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Review: Anjunadeep at Fire, London, 25th April

Ice cold beats at South London’s Fire

It's been ten years now since Above and Beyond set-up Anjunabeats, an offshoot / sub-label from their trance-focused Anjunadeep. Ten years which has seen the label evolve from an outlet for releases that sit outside of trance into a distinct, respected brand in its own right with a focus on the deeper side of trance and house.

And what better way to celebrate ten years in the business than an all-nighter at Fire, a club rightfully thought of as amongst London's very best. Fire has also gone through a process of reinvention as its strictly gay beginnings have been left behind (although not entirely) to become host to some of the biggest names in dance music; John Digweed's Bedrock showcases are regular fixtures and Marco Carola recently brought his Music On afters here.

It's easy to see why Fire can attract these parties, the soundsystem is crisp and powerful with an under-the-arches setting that is a great help acoustically, the crowd consistently in the right mindset with a distinct lack of “attitude”, and excellent transport links. Don't let that last one be dismissed, there's many a great venue been brought to its knees by being so bloody inconvenient to get to (I'm looking at you Matter). Until they introduce the long overdue 24-hour tube, having a big bus station right next to you and close to the city centre, makes for a much more appealing journey home at 6am.

A good choice by Anjunadeep to hold their party here then, as the deeper house sound needs a very good soundsystem to keep the energy up, but, and it pains me to say this, it wasn't always maintained. There just didn't seem to be the same amount of oomph in the speakers as I've come to expect from Fire, although this could well have been down to the tracks coming out of them. Lane 8 however, did do a very good job of squeezing as much energy out of his tunes as he could, there were some spot-on selections that drew in a very large and appreciative crowd to the Main Room. It was packed in there but never overly so, which can happen at Fire. The crowd helped a great deal in this, everyone's space to dance in was respected, and there were none of those groups of moody-faced girls holding hands in a kind of long train of pushing and jamming elbows in people's backs as they make their way to the toilets, thankfully.

Martin Roth carried this on then started to cool things off towards the end of his set but still kept the crowd going with razor sharp synths stabbing over, at times, syncopated percussion, a bit risky maybe, but he managed to pull it off skilfully. Ashworth, though warming down in fairness to him, let things get a touch too deep and dull. There was still plenty of time for him to carry on the energy of before in an admittedly brief 90 minutes but he took it down a bit too low and slow. I'd be interested to see what he would do if given the headline slot and able to let loose a little more. That'd have to be for next time though, and there will be a next time as Anjunadeep goes from strength to strength with a slew of new releases and parties in the pipeline and an ever-increasing, global following, so here's to another ten years.

WORDS | Andrew Fulker PHOTOGRAPHY | Luke Baker

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