Whenever an event goes down at London's Tobacco Dock, it almost feels like a mini inner-city festival except for its set entirely indoors, like a shopping mall for ravers if you like, given the number of units that make up the interior of this important London building.
The aptly entitled "LOST! In The Dock" from Hotbox had taken over this historical venue and brought with them MK, Claptone and Disciples for their debut show. Inside Tobacco Dock, the masses were out in force for this chilly March evening, with bodies bustling all over the various rooms which were on offer, all eager to experience the multitude of deejays across various rooms which were on offer. The usual token system was in place to buy drinks with £10 for a cocktail and £6 for a beer, falling roughly in line with Londons over inflated prices for drinks that hardly contained any alcohol (Tip, stick to the beer). Once inside we made a beeline to the main room and caught one of the newer names on the block, Eli Brown. Having already heard about his interesting history of transitioning from Drum and Bass to House whilst being part of a new wave of talent steaming from the rich and vibrant Bristol scene, we decided to stick around and see what all the fuss was about. Having missed his first opening tracks, it was evident he already had the early birds warmed up and prepped for their raving journey that lay ahead as he carefully selected an energetic bumping set without going "full on" but still captivating the crowd with his music selection that suited the time of day flawlessly. It's easy to see why this guy is in demand as a deejay and as a producer, his definitely got all the hallmarks for being "House star" of the future.
After wondering to the Terrace in search of more drink tokens, we digested a healthy slice of Sante, who was providing a techy edge to the day and had the "headz" air fisting and gun saluting for more. Sante kept it fast paced and it was evident he delivered exactly what this energetic crowd wanted, slipping a few gems from his own imprint, Avotremusic. We decided to head back to the Great Gallery and was treated to Lee Foss in MK's Area 10 Arena absolutely going off. It's been a minute since we heard Lee Foss in the capital, and it quickly reaffirmed that we need to hear more of this guy in the capital given his rich and longstanding history with House music. It's so dark in the Great Gallery that you can quickly forget that it's early evening as we got lost with the hordes who were frantically throwing shapes as they got down to Mr Foss and Eli Brown new weapon labelled "Brazil". Leaving the crowd on a high, the road was paved for the masked crusader, Claptone. With energy levels on max, Claptone took over and provided a well crafted set underpinned by supple house grooves, layered with luscious vocals providing a more commercial side to the House beats which were on offer tonight. The German deejays widespread appeal to this young London crowd is clearly evident when you scan the room and catch most of the punters in full rave mood, clearly LOST! within vocal house that was being dropped one after the other during his diverse set. Very hard to fault anything he played, the build-ups and drops, coupled with his excellent track selection cemented why his so in demand all over the world as a producer and deejay.
With the Great Gallery being hosted by Area 10, MK's worldwide party brand, the boss himself stepped up to wrap up proceedings at the Dock. The Bonafide house veteran followed on perfectly from Claptone's "Soulified" House set and provided a little more of the same commercial flavour that the crowd has already become accustomed too. The legendary Detroit selector made sure he left his mark for the closing set starting off with some of his well-known classics that had a little MK edit which had the crowd providing back up vocals throughout his flawless deejay set.
The night itself was very busy and no doubt filled to capacity but well organised to ensure that you were not waiting for ages to get in a room or arena. It's hard not to say that you might have felt like sheep at times, being herded when you were moving around, but too be fair, given the layout of how Tobacco Dock is, it was well managed by the helpful security and stewards who were on hand to help all throughout the evening.
All the deejays we caught smashed it for different reasons, from Billy Cocks and Larry London closing up the V.I.P room (aka O.A.P room) with some old soul classics, and newcomer, Eli Brown showing off his cutting edge infectious productions, to the legendary Mark Kichen closing out the Great Gallery as only a veteran could, all the artists played their part in stealing the show to make Hotbox's 1st venture at Tobacco Dock a runaway success.