On Saturday the 9th of December, Crack Magazine were in charge of Motion Bristol; responsible for providing one of the best lineups 2017 has seen. As soon as it was announced that Ben UFO, Moodymann, Hunee, Helena Hauff and Palms Trax were playing on the same night, at one of the best clubs in the world, it quickly became one of the most anticipated events of the year. Tickets flew, and the event sold out well in advance. The ridiculously high demand was due to the incredible variety of music on offer. Each DJ on the line-up was guaranteed to provide you different feelings with their vast and varied record collections. This creates many different atmospheres under the same roof; spread out across a few rooms and constantly changing with each record that gets played. There is no label of a specific genre in the event description, the DJs will play whatever suits the moment. You really can’t get much better than this in the immersive, wonderful world of clubbing.
Due to the high demand, it came as no surprise that the bigger names on the line-up had clashing set times. However disappointing this was for the thousands of music lovers in attendance, it was very necessary to avoid overcrowding and provide everyone with the best experience. The artists were spread out across 3 different parts of the club. Firstly Motion (the main room), is a huge space with some unbelievable lighting flashing around, accompanied by lasers flowing in all directions. Secondly, the Warehouse (room 2), is of a similar size to the main room, situated towards the back of the club. It contained fewer lights/lasers than the main room but possessed a gigantic disco ball towards the front, suitable for the house and disco vibes being provided. These two rooms also possessed upper levels towards the back, to keep the energy high in all areas. Thirdly the Tunnel is an intimate, narrow space situated just outside the main room, which is always packed out, keeping the vibes high. Each part of the club possessed a great sound system for the records to be played at the highest quality. Having arrived just in time for Moodymann, I headed straight to the Warehouse for his 2-hour set. Kenny Dixon Jr (Moodymann) has become recognised as one of the most iconic DJs around over his 25-year career. His unpredictable selections make him one of the most exciting figures in dance music. Thousands of people were packing into the Warehouse, to catch a glimpse of the legend himself. He carried an overwhelming sense of coolness as he effortlessly mixed an incredible variety of well-selected records. As per usual, he was playing with his face hidden, adding to the mystery that surrounded his selections.
You never know what Moodymann is going to play next. He ranged through several different genres, combining classic well-known tunes with some new, rarer stuff. It was clear that he was there to have fun and play his favourite tracks. He was even caught handing out Grey Goose vodka to the crowd as if he was inviting them into his own party. At one point, he mixed ‘Millionaire’ by Kelis and Andre 3000, into The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’, then into Childish Gambino’s ‘Redbone’, before returning to some jazzy house and garage from the likes of Roy Davis Jr. One of the stands out tracks of the set for me was DJ Turbojazz’s fiery Latin/Jazzy house jam ‘Bara Bara’, which can be found on the EP entitled ‘Food For Cats Vol 2’. This is a horn-led jazzy anthem, carried by a flowing drum energy. The contrast of a track like this to other tunes he played such as ‘Come Together’ highlights the amount of freedom these DJs are given. There are no rules, they simply have to provide as much fun as possible, and Moodymann really delivered. It really was an incredible display of out-of-nowhere selections. He finished up his set by playing a couple of house tracks, paving way for Hunee to take over.
Hunee has asserted himself as one of the most thrilling DJs around. The Rush Hour master’s selections range from all kinds of house, techno and disco. He seems to send dancefloors into a frenzy wherever he plays, and there was no exception of this on the night. He raced through his customary disco and soul, also incorporating some heavier techno records, on a two-hour journey that flew by. His selections inflicted pure joy on the dancefloor, as the wizard behind the decks danced with as much intensity as anyone in the room; clearly loving every moment of it. Hunee has stated before on his social media that after playing thousands of parties, he still travels far and wide for just one night because of his hunger and desire to create special moments, which he can share with thousands of people. Even though he only had a 2-hour slot, when he’s used too frequently playing all night long at clubs around the world; he provided a variety of special moments. Donna Summer’s iconic ‘I Feel Love’ was one of these and gave everyone on the dance floor a feeling of pure ecstasy. Hunee also played some other unbelievable disco tracks, one of my favourite being ‘Gotta Keep On Trying’ written by Skip Mahoney, which dates all the way back to 1978. Hunee produced a variety of great moments. Towards the end of his set, he provided the moment of the night for many when he played Marlena Shaw’s ‘Touch Me In The Morning’. Hunee has developed a close association with this record after he closed Dekmantel 2017 with it. It is clearly a song that means a lot to him and has given him fond memories, which made it even more special to see him play it live. It was an incredible set, which had a completely different feel to Moodymann’s due to the fact that they are two brilliant, but different personalities. The fact that there are no restrictions on DJ sets at events like this enables the variety of special moments to be created. The people in control are musical geniuses, so they know exactly what to play at different periods throughout the night, which is why the freedom given to them is so important.
Moodymann and Hunee had me rooted in the Warehouse all night with their selections, but elsewhere in the club, a variety of great artists were playing all kinds of different music. Ben UFO has established himself as one of dance music’s most important figures and was playing a variety of experimental underground sounds, headlining the main room. Having seen a variety of videos of his set, and hearing a lot of feedback it seems that he was creating a unique atmosphere in the main room, with some tracks that sounded like they could’ve been from outer space. Berlin-based selector Palms Trax is another rising star that also featured, playing a 3-hour set in the Tunnel. This guy is another stone-cold genius and is really growing a reputation for his selections which also range from various genres. Technopunk Helena Hauff (Main room) and Panorama Bar resident Tama Sumo (Warehouse) closed the night, carrying on the trend of juxtaposing styles of moody techno/electro and jazzy house between the rooms.
There was something on offer for everyone, with different feelings and atmospheres scattered around the club at different moments. The DJs took the crowd on a musical journey through space and time with their outrageous selections. Dance music has come so far; to a point where it really does have no limits anymore, anywhere in the world. The selectors that featured on this line-up are just a few of the many, very talented artists out there who play at thousands of parties all around the world. Some people would argue that our era has no defining genre; that we don’t possess an identity. However, it appears this era is the start of something special, with DJs being able to play whatever they want, wherever. All kinds of incredible music are being produced now more than ever, and we are constantly chasing that unreleased tune that we heard play in motion last week. We have reached a stage where you can go to a single event such as this one, and expect to hear absolutely anything. There are no limits.