Live Review: Just Jack 8th Birthday


Credit: Here & Now

It’s Thursday and the dust is only just settling on what was arguably the biggest night in Motion’s history. The build-up to Just Jack’s 8th birthday seemed to last almost a decade in itself, with excitement growing to quite ridiculous proportions approaching game night. Speaking to house and techno lovers around Bristol in the run-up, it would be  the first topic of conversation and sometimes also the last. So, come the 1st February, having booked so many quality artists and satiating a variety of musical tastes, Just Jack opened their arms and invited us into their world for 8 glorious hours (or more if you happened to go to the after party).

Where to start in putting the evening to words? As with any night as big as this, people wanted to get down early, which meant that unlike the usual empty caverns you find before it really kicks off, we found the place bustling on arrival. The decorations inside Motion were different to usual, it was more thought out and considered than has been seen on my last few escapades there. Particularly successful were the posters in the Tunnel, which made this narrow space become a homage to a time when social networks weren’t your main method of discovering events. The music here reflected that with a German and Dutch master at work, filling the space with as much acid-infused energy as they could muster.


Credit: Theo Cottle

Gerd Janson certainly delivered in here as expected; although the crowd wasn’t nearly large enough to begin with, it certainly picked up. Just as well, because missing a rare outing for Pepe Bradock’s Deep Burnt doesn’t bare thinking about [edit: we’ve been reliably informed it was infact Tomson who played this, who also does a killer monthly radio show] . Having been the highlight at The Barbershop a few hours prior Roman Flügel had set the bar high for himself as he followed Janson; again not disappointed in the slightest. Aided by a sound system and acoustic that channels the best sound in the club, the powerhouse that is Derrick May’s Strings of Life took on an ethereal complexion.  In total, these two gents have our blessing to be invited back, we’ll be there every time.

The main room had a strange feeling to it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but the simple, yet effective large handkerchief bunting really worked. This was best enjoyed from the Clown Bar balcony where you could look down on the borderline-chaotic scenes below. The problem was that it became a thoroughfare room for some, caught between the Tunnel and Warehouse. Musically this space was showing off homegrown British talent. Being greeted by Open Door by LoSoul expertly brought in by Paul Woolford as I entered was brilliant and his set was a great launchpad for the rest of the night. Bicep’s set was another highly anticipated one, but they lost me slightly when their exploration into drum n’ bass marred an otherwise fun session towards the tail-end of the evening.

Anyone who’d been to the Back To Jack last year with Omar-S knew to brace themselves for the landing of two Detroit masters in the Warehouse. There aren’t many DJs who have the ability to educate a crowd as well as entertain them, but Moodymann threw down some wax which should have no place in the confines of Motion; their anachronism was exactly what made them work so well. A truly spell-binding set from him was followed by a beauty of a run from Omar-S. Hearing The Shit Baby played by its creator was probably the moment of the night, musically, with him bringing it in a again a little later on just to watch the joy on the faces of the crowd. Over the course of both sets, a fellow Stamper could be seen for over 4 hours straight dancing in the same spot in the front far right corner. That speaks volumes itself.

The last set of the night came from Dan Wild. It was a real change from what had been playing in the Warehouse the rest of the night, but those with fuel still in the tank seemed to welcome it. Tracks like Chemical Soldiers’ Beautiful People and Kevin Saunderson’s instrumental mix of Octave One’s Blackwater really epitomised the direction of the final couple of hours of what really was a marathon of a night.

From conversations with people in the smoking area, it can be seen that party-goers expect a lot from Just Jack, and every single time they have delivered. This party was no exception; pulling off a mini-festival with 8 headliners was no mean feat. People that complained about the number of people must have forgotten that they were out in a club that is really making waves in the scene at the moment. The general consensus is that if you didn’t try and navigate the enormity of the event and put your trust in the room that was playing your particular niche of dance music, it was truly one of the best events they’ve ever put on. In this way it was made easy for us, with the layout of rooms all catering to slightly different tastes. This was possibly the most intelligent part of the night, limiting inter-room movement and minimising the inevitable complaints of over-crowding.

At the end of it all, now that hard-earned headaches are subsiding and we all look back at what happened on Saturday night, how can we not all doff our caps to the Just Jack boys for giving us a party to remember. We don’t envy them in trying to top it for number nine.


Credit: Here & Now

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