As the dust settles on 909’s birthday celebrations, The Waveform Transmitter‘s Ste Knight reflects on an outstanding party with two masters of modern electronic music.
Believe it or not, this writer had never actually managed to catch Jeff Mills performing one of his much-lauded DJ sets. An opportunity to see him playing here in Liverpool several years ago was thwarted by an inability to check a ticket corresponds with the date of an event, so this was a milestone that was not to be missed. The website is named after his Waveform Transmissions for fuck’s sake.
It goes without saying that the 909 brand has gone from strength to strength since it’s inception. Having brought Dave Clarke to Birkenhead Priory last September, we have come to expect big things from the 303 sister stable. As ever, the team behind these epic parties did not disappoint, bringing one of the founding father’s of Detroit techno, Jeff Mills, to Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory.
The fun didn’t stop there, though. The basement area of IWF, labelled the Substation, was set to feature an extended set from the Guv’nor himself, Andrew Weatherall. A firm favourite with 303 regulars and the wider Liverpool dance community, Weatherall has been playing in the city since the days of Voodoo, so it went without saying that the evening was going to be nothing short of spectacular.
The party had started early doors, with the 909 DJs opening the main IWF stage. tRiBe‘s Tom Page, a firm favourite here at The Waveform Transmitter, took things up a notch, before one of the city’s most rapidly sought after acts, KUSP, laid the way for ASOK to take to the decks. His brand of electronica set things up nicely for Manchester DJ Gemma Furbank to take the reins.
We first caught Gemma at the aforementioned Dave Clarke 909 party, and she impressed then. She didn’t disappoint this time round, as she delivered the perfect warm-up for us, and this writer’s limbs where definitely loosened by the full-throttle techno she was throwing down.
The Orbit regular didn’t pull any punches, and a personal highlight of her set was hearing Rolando‘s classic Knights of the Jaguar drifting out of the speakers. A perfect club track for some genuine euphoria to take hold. Her set paved the way for The Wizard to take over, and his arrival on stage was greeted by a crowd who were now ready for his inimitable brand of techno.
It is so easy to see how Jeff Mills commands such a great deal of respect. His ability to manipulate his 909 with such measure has always set him aside from his peers, and tonight he schooled Liverpool in how techno should be done. Operating his machine in conjunction with quickfire DJing, Mills delivered a sweat-inducing set that took the Detroit sound to the next level.
Truly awe-inspiring, and an illustration of the symbiotic relationship between man and machine. Mills‘ use of the 909 is nothing short of robotic. The precision is mind-boggling and to witness The Wizard putting the kit through its paces was a personal defining moment.
A pretty obvious one, but The Bells always has and always will get this writer. Hearing it played out by the very man who produced it was absolutely the highlight of the entire evening, on a personal level, and a moment in life that won’t be forgotten. Brilliant.
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With our legs absolutely danced into bloodied stumps, we managed to catch only half an hour of the good man Weatherall, but as we entered the sweaty Substation, it was clear that the master of chug was bringing the house down.
His turn had been provided the perfect foreword by Liverpool favourites Mr Paul and Moritz. As we were glued to the main stage we were sorry to miss the pair as we have always enjoyed their vibe when we have caught them playing in the city. You can’t be in two places at once though and as it was Mr Paul‘s WAXX that we missed out on when Jeff Mills played we are confident the boys will understand why.
We managed to throw out a few funky body jacks as Andy got our necks snapping again for a final heads-down-fists-pumping drench-out, before we staggered out into the rain and home to rest our rapidly aging and somewhat swollen feet.
It was great to see the city’s dance community unified to enjoy such magic in the making from all who played at the 909 birthday party. Here’s to another year! Incidentally, 2020 sees the brand teaming up with On The KUSP as they head to 24 Kitchen Street, bringing with them the mighty masked enigma, SNTS. Roll on February! Tickets here…