‘He.She.They..’ was a celebration of 2019 culture.
This Shindig lineup was one of quality, & diversity. A well educated running order with hidden treats & themes for the unsuspecting dance floor warrior – But I guess this is so typical of Newcastle’s historical tastemaker. So often underestimated in their delivery. With an aim not just to sell tickets – but to be consistently ahead of their time.
It’s always best to start at the beginning – People Get Real was the epitome of timeless & seamless as they opened up, as those of us that have been lucky enough to be around a while have seen so many times. pure consistency & quality is priceless in this game. A perfect appetiser for the most underestimated / underrated of the evening – Emanuel Satie.
Emanuel is a Berlin based head that has rarely touched down in the UK – he took a humble & classy attitude to the decks, which is essential in a proper warm up. You could hear the Berlin sound in all of his selection, deep, groovy & chugging. A wide span of synths was soothing & mystical, just the perfect bait to bring you onto the hook of the dance floor. I was supposed to be going room to room to check on various venue bits, but I couldn’t help but dance. I couldn’t help but get distracted, locked in, stuck. He’s simply got it.. He plays the sold out ANTS party in a few weeks at printworks – & has made a big impression on my ones to watch list. Someone who’s destined to be a headliner.
Meanwhile in room 2 – Holly Fisher, Ki Creighton, sorely & Addison represented the local scene in a heavyweight fashion. Addison in particular – dragged people from the main dance floor through to room 2 with the anticipation of his set. In the midst of his breakthrough year, he’s another one to be added on the ones to watch. This wasn’t a token room 2, this was stacked.
As midnight approached, Emanuel had thoroughly set the tone in the main room. The vibes were palpable, it felt like Saturday night, it felt like release. We were ready.
Maya Jane Coles is now seasoned in Newcastle, but she’s one that fans keep returning to see for a reason – she smacks it every time.
Dressed & playing in a fashion that is expressive way beyond her music – She absolutely ripped it from 12-2 and made this a true double headline show. Wearing 5 inch stomp creeper boots, a neo from the matrix style trench & a padlock chain around her neck, it was a pure statement of intent. Not to be boxed in. Not to be underestimated. Her Neo – gothic style, complimented stomping techno & a futuristic soundscape, it felt like social commentary of the technological millennial age. It also stunk of defiant/provocative Berlin techno culture. One of her best EP’s is entitled ‘don’t put me in your box’, make of that what you will. She is seriously different, seriously cool. One of my favorite acts I have seen so far in 2019. Maya’s media coverage ranges from RA, to rolling stone, to vogue – I can’t name many DJ’s in that esteem, or DJ’s with influence across culture. This was one of the hidden treats & themes I talked about earlier in this article. All this attention is there for a reason – there’s no smoke without fire ; Maya had everything to ignite the dance floor. Her set was ridded with cross genre bangers ; electronic, dubby & unique. It was another end to the spectrum of Honey Dijon, & I did wonder how she would finish her set to cross over to the Chicago sounding Honey .. but Maya wriggled between BPM’s & themes. Sh took it from one place to the next, and landed with a vibey, garage-esque housey banger that will certainly be subject to Track ID requests. She left Honey with it on a plate, a jumping crowd and something right on her BPM + topic. A class act. This embodied the coherent performance through the night from all acts, seamless transition and utmost respect for those following behind them. Maya wasn’t one to watch tonight, she was one to remember, one that will be hard to forget for anyone seeing her for the first time.
As we crossed over – the Burlesque stage performers upped it a notch. It feels like the 2019 zeitgeist is rife with the liberation of self expression & identity. That forward thinking attitude couldn’t have been more evident on Saturday. So often this self identification is ridiculed by the small minded on social media, and tonight was a big middle finger to that – It was celebrated. He.she.they.. everyone, all of us, together, under 1 roof for one night. No masks, no restrictions, be yourself and be no-one, all in the same instance. This theme is in the very foundations of house music. It’s inclusive, not exclusive. So often LGBT are confined to socialise in a designated area of cities – ‘the scene’ or ‘the pink triangle’ in Newcastle. Tonight it was at the epicentre of our city. This wasn’t a run of the mill – female djs bandwagon operation, this was a thought through juxtaposition of genre’s /styles/ ideologies/
that couldn’t have been more current. Honey is described as a fashion icon, someone who uses their stance in music & fashion to address transgender issues, as seen on channel 4 recently. ‘Experimentation is encouraged’ was the headline on the lighting board, and she communicated this from start to finish in her set.
Honey came out the blocks with a Cardi B vocal on one deck, timed perfectly over a modern Chicago stomper on another. It was simply, frightening. A Modern hip-house take off, for those that didn’t know what she was about – welcome to the bull ring. It was so refreshing to see younger heads in the crowds’ reaction to jacking Chicago house, especially for myself – it was the first side of this genre I truly fell involve with at the age of 18, seeing the likes of DJ Sneak, Mark Farina & Derrick Carter back when shindig was weekly @ Digital. 10 years on and the new generation show the same love. The vibe was undeniable in the venue.
Rattling through banger after banger in the first half hour, you did wonder how she would keep this up for 2 hours, but the tricks up her sleeve and techniques in her locker were endless. Another piece of brilliant social commentary, pointing to everything poignant about this night, was the repetitive vocal from Cevin Fisher – ‘The Way We Used’ to – ‘Let’s get like we used to, back in the paradise garage’.. . also known as ‘gay range’ – One of the true birthplaces of house music, and one of the most notable venues LGBT history. It showed the intertwined ideologies of the 2. House music has always been free from stereotypes, from restrictions, from politics, from bullshit, from discrimination, from hate, from racism, from segregation, and thats why I love it – thats why I am proud to be part of it.
As things progressed to a crescendo – ‘Gypsy woman’ made its way out of the bag and onto the speakers. This wasn’t just a hands in the air /get the crowd singing, video opportunity – (which she deserved every minute of if she wanted btw) it felt like it meant more than that. – ‘She’s just like you and me … but she’s (in direct words) – ‘homeless’ . You can insert whatever adjective you like here. She’s just like you and me, but she’s … whatever you want her to be. She’s just like you & me, he.she.they. It was a huge moment, and the crowd truly obliged.
As honey humbly interacted with staff behind the decks, I told her that she reminded me of Derrick Carter – the way she aggressively span tracks out of mixes, manipulated the crossfader, abused the flanger & filter system, all while retaining a high bpm & groovy sound bytes. She replied by saying – what like this ? – and then proceeded to effortlessly throw the channel back and fourth in perfect timing, riling the crowd up to ridiculous levels. The finesse to elegantly sip champagne, pinky finger riased, while simultaneously taking the roof clean off Digital, was world class. It was a display of pure control over the situation in hand. A display of mastery over her craft. So boujee. She then replied ‘Derrick is my best friend’, and went on to joke about how he was ‘the real queen’. It was becoming clear that there was a future legend in the house tonight.
‘Is there any queens in this house?’ was another vocal full of meaning, continually dropped over different tracks. These vocal samples would be a theme of repetition throughout her set, aswell as multiple deck mixes. It felt the ability to throw these vocals over everything, as well as mixing third tracks in were what made the set feel so unique.
The finishing moment was super tough – double vocal edits replayed over the top of something white label signed off, feeling Villalobos -esque. She had been through Chicago, via Detroit, acid house & landed in another universe.The impossible track ID, because she played something you can’t buy. She left us with something unique on a super special shindig. you know it’s good when the crowd is huge at 4am, & they want 1 more tune. Her and Maya both described us as ‘crazy’ – And they’ve been around the world.
Hold tight for the next installment, if you haven’t already seen the announcements in the club – You’re sleeping.