Reviewed: Stephan Bodzin at Electric Brixton
Back at the beginning of July, we learnt the news that Stephan Bodzin was to bring his new live visual show to London this September, for a full weekend of mind-blowing performances. This immediately made me excited due to the fact that before now I had not had the opportunity to witness Stephan perform one of his notorious live sets. It was clear that others were also as excited as I was – both nights sold out in the week building up to the event!
The two nights were to be held at the Electric Brixton (previously The Fridge), which is a fantastic venue located in the south of London. The dècor of the establishment has all the features of a large theatre; featuring a big stage area, surrounded by viewing ledges and a central dance floor, with the bar stretching the entire length of the opposite wall. The smoking area upstairs might be too small in relation to the venue’s capacity of 1,700, but the only way to reach it is through the narrow ledges looking out onto the stage, and that’s a brilliant view for any event taking place – let alone Stephan Bodzin! Having been to the venue previously I was aware of what to expect of the establishment, and to be honest I believed it to pair perfectly with what Bodzin was scheduled to perform.
A selection of extremely talented support acts were also on the agenda for the evening I had chosen to attend – Friday 21st September. The main room boasted a line-up of Antonio De Angelis, Fideles, Luna Semera and Marc Romboy, whilst room 2 was to be hosted by Till Last Track. The last event I attended with Till Last Track was back at the end of July when they were supporting Ellen Allien at The Cause – definitely one of my preferred brands currently making its journey through the London music scene.
Friday arrived, and we found ourselves getting to the venue at about 11pm. Having turned up with some of the guys who were set to play in Room 2 that evening, that was the first place we headed. With security checks taking a matter of minutes and with stamps quickly applied from the door staff, it wasn’t long before we were walking through the main room towards the room 2 doors. Catching a quick glimpse of Fideles warming up the main room, it seemed as though the majority of the partygoers were yet to arrive.
Upon reaching room 2, we found Chesster playing out one of his infectious, vinyl only sets. I had the pleasure of seeing Chesster perform under his alias ‘Just Vee’ about 3 years ago at Café 1001. He always plays an extremely neat and minimalistic set, with some exceptional mixing skills to accompany his selection – this was no exception. Originating from Venice, this talented young DJ and producer has had releases on labels such as Kina Music, Rewire Musik, Zeitlos Music, and his most recent EP was released on DubGestion under the name ‘No Distance’. I have also come to learn that he will be releasing a new EP over coming months which is definitely one to watch out for. After listening to the wonderful foundation that Chesster had started our night with, we headed back to the main room to see how things were progressing.
The time was 1am and France’s Luna Semera was taking to the main booth. By this point, the number of bodies within the venue had risen substantially and there was a buzz of excitement flowing through the crowd as the music started to build on their anticipation. Similar to Bodzin, I have never had a chance to see Luna play previously and I was excited to see what she had to offer the masses – I was not to be disappointed! Luna has worked alongside Bodzin previously, with her hugely successful debut EP ‘The Pink Room’ being released on his label – Herzblut Records. Luna works very closely with Stephan both from a live and a production perspective, and his influence is obvious in Luna‘s productions. Her tracks have an almost natural feel to them, despite being electronically generated. Luna’s fondness for analog synths was nothing but obvious in her performance. Taking us on a journey that moved the crowd up and down with the utmost precision and skill, I could not have enjoyed her set any more than I did. I could have stayed and listened to her play all night! Some of the chords and synths that resounded through that crowd were just divine, and with a set that I could only describe as beautiful, you could tell that everyone was equally as captivated. A highlight of the set for me was hearing ‘SYSYGY’ by GHEIST.
As Luna’s 90 minutes of beauty came to an end it was now time to welcome the main man – Stephan Bodzin! At 49 years old, this techno veteran has done it all. Bodzin has endured where many have fallen by the wayside, due to his devotion to authenticity. In a quote taken from his biography, he states that without authenticity “everything would appear to be nothing more than a hollow shell” – clearly something that he lives by. After starting out composing music for several prestigious European theatres, Bodzin soon fell in love with nocturnal club sounds and began producing his own branch of techno. Since then he has taken his authenticity, and dominated the techno scene, with his live sets becoming an increasingly common feature. Running his own Herzblut label has also defined his career since 2006, and as well as being a place for his own work, it has also housed refreshing contemporary music from Dominik Eulberg, Max Cooper and Pig&Dan to name but a few.
For the next hour and a half, Bodzin blew every single member of that crowd out the water. His live set created multiple mesmerising, high impact soundtracks that caught the crowd where Luna had left them, and threw them straight into maximum drive. Accompanied by some incredible visuals and lighting, the sound was also extremely impressive. With Bodzin reflecting the energy in his body language, a room that was packed like sardines, and an array of originals that consistently flowed from start to finish, the room couldn’t have been more alive! My favourite and most memorable part of the night was seeing ‘Strand’ echo out across the top of an ecstatic sea of jumping Londoners. Seeing this performed live was nothing short of unforgettable, and truly a memory to treasure. What a production!
As Stephan’s set came to an end we found ourselves headed back to room 2 in order to escape some of the crowds. Upon entering the room, it was almost empty, however, taking to the stage at the far end of the room was none other than Elia Cordaro. As the hype from Bodzin started to reside, room 2 started to fill up – and fast! Before long we were surrounded by partygoers looking for the perfect ending, to the perfect night. As the next two hours progressed, Elia was certainly on hand to deliver that perfect ending that we were desperately craving. Filling the room with some incredible, foot-stomping productions, such as Dave Clarke’s remix of ‘Dream On’ by Depeche Mode, those final couple of hours seemed to fly by! As 6am approached, the final track to play out that night was TWCOR’s ‘Grey Matter’, bringing with it a sublime ending to a quality event! Definitely, a night that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.