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April 5, 2011 / rocksandgravel

Review: Scandalism with Jack Beats

Shamefully, tonight is my first visit to the The Nest, the latest club to try its luck on the Stokey/Dalston border, and I thought it was about time to see it for myself. I’m quite surprised by the size of queue outside this place tonight, which is massive already. Usually 11 is a good time to hit the club, but here, they’re already operating a one in one out policy and the bouncer is taking no prisoners. With no clear idea of what to expect, as most reports from friends consist of “it was good, but I got there pretty late and was very drunk” tonight I’m going in with an open mind.

The first thing that strikes me when we finally get in there is the sound quality- really full on with the right measure of bass without rattling, and no tinny sounds either. To my left is an empty cage signposted to be for “dancers” and a neon birdcage hangs above my head. I feel like I’m in an underground bunker, or a speakeasy, and the rectangular room stretches longer than I can see. The DJ booth is shaded by a mist of green and pink, and there’s just about room for everyone to dance.

After picking up a whisky and ginger from the bar we head straight in to the crowd, however it’s so rammed it’s quickly becomes a bit of a struggle to find the space to move around in. The vibe here reminds me of the nights I went to as a student, which I mean in the sense that it is packed, everyone is rather drunk, and there are some pointing dance moves going on that I feel obliged to imitate. It’s not long before we’re in our own bubble of dad-style dancing.

Jack Beats have taken over and are mixing and mashing up all sorts, with vocal snippets and glitchy beats layered over each other, chopping and changing between very different samples. One minute ‘One’ is going down and the young crowd is lapping it up reaching for the non-existent lasers, the next minute it’s the dirty grimacing bass of Babylon Dub. There’s a feeling of never knowing where they might take it next, and that’s a good and a bad thing. As soon as we identify the sound of steel drums that underlies another song layered over, we’re drumming along in time, as you do.

The fact that you never know where you are with this kind of music can be exciting, but constant chopping and changing can get to you. Tonight it’s working though, and despite the erratic selections I’m in a good mood and they’re making the transition between random samples, urban beats and vocals, throwing in ‘Lemonade’ in for good measure. My first venture into “clubbing” was this style of music and this sized space, and I get the strange sensation that I’m observing my old party days from the side of the dance floor. Best of all, the atmosphere is unpretentious and I’m not the drunkest one in the room…

We had fun tonight- the space is awesome- it’s just the right size, the sound-system is spot on, the crowd is young and easy going and I can definitely afford to drink here. The music, well it was good to dance to, but it did kind of make me realise how my taste has changed – but that’s not to say I don’t like it anymore, in fact, it kind of made me nostalgic. Good god, I feel old…

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