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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sven Vath & Cocoon @ Building Six 22/11/2014



A year isn’t a year unless I have danced to Papa Sven and it is my 10 year anniversary since I saw the Cocoon light, ditching the likes of David Guetta, Paul Van Dyk and Erick Morillo for a far more sonically satisfying, albeit at first a rather confusing form of dance music.  Where is the drop?!


I really wanted to go to Sven’s 50th birthday in Mannheim, I deeply felt I should given how much Sven means to me but the finances didn’t allow (plus I don’t like the music that the two main supporting DJs play – Richie Hawtin and Luciano – had the line-up been more appealing to my tastes then I am sure my bank manager would have seen this as an agreeable use of overdraft facilities).

And if a Ryanair-fuelled weekend in Mannheim is not financially permissible then then magical island of Ibiza is about as affordable as a trip to the moon. Via Jupiter.

So this night was unmissable, especially given that my best friend finished her exams two days before, and we gathered a fair crowd of us including two Cocoon virgins, one of whom I have been trying to persuade since 2006.

Learning the mistake of last time, we arrived early at around 10:30pm, despite a shitload of faffing around – a delayed train to London – further delayed on board by engineering works – going to the toilet/getting money out/buying wine/getting cash out (why are people so inefficient – especially when going to see German DJs?) – getting off the tube at Baker Street only to find out the Jubilee line is partially closed – getting back on the tube – walking around two miles to change onto the Jubilee line at Waterloo – meeting people at North Greenwich and losing them within 2 minutes.

It would have been easier to get to Ibiza.

At least we didn't join our other friends who took the boat from Waterloo and promptly got thrown off and had to walk the rest of the way.

The entrance to Building Six had been changed from last year to the opposite side – this made so much more sense as there was a lot more capacity to check tickets, search and allow entry.  I must add that the security team were the most professional yet friendly and helpful I have come across in London and other clubs could learn a lot from them – The Egg and Brixton Electric to name two – especially The Egg which I refuse to ever go to no matter how good the line-up given the security team’s attempted at extortion last time I was there and so many other horror stories I have heard.

There is something special about seeing a club night through from beginning to end and it was very quiet upon arrival.  The warm-up DJ, James Menero (I think?) did a very commendable job in…warming up.  Playing good music but without taking the attention away from the main acts.  We were straight on the dancefloor – no messing around except for taking one photo for my photograph-obsessed friend and I refused to take any more.  I’d paid good money to dance, not take photographs.  Plus I can dance adequately.  I am shit at photography.

Appropriately Steve Bug was the first DJ I saw at Cocoon back in 2004 (I really could not understand why I was enjoying the music that never did anything) and he played a cracking set on Saturday.  He had a big smile on his face – you could see how much he was enjoying these moments and that was reflected upon the crowd who were increasing in number and enjoyment.  Musically it was closest to deep house – the proper stuff, not the new-fangled chart deep house, though this generalised description is perhaps a tad unfair given a good range of music played.  The set had feeling and soul to it, as well as a punch.  I was really impressed.

Christian Burkhardt came on next and though I really enjoy his productions, I wasn’t captivated and went to talk to randoms in the garden and have a sit down for a bit.  I am getting old.  I came back towards the end of his set and he was pumping out some tough beats.

Then Sven arrived - the excitement levels went through the roof in the crowd and he set off in techno destruction mode - taking no prisoners and bashing out some rather tough beats from the off.

It seemed mostly techno to me - obviously (I hate that word) it was not techno of the likes of Surgeon or Perc, for example, but it was the toughest techno I have heard Sven play for a long time.

Lots of fist-pumping, a few drops, loads of energy and plenty of insanely danceable techno.  Just a few tunes I recognised from recorded sets online such as Gary Beck's 'Get Together' - I truly love that song.  One criticism I see online sometimes is that Sven plays "the same old tracks".  He didn't.


Sven was very much enjoying himself - as were the whole crowd.  Overall the crowd were good - a few steroid-heads that looked a bit coke-moody and I saw the security staff having to wrestle one guy to the ground but thankfully free of the sleazeoids that fabric sadly attracts.

Annoyingly it finished on the dot at 6am - not even one last tune.  I appreciate that the security have to clear the Millenium Dome before the normal people arrive and I assume that the license is strictly until 6am only, but it would make more sense if it were open until the first tube train just after 7am.  Thankfully it wasn't too cold so we went and listened to the sound of multiple balloons being blown up.

Have I got anything to moan about?  Of course I have.  Albeit relatively minor glitches.

Firstly the soundsystem, whilst powerful, did seem to have something amiss.  I am no sound engineer but it didn't seem quite as crisp as it could have been.  There could have been more bass.  Maybe I am just too used to fabric.

Secondly the visuals.  I normally really don't give a flying toss about the graphic stuff - a dark room and a couple of lights is sufficient when you have fantastic music.  But last year the stage design actually enhanced the night.  This year it seemed an afterthought - it seemed like it had been created in 10 minutes.  It isn't important and didn't detract from the night.  But it was noted.

Minor gripes aside, this was easily my best night out all year - I still have a massive smile on my face, I am comedown-free (maybe it is delayed), the music was brilliant and I cannot emphasise enough how much I enjoyed this night.

Sven is once again my favourite DJ.  I will still be dancing to him when I am 50.

ps.  Are we sure that we cannot have an ice cannon?