Ministry of Sound brings a sky full of EDM stars together for first Weekender Online
If one genre has suffered the most during the present pandemic, then surely it must be dance music. With no clubs to fill, no day-festivals or dusk till dawn raves, the communal experience of dance music has all but disappeared, banished to sad speakers in living rooms. However, as on day one, the Ministry of Sound Weekender has tapped this growing well of would-be togetherness with a strong set of back-to-back beats, raising money for the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. We look at some of the highlights from Saturday.
Rolling through with a prime selection of hot house tracks for an equally hot afternoon, KC Lights’s carefree yet focused set made the yearning for a real dance floor even more acute. Mat.Joe and Elian Dust’s Shine captured the atmosphere perfectly, a jubilant party in the making.
Rising South London star Bklava followed with an eclectic R&B-infused set to keep the mood light and fast. Featuring a selection of her own tracks, including Take Time, a particular highlight, the hard ‘n’ happy succession of tracks came complete with a nod to her successor, India Jordan, with certified summer smash For You. However, a lapse into the dubstep wobbles of Shylock’s Hot Steppa made for a refreshingly dark shift from the tasteful euphoria of 130 BPM.
People’s champion India Jordan was always going to be the highlight of day two. Fresh from the release of their hotly received second EP, For You, the set opened with a subtle and dreamy air, slowly fading into a driving blend of keys and percussion. Tracks like DJOKO’s Hooked on You and Human Movement’s hard-hitting Elevate captured Jordan’s infectious will to dance, so apparent on their studio releases.
A true festival set, measured and methodical and with wide-ranging touchstones – from Kylie Mynogue and Todd Edwards to the acid squelch of Traxman’s Run Like Hell and the trance delights of Marlomn Hoffstadt’s Blade Runner – Jordan came ready to cultivate an atmosphere of unadulterated fun. Of course, the set would not have been complete without some of Jordan’s own arsenal of tunes, with For You making its second much-appreciated appearance of the day.
With the UK’s own royal family far from view, it’s only right that a true king would come forward. A mere hour was barely enough to give undisputed garage maestro DJ EZ time to warm his bafflingly quick fingers. Yet, he was able to deliver – as ever – a potent set of speedy bangers, an Ofsted-approved education for the festival’s international viewers.
An exceptional run of straight-up garage classics, as well as new UKG talent, raised the temperature in the dying light of day two. A true tour de force of the noughties, EZ racked up Shola Ama’s evergreen Imagine and Artful Dodger’s remix of Sisqo and MC Alastair’s Thong Song alongside the raucous basslines of tracks like of Pink’s There You Go (Sovereign Mix). A real highlight was Bullacake’s Dexplicit blended with Sticky’s timeless Ms Dynamite collab Booo!, quickly followed by another great Sticky selection, this time featuring Kele Le Roc on Things We Do for Love.
One of the real stars of the UK underground, Paul Woolford – known by most for the brutal breakbeats of his alias Special Request – opened with the bassy Scat mix of Primal Scream’s classic Don’t Fight It before delving into a well-curated line up of vocal house tunes.
The leisurely opening gave way to some funky beats with an extended playout of Deep Zone & Ceybil Jefferies’ It’s Gonna Be Alright, followed by a slew of jazz-inflected records that had a free and breezy feel to the mix. Meanwhile, the house keys and vocals of Mountains by The Vision and Andreya Triana encapsulated the soulful edge of Woolford’s set, which was apparent throughout.
From start to finish, day two brought a fine selection of suitably Saturday party-time tunes from a broad selection of dance talent. We can only hope that the next time we hear such a strong lineup we’ll be able to experience it together.
Image: KC Lights performing at Ministry of Sound Weekender online
For further information and future events visit Ministry of Sound’s website here.
Listen to India Jordan’s For You here: