A lot of interesting things happened in Britain in 1968. Gardener’s World made its TV debut, Robert P. McCulloch bought London Bridge and rebuilt it in Arizona, and Ricky Groves — known largely for playing the luckless Gary Hobbs in Eastenders was born. More excitingly than any of that, though, was a concert held at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
One romantic night down on the Southbank, eager music buffs were treated to a selection of compositions by the likes of Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire. It was, says the Southbank Centre’s senior programmer of contemporary music, Bengi Ünsal, “the first London concert of electronic music by British composers.”
Ever since, the venue — and the venues contained within it — has celebrated the interplay between art, architecture, and electronic music. The introduction of Concrete Lates, a series of parties held at the Royal Festival Hall, featuring some seriously good DJs — was an interesting addition to the city’s nightlife scene.
This week, Bengi Ünsal invites one of UK club culture’s most revered figures, Jane Fitz, to get the crowd going for a Concrete Lates x Spiritland special. Jane will be joined in the foyer by US DJ Lovefingers on Thursday 27 September.
Evidently a big fan of the area Jane tells us, “I love the Southbank, everything about it, full stop. When I was a kid I used to come down and watch the skateboarders underneath. I’ve always been fascinated by the boxes inside RFH, and I’m a big fan of its doors, and I adore how music sounds so bright in there. I love how the roof has evolved as a space over the years — at different times I’ve worked nearby, for three separate publishing houses, and it was always somewhere I would escape to at lunchtime! But most of all I love the way the Hayward Gallery looks when it’s lit up at night – like there’s a light on inside it shining out from the walls.”
While events like Tate Lates are becoming increasingly popular, it’s still unusual to find yourself dancing in a museum or a gallery. Bengi says the clubbers who congregate at Concrete Lates “show a certain amount of respect because it’s a clean, nice space,” adding “There’s no sweat dripping from the ceiling. We’ve got marble floors and nice toilets and bars. It’s a pleasant place to be in. But I think as people enter, they are surprised because it is dark and hazy, and loud.”
For Jane — a DJ who joins the dots between clanking techno, deep-space deep house, and brilliantly odd-ball acid workouts — the venue will impact on what she’s stuffing into her record bag before leaving for the Southbank. “Playing in the foyer, a vast and curious space, with unusual acoustics, I will be picking very carefully because I don’t want the records and sounds to get lost or boom too much, I want them to glide around and fill the space in a way that mimics the movement of people through it in its usual life.”
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