYE.