LondonNet Gig Review
95-97 Clapham High St.
Clapham, SW4 7TB
Tube: Clapham North Rail, Clapham High St.
Nods to the days of Hacienda and a top-40 radio career colour Graeme Park's London show with fanfare and familiarity.
LEGENDARY DJ Graeme Park wasn’t quite able to turn the Clapham Revolution into Manchester’s legendary, now deceased Hacienda, but he tried. Park, who has been touring Revolution clubs across the UK celebrating his 20th anniversary as a DJ, became famous as the man who introduced house music to a wide audience in England through his 8-year residency at the Hacienda, during the height of the “Madchester” dance scene.
Park currently spends most of his time as a different kind of a DJ at Manchester’s Key 106.3, a Top 40 station. Still there were no watered down compromises, if anything the experience seems to have rejuvenated Park and continued to make him unafraid to mix and match different genres of records to go with his house beats.
Things kicked off a bit inauspiciously, the crowd seemed ambivalent or oblivious to the fact that one of England’s most famous DJs was on the decks. Besides, the Revolution seems much more suited as a sophisticated, trendy cocktail bar or restaurant than a dance club and thus, doesn’t have much of a dance floor to speak of.
Nonetheless, Park soldiered on, the first part of his set living up to the consistent claim on his website that he still loves the music, with an ear to ear grin to go with plenty of head bobbing and chatting with a few fans as he Dj’ed.
He showcased his craft with effortless segues of distinctly different songs and rooting his set as much in the now as in the 80s (but playing plenty of Hacienda-era treats to remind the crowd). His tracks were not ones to light up the dance floor like big beat DJs provide, but they were enough to get the blood flowing and get people moving in whatever space they could find mid-way through his set.
As the night wore on, he got both more risqué and more familiar, sampling Queen, the Clash, and Madonna in his palate, but also making the funky house a bit more ambient-oriented at times. Some more groove-oriented tracks also found their way into the set; at one point the bongos were so exquisite that they sounded live. At its best points, the music did manage to find the all-encompassing, hypnotic aspects of house and ambient, at it worst it degenerated into typical excesses.
As tends to happen in a three hour set, there were superfluities, and Park did tend to trail off towards the end but he provided a diverse enough mix to show a new generation of funky house fans what all the fuss is about.