We sent Helen Giles to LWE's SIDEXSIDE where Carl Cox, Joris Voorn and Seth Troxler curated their own stages with special guests.
Date published: 12th Apr 2016
Image credit: Luke Baker
Ravers these days want much more than just your standard party. With new, unique concepts and venues emerging regularly, in order to be successful in the modern clubbing climate, the event has to have an edge.
The venue, visuals and lighting and other facilities are just as important as the calibre of artists in order to make the experience, and the LWE promoters are leading the way in providing clubbers with that unparalleled day or night out that oozes imagination and versatility.
SIDEXSIDE, one of LWE’s many projects, saw musical control handed over to three of house and techno’s biggest DJs – Carl Cox, Seth Troxler and Joris Voorn. Taking over the iconic Tobacco Dock in East London on a glorious spring day, these heavyweights and their hand-picked guest DJs set about crafting their back to back sets.
Set in the tranquil hamlet of Wapping in East London, it is hard to imagine that such a peaceful, serene place would house one of the greatest rave dwellings in the UK. Upon entering the Grade I listed warehouse, it was like walking through a late-1800 cobbled arcade, with many original features still intact from its original purpose as a tobacco store.
A grand stone staircase led the way to the upstairs, where the rays of the afternoon sun glimmered off the iron frames. The atmosphere was filled with summery vibrations seeping out of both the Great Gallery and the Little Gallery into the open air communal space, the lengths that the promoters went to to enhance every intricate detail of the building did not go unnoticed.
To kick start proceedings in the Great Gallery, house and techno master Carl Cox invited Intec Label Manager and friend Jon Rundell to the stage for a very funky warm up, getting the crowd suitably nimble for a full day of stomping and fist pumping.
Over in the Little Gallery, Scottish producer and DJ Theo Kottis was working through sun-drenched beats that wouldn't go amiss on a beach party on the coast of Ibiza. His presence on stage was captivating, looking completely at home surrounded by technology and immersed in the music.
The secluded Car Park arena was kept at a distance from the other two rooms, underground and set in almost total darkness creating a textbook environment for American dance music icon Seth Troxler and company to fire into the crowd the dirtiest techno beats imaginable.
Playing back to back with Craig Richards, the pulse from that stereotypical techno bassline rippled through the intense atmosphere, enhancing the raw talent that both Troxler and Richards are able to obtain beyond the commercial edge of this popular genre of dance.
What made this performance even more mesmerising was the emphasis on low lighting and visuals, so that every sense contained in the human body could capture each soundwave and hold it inside for a moment in time, to really feel every single note and rhythm pulse to the beat of your heart. It easily proved the most popular arena of the night, staying consistently full until the bitter end.
Back upstairs in the Little Gallery, Joris Voorn was warming up for a marathon seven hours behind the decks, keeping in theme with the summer sun with a contemporary deep house beginning, causing the smallest of the rooms to flood with a surge of fans as Gorgon City’s ‘All Four Walls’ (below), subtly dropped into the set amongst an array of beautifully seasonal songs that flowed effortlessly through the energy in the room.
He set the crowd alight with movement as he paid tribute to the late David Bowie with a perfectly timed drop into ‘Let’s Dance’ that saw everyone raise their hands out of admiration and respect for a genuine musical inspiration of a generation.
The special guest Carl Cox had managed to keep under his belt for many months was leaked just days before the event, and you could feel the excitement buzzing around the Great Gallery minutes before the duo took to the stage. Never failing to impress, Carl Cox bounds on to the set, exuding joy and passion into the hyped audience hanging off every beat.
The relationship between himself and Nic Fanciulli, an integral part of the new age house and techno scene, was electric and the way the pair of them were able to shape classic and modern house and techno to develop a set showing the journey of this important genre was enthralling.
Out of all of the sets witnessed throughout the day, nothing had quite an impact like the final act in the Little Gallery – Joris Voorn and Danish techno producer Kolsch. The two of them seemed to have a natural chemistry - they enhanced every single emotion imaginable.
Voorn’s remix of Sebastian Mulleart’s ‘You’re An Orchestra In The Cosmos’ (above) moved the audience into a state of euphoric bliss, before jumping back in deep with that unique muffled techno beat to get the heart pumping for the final hour of the night.
SIDEXSIDE was a testament to how forward-thinking the team behind LWE are in their approach to creating dance music events. In one of the UK's most impressive industrial spaces, we witnessed epic back to back sets between dance music's elite as the partnerships brought each room to life in a completely different way.