Electronic music pioneer A Guy Called Gerald led the first birthday celebrations for Memory Box at Brixton’s Plan B on Saturday night. The series of parties aim to tap into the defining moments of UK club culture; so as a man who was at the epicentre of the burgeoning scene in the late 80s, it was only fitting that Gerald Simpson topped a bill hailed as 'A History of Acid House’.
The Mancunian was joined by acid house royalty in the form of 808 State and underground tech house master Saytek. The intimate setting of Plan B drew the crowd into a melting pot of the old and the new. Well-travelled ravers dusted down the Nike Air Maxes and joined a younger generation of clubbers keen to capture and experience the acid house spirit from the Summer of '88.
A pounding warm-up set from resident Robin Ball got things moving from the word go, unleashing heavy-hitting acid classics like 'Lack of Love' by Charles B (above), Adonis, and the relentless 'Acid Traxx' by Phuture. The high energy opening was followed up by the massively-impressive Saytek who was playing with his live set up.
Creating beats and mixing samples on the fly, he threw down some seriously old skool vibes. Slamming techno laced with stabbing blasts of acid combined with hands-in-the-air piano riffs, ensuring the entire club was moving. It created an electric atmosphere and was undoubtedly the performance of the night.
808 State however still managed to follow up with a gusto. Silhouettes jacked their bodies to more huge acid beats, while fisherman hats bopped through the smoke to proper club classics from a by-gone era. Mory Kanté’s thunderous 'Yeke Yeke', and Tom Middleton’s remix of 'Kinetic' by Orbital's alter ego Golden Girls just two of the records hurling out of the speakers. It was large. The intimate nature of the dancefloor made the sonic shockwaves of the 303 feel all the more powerful.
A Guy Called Gerald then stepped up to take over from his former band mates at the controls. By now the clock had ticked passed 3am and unfortunately a few holes had started to open up in the crowd. Rather than relentless thundering 808s, there was vocal house and more of a lounge vibes. It was a bit more mellow than anticipated, especially when comparing it to the frantic nature of the proceeding hours.
Unfortunately the performance felt a little bit flat and lacked fizz, but the draw to see one of the UK’s greatest musical innovators in action was still hugely captivating. Despite a slightly calmer end to the evening, top marks to Memory Box. It was a great night with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, soundtracked by the sounds and tunes that make up the modern pillars of the modern electronic music scene that we know and love today.
Nostalgic it may be, but the spirit and essence of those formative years were captured and reproduced in a great format for an audience today. Over everything else, it is those beats that have stood the test of time. More than a quarter of a century since its inception, our appetite for that flavour of acid house is bigger than ever.