Words: Matthew Thomson

Following a sensational debut last year, Glasgow’s East End once again played host to a weekend of dance music excellence in the form of Sub Club Soundsystem. While revellers were not necessarily rewarded with sun split skies, it was hard to imagine anything dampening the buzz radiating from the Barras Art and Design centre, with an unrivalled line-up across the weekend.

Unsurprisingly, Saturday’s programming was entrusted to Subculture stalwarts Harri & Domenic, who launched into proceedings with Optimo hot on their heels. As JD Twitch handed over control to Roman Fluegel and Joy Orbison, the venue had become noticeably busy with people eager to witness a rare back-to-back.

Flugel and Orbison delivered the typically interesting and delightfully odd house selections one could expect from the pairing. Orbison slipping the much sought after and unreleased Kink remix of Unit 2’s ‘Sunshine’ into the mix was a particular highlight, and when the bass kicked in beneath the euphoric piano stabs the dancefloor erupted.

Photo: Sean Bell

Steffi followed with what was perhaps the quickest set of the weekend in terms of tempo. The Panorama Bar resident ramped up the pace considerably with a number of techno cuts capitalising perfectly on the growing energy in the room as the light diminished.

The hard graft from lighting and production artists Jenny Johan Reid and Shaun Murphy to transform the space truly became evident at night. As light levels plummeted, a huge disco ball nestled amongst a cloud of balloons spanning the venue’s ceiling came to life, sending dazzling light spinning throughout the courtyard. It feels almost criminal that this space in the heart of the Barras is being used only once a year for such events – but perhaps that’s what makes it so special.

Innervision’s co-founder, Âme, was the Saturday headliner and took the crowd on a journey with a fine demonstration of mixing and track selection; it almost seemed like his unmistakable sound was designed for this type of venue. Some particular highlights from his set came from DJ Hyperactive’s ‘Music Box’ - you could almost feel the tension build in the room as the wonky bassline reverberated off the walls - and Eagles and Butterflies much anticipated forthcoming Innervisions release, ‘X’, which sent the room into a frenzy.

Sunday saw Sensu take control, with their opening set followed by Dorisburg, one half of Genius of Time, who has been on a production roll recently with a number of highly praised records. The crowd was considerably smaller at this time than yesterday as Mano Le Tough took over; perhaps many were suffering from the previous night’s blowout. The Irishman was on fine form however and breathed a second wind into punters, with the room soon nearing capacity.

There was an undeniably distinct buzz in the air for Jackmaster, a buzz that was warranted as the Glasgow selector played possibly his best set that I’ve witnessed in recent memory. Dropping Laurent Garnier’s classic ‘The Man With The Red Face’ at the end of his set had a number of people on shoulders in what was a moment of sheer euphoria. Finally, the tall order of drawing the weekend’s festivities to a close fell upon Tale of Us. Two hours of their trademark brooding and dark sound by no means put a dampener on proceedings however, highlighted by the ecstatic crowd response to devastating tracks like Roman Poncet’s ‘Atome I’.

It may only have been its second outing, but following its tremendous success and an overwhelmingly positive reaction, Sub Club Soundsystem has certainly cemented itself as an essential event for Glasgow clubbers.

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