18 - 21 October
As one of Crack’s cohorts analysed the 12 hours just spent in London’s best nightclub, a firm conclusion was drawn. “It’s like the most reliable friend you’ve ever had. You go away, you visit other places, but they’re always there, and you would miss them horribly if they were gone.”
Doff of the cap fabric. 15 years in the business and still the one. Clubs have closed, clubs have opened (including their own second venue, Matter), clubs have morphed (Secret East London Location was the venue of choice for promoters for some years) and clubs have been overtaken by the festival market as underground electronic music increasingly finds itself poking its head above the parapet and DJs command fees they could only dream of a few years ago. However, come Friday or Saturday night for 52 weeks of the year, those that really want the underground do what comes naturally and scurry beneath the surface and into fabric.
The 30-hour musical marathon that started on the Saturday night at 11pm is already 13 hours old when Crack arrives at 1pm on Sunday after a good night sleep and a hearty brunch. Not the usual pre-clubbing hors d’oeuvres, but in clubbing at one in the afternoon there is such a underlying sense of self-imposed ignorance at what you ”should be doing” on a Sunday that’s it hard not to walk in there with a slight guilty apprehension. Is clubbing on a Sunday afternoon a good choice? In this case, yes. Yes it is. Sure, some of the hardier members of fabric’s clientele are still awake, fist-pumping away, probably still reeling from the 10 hours Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann completed three hours previous. Crack wasn’t ever going to do the full 30 (one of us is nearly 30 ourselves, after all) though witnessing this canonical tag-team should’ve perhaps enticed us out of bed a bit earlier.
As we enter, that wonderful crossover period between fresh faces and night creatures is hugely evident. Seth Troxler’s spacey atmospheric techno is the perfect aperitif for those still reeling and those entering. Weird enough to get lost and tough enough to feel purposeful, for all the extras attached to Mr Troxler’s much-analysed personality, his continued position at the top table is crucially based far more on his weird and wonderful techno selections than deriders would like to admit. We just hope he continues to plough the stranger end of the spectrum and his presence dancing away in the crowd and in the club over the entire course of the day is a pleasure and a reassurance that not every DJ wants to spend their time in the VIP booth when not behind the decks.
fabric morphs and changes over the day, with the mood becoming celebratory as the Innervisions boys play for six hours and those die hard Dixon fans show up as the main room floor gets very, very full. Theirs is a set that has highlights but provides little variation from the sound we know they deploy with precision. Therefore the opening of Room Three at 5pm for a series of special B2B sets and guest appearances is perfectly timed, with characters passing through including two of Crack’s A-List favourites Levon Vincent and Gerd Jansen, neither of whom were billed to perform. Well, when you’re in town…
As afternoon winds into evening the fancy dress comes out, Craig Richards dons a sombrero, and was that Jamie Jones in a Mr Blobby outfit? By the time Ben UFO produces unequivocally the set of the day we’re in an exceptionally good place. UFO’s position as a masterful selector was never in doubt but he slots in supremely on this line-up with his rough-edged techno commanding respect. With the Hessle Audio sound becoming intrinsically linked with the UK’s command of analogue techno as opposed to the bass music strands it might have initially been forged from, he fits in perfectly as the party picks up pace again. Tough without being abrasive (it is Sunday after all) and with uncanny mixing ability, UFO’s two hours sees us in full-throttle dance mode before before Mathew Jonson sets Room One ablaze with his live and ever-imaginative trippy, twisty take on techno.
It’s testament to the reverence in which many hold the brick walls of this club that it’s still rammed at this point. Maybe it’s the impending set of one Ricardo Villalobos, but Jonson is considered one of the best to pass through these walls over the years, his wildly improvisational techno jams as Cobblestone Jazz or Modern Deep Left Quartet being exactly the kind of off-kilter techno that fabric revels in. We literally have to drag ourselves away.
In an electronic industry where fickleness can be all too prevalent and taste is often eschewed in favour of marketability, the brick of the old abattoir and its keepers’ commitment to solid, compromise-free bookings has left it as one of a kind in London and beyond. Tonight the club in saluted in the best way possible: by being absolutely rammed on a Sunday and playing host to favourites old and new. It’s a treasure we’re lucky to have and to all the people that continue to propel it forward, Crack raises a glass.