Words & Photo: Matthew Thomson
A simple glance at the mesmerised faces and it becomes immediately apparent why Jeff Mills is revered as ‘The Wizard’. Indeed, Soma had boasted that an ‘extremely special guest’ would be present at December’s Pressure, but this 25th anniversary party for the techno institution featured many other notable names, with Mills accompanied by Soma stalwarts, Slam, as well as label affiliates Funk D’Void, Silicone Soul, Petrichor and Charles Fenckler.
Frenchman, Fenckler, kicked-off proceedings and wasted no time in giving the soundsystem an early workout, with several productions from his new album 'Diving From the Void', plus big room bangers such as Cosmin TRG’s ‘In Your Body’. An impressive warm-up concluded with Fabrizio Lapiana’s brooding ‘1003B’, as Fenckler effectively demonstrated Soma’s ability to discover new talent and get the very best out of them.
Pressure residents Slam followed with an energetic live set, utilising the opportunity to showcase their own tracks which have been instrumental to the label’s success over the past quarter century. A highlight came via their massive remix of Jack Master’s ‘Bang The Box’, dropped amongst a frenzy of lights to a tremendous roar, before rounding off their set with menacing new album cut, ‘Psalm’.
Afterwards, only a faint blue light illuminated the booth as loopy, spacey and hypnotic techno began to slowly bubble from the speakers. Excitement brewed and cheers rang out as the unmistakable figure of Jeff Mills became visible, embarking on a journey into space with his otherworldly sounds. Mills’ face remained the picture of concentration as the dancefloor before him devolved into chaos; there was no over-the-top showmanship, yet the aura he commanded was remarkable.
It wouldn’t quite be a Mills set without his much-lauded Roland 909 jams, and as the end of the night drew near, SWG3’s cavernous space was filled with its distinctive sound. Reaching a climax, the moment many had undoubtedly been waiting for finally arrived. The unmistakable sound of ‘The Bells’ filtered through and was met with the loudest, most raucous cheer of the night – given extra venom by a thumping 909 beat running throughout. A Mills visit to Glasgow is rather rare these days, but as this occasion proved, when he does come to town it’s simply unmissable.
Pressure returns to SWG3 on Friday 27th January, featuring Slam, Planetary Assault Systems, Lucy, Cassy and Ivan Kutz. Advance tickets are available from Resident Advisor priced at £15.00 (excl fees).