Words: Roberto Facchini
Photos: Polly Petrova
Stringent licensing laws in Glasgow can make it difficult to hold events that match the scale and intensity of our European counterparts. An all-day party is a viable solution and, with Blackout, local techno stalwarts Animal Farm delivered not just an 11-hour techno marathon, but an event with a unique conceptual and aesthetic twist.
Held across two venues, The Glue Factory and Joytown Grand Electric Theatre, Blackout boasted a stellar line-up featuring several previous Animal Farm guests. Abdulla Rashim, Dax J, Stephanie Sykes and Somewhen featured on the bill, with the latter performing a rare live set. However, what made Blackout really stand out was the promise of an ‘all-consuming environment’, designed specifically to compliment the music and create a powerful, immersive atmosphere.
The bare stone walls and industrial feel of The Glue Factory seemed perfectly suited to a party of this calibre, and once entered, you soon forgot about the sunny day outside. Dimly lit corridors led you to the bar, and then past a small cinema room showing visceral visuals. Next to that was the main room, and as you walked forwards you became immediately aware of how dark it was. By the time your eyes had adjusted to the gloom, sudden strobe flashes would leave you reeling again.
Following a warm-up from the Animal Farm residents, Stephanie Sykes kicked things into gear with a tough, no-nonsense set. The strobes became more frequent, and at points the venue felt almost like Berlin’s Tresor - especially when the thick smoke descended and reduced visibility to zero. Somewhen was on next, and he ramped things up with a seldom-heard live set. By this point the venue had filled considerably, and the energy in the room was palpable as the Osgut-Ton artist performed a host of new material, as well as live renditions of his more popular records.
At 8pm the mysterious Swede, Abdulla Rashim, took to the stage. His signature brooding, melancholic sound was perfect for the setting; his set ranging from deep, atmospheric tracks to discordant heavy hitters. The contrast between some of his selections was complimented perfectly by the alternating blackness and ferocity of the strobes.
Closing The Glue Factory was the infamous Dax J, and he wasted no time in pummelling the crowd with his high octane track choices. Two particular highlights were ‘Rausch’ from Inhalt Der Nacht and the guaranteed floor killer ‘One Night In NYC’ by the Horrorist.
After 11pm, the party continued at Joytown Grand Electric Theatre. It’s a venue not many people are aware of, which is unfortunate, as it’s a lavishly decorated space with a sprawling seating area behind the dancefloor. Animal Farm took control of the music again for the first couple of hours, and they were followed by an impromptu B2B from Dax J and Somewhen. Despite the fact most people had been going full-tilt since the afternoon, the energy in the crowd remained at a constant high, and it actually seemed to be peaking by the time the lights came up and the party was over, much to everyone’s dismay.
It can be tough for techno fans in Glasgow; laws within the city mean that some parties feel like they’re over before they’ve even begun. There are, however, certain events that strive to push past the boundaries and limitations; Blackout managed to achieve this and more, and is hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Animal Farm's next event is a resident's party at The Art School on April 22nd. Advance tickets are available from Resident Advisor priced at £5.00 (excl fees). The next Blackout event is in planning.