At the Tramshed for this 6 Music Festival night of genre-fluid electronic music from Sherelle – “going clubbing” I guess they call it – and I’m thinking about how people, when getting back into doing something they’ve not done for ages, have a tendency to universalise the personal. Do you know what I mean? I’ve seen plenty of reviews – I’ve published a few of them – with a sentiment along the lines of, “we’re finally all back together in a room enjoying music. What a feeling!” some time after this experience was returned to the menu.
Doing this kind of thing for the first time in two years and change, I get how this works. Probably there are people in the room who’ve been doing this every weekend for months now. Good for them! I’m gazing into the navel of my own experience and it’s very pleasant. This place seems to have become a club venue by default (the miserable lack of such choice in the city) more than design, but it sounds decent and has a friendly aura.
Elkka opens up with a creditably cheerful, 90s-flavoured set including Renegade Master and a Todd Terry remix of Lovefool by the Cardigans; it is, as she tweeted, a “homecoming” for the producer, who has made a fair name for herself through 12”s on Technicolor without me having realised until now that she’s Cardiffian by origin. Two of 6 Music’s DJ stable, Afrodeutsche and Tom Ravenscroft, follow with a b2b set that’s acid-y early on and Detroitian towards the end.
Overmono are a brotherly duo, Ed and Tom Russell, who have released multiple singles on the rave-is-back incarnation of XL and become a slicker operation than I would have expected when Tom was releasing lethal techno as Truss. Their set is something of a big room chug, broadly speaking (this still allows for the inclusion of curveballs like Lil Silva), that finishes on a classic trance tip and works pretty well while feeling more like a segment of a much longer set, rather than the hour in toto it actually is.
Headliner Sherelle has made her name as a selector (and, only in recent months, a producer) drawing an equivalence between the high-BPM rattles of Chicago footwork and old-skool jungle: she’s by no means the first person to clock this, but the more the merrier, and moreover she does it terrifically. Such complex rhythmic zigzags are what we get early on, at least. “Anyone fancy some hardcore?” she asks, after a while, before quite simply ladling it onto our plates. If there’s been a harder DJ set in this venue before, I’d be pretty surprised; Sherelle could have assumed that a crowd summoned here by a publicly broadcast radio station were not especially up for being kicked like a mule and played it safe, but very much did not do that, and it turned out lovely.
Tramshed, Cardiff, Fri 1 Apr
words and photos NOEL GARDNER
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