Daniel Avery takes over York Hall for a massive eight hour set that climbs from a sparse start to an explosive finish.
York Hall – 24th March
York Hall is a surreal home for techno. A neo-Georgian, grade II listed building and nestled alongside the V&A, bemused faces with wet hair are still emerging from the leisure centre as we arrive, damp from the spa facilities inside. But nobody’s here to deep cleanse their pores. On the contrary, everyone’s looking to lose their minds, and a lengthy healing retreat might be necessary by the time we’re finished here today.
As it turns out, Daniel Avery is adept at luring us into a false sense of security from the very beginning. Hazy textures and fractured beats, mostly made up of last month’s Slow Fade EP, are teased to welcome us in, hauntingly desolate and hypnotic at the same time. For those expecting breakneck rhythms from the off, it’s a jarring, sparse introduction.
But this is an eight hour extravaganza, the true definition of a marathon not a sprint, and it’s in our best interests to pace ourselves. We’re rapidly rewarded. The pace quickens without warning, Avery plunges us deep into one of his trademark techno wormholes and the room is collectively swaying as one to ‘Naive Response’.
Upon announcing the show, Avery promised “the things we have planned for sound, installation and lights are next level”, and he’s a man of his word. Swathes of dry ice are pumped in from each direction every couple of minutes, cloaking the booth and essentially burying the DJ but for his occasional swaying locks from the darkness. A luminous box hangs above his head, mostly dormant at first, yet gloriously explodes into life as the soundtrack picks up, riddled with Matrix-esque patterns and mesmerising strobes.
As the night bubbles over and reaches its final hours, beaming family members join Avery in the booth and and we find ourselves grinning back; everybody inside York Hall is swept up in the dizzying, communal euphoria that doesn’t align as often as some DJs would like. But perhaps it clicks due to its fresh spin on daytime clubbing, a newfangled pursuit that doesn’t break the bank. We’ve been concocting conspiracies that Nina Kraviz will announce a show at our local sports hall any day now.