The downtown New York venue Le Poisson Rouge looks different all the time. One night little tables are set out for diners to have supper while Black Francis noodles away at a guitar and piano, and the next night the tables are gone and the audience is shepherded into the main space through another door, which makes the place look totally different. Last night, LPR was decked out how I would imagine a London nightclub would look, having never been to a London nightclub myself. The venue was dressed up to fit the evening’s affair, a party thrown by UK-based dance label R&S Records starring James Blake and the Chain.
As the two members of the Chain took turns spinning tracks by some of the buzziest producers in the bassosphere, which is especially vibrant in London clubs, a small group of VIPs lounged on couches on the stage behind the DJ booth. The wall behind the decks was illuminated by neon-colored polka dot lights, which looked very trendy, and the median age on the dance floor had to be about 22.
One of the guys in the Chain queued up “Natalia’s Song” by Zomby and stepped back to let his partner take over for a bit. The second guy is scruffier than the first, but they both wore sweaters. Together the Chain balanced downtempo tracks, like Zomby’s and a cut from Shlohmo‘s latest EP, with club tracks by Joy Orbison, Boddika, Blawan and Paul Woolford.
James Blake, who eventually took the stage after lurking near the crowd with his hood up, chose a more obscure and eclectic setlist that reached beyond the bassosphere into pop and reggae. Actually, the closest he really got to pop was layering the vocals from Drake’s “Headlines” over his own “Love What Happened Here.” It was dope, though.