Josiah Hartley caught sets from Gilles Peterson, Moxie and Romare at Motion in Bristol.
Last updated: 7th Dec 2017. Originally published: 30th Nov 2017
Image: Motion (Credit: Alistair Brookes)
For a universally respected veteran DJ and seasoned radio host, whose broadcasting roots lie in the pre-internet age of pirate radio, Gilles Peterson’s colorful career path has gracefully risen through the ever-changing times of the industry, whilst he continues to connect the dots between soul, jazz, house, hip hop, electronica and further eclectic styles from around the world.
Somehow you’d think the man’s fingers were dipped in enough pies as it is - what with a busy DJ schedule, running his Brownswood label, curating events or providing creative input to various musical projects. The latest endeavor for Peterson, however, is Worldwide FM - an online radio station that he co-launched with Boiler Room and NTS radio host Thris Tian in 2016, which has recently reached its first year anniversary being on-air.
To seemingly mark this milestone and showcase his global agenda, Friday night saw the influential tastemaker take the fledgling station on the road for an epic takeover session at Bristol’s Motion. And to ensure its attendees were well and truly taken on a thrilling sonic journey, he also brought along some very special guests for the occasion - including BBC Radio 1’s Benji B, NTS radio and BBC Radio 1’s Moxie, NTS presenter/DJ and artist Nabihah Iqbal, cut ‘n’paste beatsmith Romare and Bristol’s very own house hero Julio Bashmore, among several others in tow.
Upon entering the club we were instantly welcomed by the groovy sounds of disco in the intimate dwellings of Room 3 (aka “The Cave”), courtesy of Bristol DJ/promoter collective Methods, who played hosts to the room via their Boogie Nights clubnight. Having not quite reached its atmospheric peak yet, a timely visit to Room 2 proved to be a better option.
Headed up by Moxie under the banner of her On Loop clubnight-cum-label, the London DJ was in full swing as she worked the packed dancefloor with a mid-tempo selection of 90s era Balearic house and crowd-pleasing funk edits. The unmistakable basement party vibe clearly explained why a great deal of clubbers occupied this medium space, otherwise known as “The Tunnel”.
With around eight years of varied radio experience which covers stints on Kiss FM and Rinse FM, through to a current position on NTS and a BBC Radio 1 Residency slot, Moxie’s set affirmed her remarkable skill at balancing out underground sounds with just the right level of mainstream appeal to satisfy all tastes.
Over in the main room, the party was also going off tremendously well, with sample architect Romare midway through a captivating one man band live show. Surrounded by a mountain of analogue hardware including multiple keyboards, drum machines and FX pedals, the London-based producer performed tracks largely from his critically acclaimed 2016 album ‘Love Songs: Part 2’.
Mesmerised by the live performance, the full capacity, mixed crowd aged between their early twenties to late forties were geared up for Gilles Peterson headline set that shortly followed.
Doing what he does best, the Worldwide FM boss played a veritably eclectic set; abound with up-tempo Afro-Latin house jams and jazzy breaks that kept the appreciative revellers dancing non-stop, whilst colourful Basquiat-style visuals flickered away on a screen behind him.
Ever the proficient tastemaker, it was most refreshing to hear some unfamiliar gems within Peterson’s set as he combined the old and the new; effortlessly flitting between Brazilian Samba grooves, soulful disco nuggets, and contemporary electronic bangers – some of which sounded like exclusive dubplates. One standout track here came in the shape of an electro-dub version of Inner City’s ‘Big Fun’, which prompted huge cheers. An absolutely supreme set, although even at a reasonable hour and a half, it felt as if it was over all too soon.
Taking the reins over from Monsieur Peterson was perhaps the most natural successor in Benji B, who delivered arguably the best set of the night. As one of the UK’s most respected selectors, internationally known for his longstanding BBC Radio 1 show and Deviation clubnights, B kept the truly eclectic and international spirit going. Opening up with Sylvester’s sure-fire disco anthem ‘Over and Over’, followed by a spate of funky floor-fillers, the Londoner was intent on elevating the crowd higher than they already were.
At one memorable stage he lit up the dancefloor with an onslaught of Gqom - the burgeoning, darker strain of South African house currently taking the townships of Durban (and lately Europe) by storm – a subgenre he has regularly championed on his show. While an indelible curveball moment occurred when he dropped Radiohead’s ‘Everything in Its Right Place’ in all its ambient glory, which evoked euphoria among the crowd. Assured in his tastemaking prowess, not once did the seasoned DJ lose grip of the dancefloor.
A return visit to The Cave, found NTS mainstay Nabihah Iqba confidently holding down the fort. Reputed for her diverse worldly selections on radio, plus her own leftfield electronic productions, she entertained a small, but enthusiastic crowd with a compelling mix of 80s era synth-driven funk jams, moody electropop and deep house.
Back in the main room, the final set of the night was ably taken care of by Bristol’s very own Julio Bashmore. It’s likely that some of his most ardent local fans, who eagerly anticipated his arrival, expected a supply of funky, feel-good house bangers, but instead the Bristolian chose to explore a zone that was somewhere between minimal house of the Berlin variety, bass-heavy techno and the darker end of UK Funky. Keeping the vocal numbers to a minimum as well, Cooly G’s ‘Love Dub’ was a notable exception, which somewhat acted as a bridge into fiercer UK Funky territory and Gqom that he later dropped in the set.
In short, this was a fantastic event, where each and every special set on the night truly reflected the musical diversity and worldwide ethos of Gilles Peterson’s brand. Here’s to the next session.