Live Review: Alfresco Disco NYE

Somewhat of a Bristol institution now, the guys behind Alfresco Disco have been getting it right for quite some time. For proof, look no further than the record time it took to sell out this event, with people already desperate a mere half hour after they went on sale.

Having been to their NYE bash last year, we were expecting so much, not least in their venue selection. Always in search of the unusual, this year was no different, with the festivities taking place at The Welsh Back on Bristol’s floating harbour, in a series of squash courts and weights rooms.

Heading straight to ‘The Movement Theory’ room for midnight, we caught the Pardon My French boys in full swing and in high spirits. Although inevitably we were all squashed like sardines as twelve o’clock struck, people quickly dispersed and space to dance was re-found. An exploration of the venue left us confused and slightly lost but, with fun around every corner, it mattered not.

The beauty of Alfresco Disco is that little is made of the line-up, with absolutely no announcements before the event. Like their choice of venues though, Afresco have developed a trusted reputation for high quality programming. Some highlights included live sets from Typesun and Romare, the latter of which came on just after midnight, while weird and wonderful visuals swirled high above in the adjacent rooms. Table tennis and interactive bike pong were some welcome additions to the décor and made for some comic relief throughout the evening. Professional squash players also showed the crowd how it’s done, much more refreshing than conventional dancers on stage.

Towards the beginning, our one gripe was the lack of a solid ‘main room’, but as the night progressed this became more of a blessing as we were left to stumble upon unexpected pleasures and find what suited us best. Catering to the techno lovers, the downstairs weights room, aptly called ‘Pumping Iron’ and complete with real free weights, featured Jay L, Remove Me and Mr. Sunshine. The jewel in the crown here though was  DJ October’s selection, weaving through darker and deeper tracks, featuring Delta Funktionen’s ‘Sun Storm’, a track laced with reverb and analogue bass claps galore, resulting in a heady start to 4am.

Felix Dickinson deserves a special mention for the 4 hour disco set he played, his trademark glasses bouncing as he selected from the finest disco tracks old and newer. Even the smoking area had a great playlist, with MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel’ hitting our eardrums at some point; a welcome contrast to what was going on inside and.

It was not until the last couple of hours that people seemed to properly converge solely on one room, namely ‘The Workout’ room. Here Christophe and Lukas were delivering a mix of disco and heavier tech-tinged numbers. Tom Hodgson joined Lukas for the final hour or so, taking us musically further again, with tracks like Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill and 90s classic Flawless by The Ones both firm favourites. A couple of special mentions musically are Genius Of Time’s edit of ‘Love Thang’ by First Choice, evoking a brilliant reaction and of course the last track of the night with Sylvester’s vocals on ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ soaring high above us all and ending the night on a great note. The partnership of Lukas and Hodgson worked especially well for this final set, and that was evident with just how full the room was even come 6am.

While London is awash with promoters vying for top shot at NYE, there only seems to be one real contender in Bristol. Year on year it makes our choice an easy one, but God help anyone else who tries to put on a NYE party in the city.

For more Alfresco Disco, check out our Label Spotlight on them and keep an eye out for more releases this year. 

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