Friday, 18 October 2013

21 Years of the Mersey Beats


My history with Cream takes me way back to 1995 when I purchased their first Cream Live C.D ( which I still have today ) and my first Cream party experience being in '96 at BCM Magaluf with Phat Phil Cooper, Danny Rampling and Nick Warren in the house ( amazing party ). In recent times I've partied at Creamfields 2003 and in Amnesia, Ibiza 2012, but ashamedly I have to say I never made it to their spiritual home at Nation, until now. Having seen the quality assemble of D.J talent  (new / old ) that had been booked to play, also the rare chance to see Oakey back in the Courtyard, I thought you only live once and got out the reliable flexible friend. A decision I do not regret.

On entering the not too busy club for the first time the anticipation and excitement immediately lifts me. For my first stop I had planned to catch recent resident Gareth Wyn in the main room, but have to head to the cloak room to dispose of my coat and headed through The Courtyard which was being sound tracked by the original resident Paul Bleasdale. He's throwing down some absolute classics, Delirium 'Silence',  Brainbug 'Nightmare' and Bedrock 'For what you dream of', It's to much too soon.

I head to catch Wyn in The Main Room who takes the mic and shouts “Welcome to the best club in the mother fuckin world” I’m ready to go! He drops the reworked mix of the Ibizan classic Armand Van Helden 'You don't know me' and by this time the place is filling up fast. He plays an uplifting Electro house set, warming us up nicely and getting us prepared for the long night ahead.

I move into The Annexe where I’m greeted by a sign saying 25 yrs of K-Klass. The piano house legends take us through some of their classic mixes and old skool tunes like Klf '3am Eternal, Mory Kante 'Ye ke Ye Ke' in to new summer tune Breach 'Jack' and of course they don't disappoint by dropping their anthem 'Rhythm is a mystery'  (incidentally one of the first tunes I bought on C.D single.) A real trip down memory lane and a quality set. I took a photo opportunity as well:

Live clip and Set on Mixcloud 

It's over to The Courtyard in time for Oakey but I catch the back end of B.T who's melodic vocal trance set is appealing but really hit's its peak time with his classic 'Flaming June'. The ice cannon explodes, the confetti surrounds us, then the set suddenly bangs and ends, the sounds gone, panic stations. I see Paul Oakenfold looming near the decks while a technician franticly gets things up and running like Cream's very own Scotty from Star Trek.

B.T & Oakey Live footage

Not much time is wasted, everything's fixed and the legendary resident from '97 and '98 is back in his spiritual home, easing us in slowly with an atmospheric intro. He his surrounded by a huge LED box and at times the visuals make him look like he's in the Movie TRON. The opening beats of Tilt-'Butterfly' encase me with melodic flutters, the hair's on my neck are on end, euphoria takes control. For me I’ve waited a long time to experience this here at Nation and it was worth the wait. He takes us in to a Trance journey from old to new including PPK 'Resurrection' and the beautiful Ascension ' Someone like you'.

I'm talking to a few Cream regulars who tell me their best friend ( who is dancing arms aloft to her hero ) is having this played at her wedding. 

I head back over mid set to The Annexe to catch another legend Danny Rampling who is giving the dance floor a lesson in House music ( what he does best ). Lot's of love groove coming out from the speakers in to this dance party. I manage to get behind the decks to say hello and get a chat with a former resident and tonight's Annexe headliner Phat Phil Cooper. He tells me “I was pretty much playing at Cream from day one, mainly US Garage style before I went out to play the Ibiza parties. The first D.J I remember opening for was Laurent Garnier” I ask him what tune really did it for him playing Cream back in the day “It would have been something like Bassheads 'Is there anyone out there' but I would have to go with : Jamiroquai 'Space Cowboy ( David Morales Mix )  I have to agree, it's a classic mix.

Previously I got a quick chat on Twitter with Danny Rampling and I asked him to share a favorite tune and early memories from playing. “I remember playing Afrika Bambaataa 'Just get up and dance' and everyone was asking what it was” He goes on to say “Darren Hughes decorated the whole club with flags of the world, I said next time I D.J here I want the flags back. I played the Cream 1st Birthday and he did. I still have the original poster for the event” Also he added about the Bambaataa Tune " It was the Italo sound of 90-91 and the message 'Just get up and dance' and that's what we did"

On approaching the Main room for the final time I'm almost unable to get through the entrance and the heat coming out from the maximum capacity dance floor is like a Rave at Hell's Gate. Not so in to the new EDM Electro sound but you cannot deny it's energy and appeal to the younger clubber. They all reach out at one point making a heart shape to Dimitri Vegas, a very uplifting moment.

Back to The Courtyard were Oakey is finishing up his set with the classic Brainbug 'Nightmare' and the intensely insane beats of :  C.J Bolland 'The Prophet'  The crowd shout 'Oakey, Oakey..' I'm sure he enjoyed being back as much as we loved seeing him and it showed even with all the super clubs, arenas and lifestyle he had not forgotten his roots.

Judge Jules takes to the decks and wastes no time launching into his trademark chunky, banging sound. I hear a snippet of Underworlds 'King of Snake' then suddenly coming in to the mix a true Ibizian classic: Energy 52 'Cafe Del Mar' bringing it back from his successful San Antonio night Judgement Fridays, the crowd approve. Previously I managed to get a quick Q & A with the Legendary Radio 1 D.J/producer:

Q: Can you give me one tune that reminds you of Cream?

Jules: Underworld 'Born Slippy' You don't need me to tell you how amazing the reaction was when I played it.

Q: Can you recall your first set there, when and who played?

J: Not specifically as I played there so often, but it would have been around 1994.

Q: It would have been all vinyl then, what tune smashed it for you ( tried and tested ) and do you still own it?

J: I owned the first copy of Brainbug 'Nightmare' and witnessing it's stratospheric reaction from day one.

Q: Main room or Courtyard?

J: I mainly played the main room but like both.

Unfortunately I didn't catch the Head-liners for the night as I left around 4am, with a 10.00pm start its back to rest the feet and reminisce while the music plays on. What a fantastic night, brilliant crowd and legendary venue. It will definitely be going down in my top 5 nights of my life and after that the only questions is..... Where now? 

Happy 21st Birthday CREAM, long may the party last.
The organizers and party people will be back for part 2 very soon

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