We’ve all had nights ruined by shit sound (the promoters of Greg Wilson in Auckland 2012, I’m looking in your direction), but how often do we get to experience genuinely incredible audio on the dancefloor?
Far too often (increasingly so these days – though I could just be getting old), club owners and promoters settle for average at best, and compensate for it by cranking up the volume, leaving you with bleeding eardrums and early on-set tinnitus at the end of a night.
I don’t think I’d ever experienced truly great sound until the first time I went to Plastic People in the early 00s. I forget who was playing now but I do remember being stopped in my tracks by the crisp clarity of the sound, perfectly balanced at the right volume, just this side of loud. So pure and clear, it even made the air seem sweeter.
London’s most diligent disciple of quality audio is Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy who, with the Lucky Cloud collective, spares no expense to ensure the London Loft parties get as close as they possibly can to David Mancuso’s legendary Big Apple originals. I’ve waxed lyrical about these parties before, but every time I go, I continue to be amazed at how a great sound system can completely transform an already-great song. You realise why tracks such as slower, softer tunes such as Risco Connection’s Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, the Steve Miller Band’s Macho City and Mandre’s Solar Flight became Loft classics. They simply wouldn’t work in a noisy, blaring environment. But play them on a sound system so good that it doesn’t need to be loud, and these tunes can work their magic.
Tonight, London sees night #2 of Stephen and David Dewaele (2ManyDJs) and James Murphy’s Despacio Sound System at the Hammersmith Town Hall. With a 50,000 watt system powered by McIntosh and an all-vinyl approach, this promises to be nothing short of mind-blowing – a chance to hear disco the way it was meant to be played. I’m getting my ears primed and my dancing shoes ready.