Gatecrasher Summer Sound System 2002 was penned by the Sheffield superclub as the 'Hottest Event of the Summer'... but with poor ticket sales, the no-show Carl Cox's Global tent and the club turning monthly, things are not looking rosy from the outset...
[r-zone1]Well, it’s maybe not the beginning to an end, but it’s definitely a huge wake-up call to Gatecrasher and clubland on a whole (especially when the bank manager comes knocking on the door). Glastonbury, the World Cup, summer holidays abroad… was it simply a case of bad timing on Gatecrashers part, or does the real problem run much deeper than that? Afterall, in terms of their weekly club nights, summer festivals, NEC gigs, DJ line ups, mix compilations and general merchandise, Gatecrasher has completely dominated the rest of clubland for the past few years. So does this mean that the ‘superclub’ era is now drawing to a close, or are we merely reading too much into this?
[l-zone2]Whatever the case may be, the fact is, that some of the world’s most respected and talented DJ’s and Artists were all doing what they do best in a field full of nutters in the middle of nowhere. Those who did go had the time of their lives… the sun was shining, the beer was flowing and everyone was dancing and having fun.
[r-zone3]On arrival, Gatecrasher issued a report stating that the Carl Cox arena was closed due to structural damage (and not poor ticket sales, as rumours would have you believe). This of course was a big blow to the promoters and punters alike and it left one end of the site looking barer than a baby’s bottom. Having said that, with the likes of Danny Tenaglia, The Chemical Brothers and Groove Armada still on the bill, even the most impotent of men would surely go hard at the mouth-watering talent on offer.
[l-zone4]And they certainly did go hard over in the Chemical Generation tent, as the Chemical Brothers unquestionably turned in the star performance of the day. Foreplay came in the shape of Come With Us, whilst the duo climaxed the set with The Psychedelic Reel. Classic tracks like Afrika, Block Rockin’ Beats and Out Of Control came and went in between, as Tom and Ed made another immense musical spectacle of themselves.
[r-zone1]Prior to the sirens, the twisted basslines and the trippy visuals came some fine disco grooves and cider in the form of the Strongbow Lounge, followed by a musical lesson from James Zabiela. The lad may be young, but I’m sure the old pro’s on the scene must be turning green with envy, as his DJing talents are simply not of this world. Zabiela’s main party trick is in his ability to scratch the hell out of any given track. Think Run DMC, think Sasha, think legend. Talking of Sasha, he and John Digweed played their second back2back set of recent weeks in Digweed’s Bedrock arena. Having totally killed the dancefloor at Homelands, the boys were at it again as they took centre stage for 5 continuous hours. Your place in heaven surely awaits you both…
[l-zone2]But any Gatecrasher night wouldn’t be complete without the odd bit of hands-in-the-air tomfoolery, now would it? And the hordes of Cyber-Kids were not to be disappointed, as the biggest names in Trance were all present and accounted for. Just imagine Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk all on the same bill, more to the point all playing one after the other. This was no illusion, this was the main Gatecrasher arena and this place was absolutely rammed from 7pm until midnight. This talented trio has dominated the Trance scene for the best part of a decade now and it was left to Oakey to steal the show. The Perfecto guru played a big set, showing that there is still life in the old dog yet, despite his somewhat disappointing debut solo album.
[r-zone3]The remainder of the night was left in the very capable hands of Dutch superstar Lucien Foort (in place of Sander Kleinenberg) and Gatecrasher debutante Danny Tenaglia. Danny is a musical mystery. In the DJ circles, everyone holds him in such high regard, and I mean everyone. Eager to find out what all the fuss was about we checked out the latter part of his 7-hour set. If only his navigational skills were as fine tuned as his DJing talents… “Thank you London” he said throughout his set; London? Not quite Danny, better get that atlas out on the flight home mate! Danny is a hugely versatile DJ and we caught him during the retrospective / any ol’ genre part of his set. Cue Adamski ‘Killer’, Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ and the new bad ass tune from US starlet Tweek. Then there was the 25-minute playing of Rui Da Silva’s ‘Touch Me’. Not quite the 45-minutes he achieved in Miami, but still a remarkable feat that I’m sure he’s very proud of.
[l-zone4]Whether Gatecrasher is beginning to lose its grip at the top is not the issue here. What is the issue however, is that Gatecrasher Summer Sound System was a great festival. But if you thought that that was good, then just imagine what it would have been like if Carl Cox, Darren Emerson, Stanton Warriors et al had been playing as expected too? Ah, well.