In October of last year, Abandon Silence launched five events to celebrate five years on Liverpool's clubbing circuit. These birthday events, and in fact every event they have ever hosted over the last five years has showcased the best names in electronic music, and they have created enduring memories not only for their team, but for local clubbers (read our review of 5.4 here).
We asked long-standing resident Rich Furness to count down his favourite moments from Abandon Silence's history; everything from Four Tet becoming a Scouser, to an impromptu play of 'Voodoo Ray' from A Guy Called Gerald and a whole lot of sit down stand ups.
Perez was in the middle of a stunning run of Dubstep releases and seemed a solid booking, but for some unknown reason he decided to play a set of cutting edge techy Drum n Bass before Joy Orbison, which risked alienating the crowd and clearing the dance floor.
Now this wouldn’t make many peoples lists but I always remember it as a testament to how good the Abandon Silence crowd is (most of whom probably didn’t listen to D&B never mind intend to dance to it in a club), because after an initial thirty seconds of confusion (and a tiny panic from Andy), nobody batted an eyelid and got fully involved in a 170bpm sweat pit before Joy stepped up and made his debut.
I know this night would be much higher up a lot of peoples lists, and probably top of Andy’s, but it maybe meant more to him due to the hard work he put into actually making the booking happen, and it was definitely a special moment when MCDE first stepped up to the decks, a particular personal highlight being when he dropped CLS 'Can U Feel It'.
The star of the show that night for me however was Jeremy Underground Paris. He turned in such an immaculately constructed set of nineties ‘what the fuck is this’ 12” obscurities that it made me vow there and then to become better at discogs.
8. Four Tet becomes a Scouser - (The Shipping Forecast - 2013-Present)
What was Liverpool doing during life before Four Tet? It’s baffling that before his first Abandon Silence appearance he’d only played Liverpool a couple of times in the space of a decade, because he’s now part of the Scouse furniture. From requesting a Kit Kat on his rider to pull out and enjoy while he plays ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’, to playing a recent mind bending three hour set at 2pm.
From causing mosh pits with long lost Grime classics to niceing up the dance with pristine reggae, and from melting The Hold with Butric 'Up', to consistently playing astonishing records from across the global spectrum. Picking one Four Tet moment wouldn’t suffice. Every time he’s played has been a moment in itself, and it’s fair to say that Four Tet is now a certified Scouser (watch below).
7. The road trips – (Various Locations – 2010-2015)
I know this is cheating as it's not strictly one moment, but one of the biggest perks of being resident has definitely been the amount of road trips we've enjoyed representing the night at other clubs. Both times we played The Warehouse Project were great and a massive honour for us all.
There was a particularly memorable journey to Newcastle a couple of years back for Audio Asylum who we are going back up for again two nights before 5.5, and Bugged Out Weekender nearly finished us off.
Absolutely nothing can compare to our trip to Hideout last year though, which saw us play three sets during a week of carnage. If we have half as much fun at Dimensions this year then we are in trouble.
6. Residents Parties (The Shipping Forecast – 2012 & 2013)
Residents parties were always personal favourites as it gave us a chance to play at peak time to the AS crowd and to all play together properly. I can't quite remember why or how it started, but they sort of became a ‘curveball’ battleground where we'd try and outdo each other by slipping some of the most brilliantly terrible music in the middle of sets.
Memorable high(low)lights include Gina G, The Vengaboys, and the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune getting pulled up four times. For some reason there were usually wigs involved.
These parties always reminded me that although the night predominantly deals with high quality artists and takes its presentation very seriously, at the heart of it is the simple desire to throw a good party and have as much fun as possible. We are having the first one in ages on May 15th at The Kaz which I’d highly recommend you don’t miss!
It's strange how nights you look forward to the most can occasionally let you down, whilst ones you don’t build up can creep up and blow you away on the night, and this was definitely one of those.
There was a unforeseen move from The Theatre to The Loft at pretty late notice which I remember us being gutted about, but within two hours of opening there were at least ten sets of people on other people’s shoulders and the atmosphere during Bondax's early set was infectious, and weirdly The Loft didn’t feel like The Loft that night and felt like a completely new and exciting space.
Pariah then smashed out an intense hour of techno before Fitzgerald stepped up and prompted some incredible scenes. Being on stage and watching the sit down stand up Harry Sheeran instigated during his remix of Fitzgerald's 'Child' will stay with me for a long long time (watch below).
4. Mssngo plays XE2 (The Shipping Forecast – May 2014)
This was another case of a night totally surpassing expectations and turning into an especially memorable one. I think it’s the only one in The Hold where the DJ Booth hasn’t been used and the decks were set up on the ‘stage’ of the hold which means your right next to the crowd.
It was another case of it actually taking thirty seconds or so to cotton on what was happening and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Due to (Mssngo's) 'XE2' not really having a point where it ‘kicks back in’, the crowd just decided to pretty much sit and kneel down for a full three to four minutes while whooping like banshees, and it was both beautiful and hilarious at the same time.
This was also the night where Evian Christ managed the feat of performing a stage dive without a stage so top marks for that too.
3. Julio Bashmore and the first sit down stand up – (The Shipping Forecast - May 2012)
As most people know, I’m a big fan of the sit down stand up, and this was the first one at Abandon Silence, sound tracked by Bashmore playing his own ‘Battle For Middle You’, which may have instigated it with its big breakdown and ‘we gonna get up…let’s get down’ vocal loop.
I walked into the room from the smoking area just at the right moment, saw everybody on the floor and wondered what was happening and then got fully involved. I think that was the exact moment I knew that Andy had built something really special beyond the goal of having well attended nights and into the realm of being talked about.
Spookily, a year later at the 3rd birthday, Joy O caused déjà vu by causing the exact same scenes in the exact same space with the exact same tune!
2. A Guy Called Gerald plays Voodoo Ray - (The Kazimier - April 2014)
There’s a three year old ongoing Facebook group message between Andy and the residents where we can throw out suggestions. It’s 15,000 messages deep and mainly consists of me and Harry naming inappropriate hard techno DJ’s and Andy ignoring us, but last year one of my dream bookings happened.
Beforehand Gerald stated he wouldn’t be playing his timeless classic 'Voodoo Ray', which I was gutted about as it’s my favourite tune of all time and holds significant personal memories. Many of which I could talk about for an hour plus, which is pretty much what I did with Gerald backstage, stating my case for it with an impassioned plea.
He relented, and right towards the end of his set he managed to play it just as two surprise confetti cannons Andy had hired exploded into life. Watching a hero play that tune which he produced and the scenes that accompanied it was a perfect and very special moment.
1. James Blake plays Purple Rain – (The Shipping Forecast - December 2012)
James holds a special place in AS history as he was the first guest following the move from The Magnet to The Ship for the second event, which lit the torch for the night to really push forward. All of James' sets have been special but he was on particularly potent form this night.
James turned to us with ten minutes to go and asked did we think it would work if he played Prince's 'Purple Rain', and Andy just looked at me and laughed as he knew my reaction. I said 'only if you play the full eight minutes'.
He did. Cue a mass singalong. Cue many man hugs. Cue embarrassing air guitar scenes. It was poetic and one of the happiest seven minutes fourty three seconds I’ve ever had in a club.
Honourable mentions:All of The Dusky/Boddika/Bok Bok & L-Vis night in The Theatre, Logan Sama and D-Bridge in The Hold, The night I cut my head open after accidentally butting the wooden bit in front of the decks in The Hold when Boddika played Mercy VIP and carrying on dancing with blood pouring from my head, and Girl Unit playing ‘Wut’.