WORDS: Kirsty Moreland
PHOTO: Here & Now Photography
It’s a damp, miserable school night, and as our taxi speeds through the city centre we barely encounter a pedestrian. Glasgow is a ghost town…apart from Jamaica Street. The Sub Club is sold out tonight and a loud, glittery mob is assembled outside, their spirits seemingly impervious to the drizzle. This is not Ben Pearce’s first set in Glasgow, but whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
For anyone with ears and a pulse, you’ll already know Ben Pearce. His platinum selling soul/house fusion 'What I Might Do' became the bass-house anthem of 2012. Tonight though, he’s in town to present his ‘Sextape Series’, a concept which pays homage to ‘sleazy disco’, soul and funk. “It’s a night to leave inhibitions about what’s cool at the door and put hands in the air”, says Pearce. And when he strides into the infamous Subbie booth, it’s clear he’s sticking to his guns.
Resplendent in a fuchsia and yellow Hawaiian shirt, he kicks off the set with disco behemoth 'Make Luv', and an imaginary glitter ball instantly descends on the club. The mood is fun and carefree; sparkly-cheeked girls scale the walls of the booth to make eye contact with the DJ, while sweaty Glaswegian males point unapologetically to the ceiling as Donna Summer blares through the speakers. It’s an incongruous sight, though perhaps it’s unfair to be surprised. Sub Rosa has occupied the Sub Club midweek slot since 2011, acquiring a reputation as an on-point alternative to Sauchiehall Street’s mainstream drivel. With recent guests including Breach and Wilkes, standards show no sign of slipping.
Throughout his two hour set, Pearce’s penchant for kitsch doesn't waiver, and at 2.59am he delivers his coup de grace: his hand, as though guided by divine wisdom, cues up “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. As the ballad blasts across the room, a familiar chant emanates from the mob: “Here we, here we, here we fucking go!” It’s a sound seldom heard over Whitney Houston, and a testament to the DJ’s ability to read his crowd. As the lights come up, the booth is immediately flanked by fans looking to shake the man’s hand, and to our surprise, Pearce appears slightly bashful; which is ironic, considering he just starred in his own Sextape.
Listen to the ‘Sextape Disco Mix’ recorded by Pearce below: