Live Review: 10 Years of Just Jack

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Just Jack have now cemented themselves as a vital Bristol institution, one of the few brands to have grown large enough to be able to take huge lineup risks and have them pay off. For their tenth birthday party, they took the ultimate risk – no available lineup, just a list of the DJ’s hometowns and some promo shots distorted beyond recognition. Inevitably it worked, selling out Motion pretty quickly.

All was revealed on arrival. In the cavernous main room were a selection of the few DJs who could take the challenge of playing a peak time set to 800 people without compromise. DJ Qu and October proved themselves b2b with a spontaneous set at Bloc festival last year. We know that October has a broad range, with his releases ranging from smooth house through to his recent EBM-infused techno. These edges defined the outskirts of the set, but the whole thing was anchored by Qu’s instinct for superlative warm-up/comedown house music.

It was then the turn of Acid-Pioneers, Phuture to do what they do, which is basically remind the sound engineer how loud the system actually goes. That, and teach the students what acid techno sounds like through the finest array of flickering bright lights that is the Phuture live set-up. They built an intense warm up for Steffi, who played a worldly set of big Ostgut Ton shot through with rays of light like Rhythm on the Loose – ‘Break of Dawn’.

Over in the Marble Factory, framed by a train carriage, Rush Hour power couple Hunee and Antal flexed the full breadth of their collection during a four hour set. Each time we returned their were dipping into a different sounds, eras and continents, from the classic house of John Rocca to early Metro Area or 90s-era Dreamatic. Meanwhile, Honey Dijon was in the Tunnel playing exactly the sort of dance music that the small space was built for. Scrippy-scrappy house music, with big vocals and sass at about 130bpm, offering a big impact warm-up for Optimo.

The Glaswegian duo have an intriguing set up. Over the course of their slot, they move between Jonnie simply vinyl DJing, and Keith DJing between Ableton and a single deck, using the program to play certain sections of tracks at will. It meant that David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” vocal hook was dropped intermittently throughout, as a constant streaming tribute, and then allowed for a full walkabout as the final song (see above).

For the revelers remaining at 7am, there was a last remaining surprise – two of the biggest DJs in Europe playing three hours back to back. Seth Troxler and Eats Everything banging out rolling big room music – see Paul Johnson ‘Get on My Camel’ for illustration. It was a suitably big name conclusion to close out the first decade of Just Jack, the only promoter who can regularly bring huge house and techno lineups that rival Fabric or Warehouse Project to Bristol. Bring on the big 2-0!

Next up for Just Jack in Bristol is DVS1 and Objekt on 4th March.

Photo credit: Hear & Now. 

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