Spanning four days across 9 different venues, Club to Club offers Italy’s most prestigious line up of DJs and electronic artists. The festival, which is now in its 13th year, has grown organically, largely because of its interesting venues and its ability to deliver a line up which makes people want to travel from afar. This year Shuf got to experience just what made this festival what it is today.
Friday’s night-time proceedings were spread across two venues, which were very different in style, but both offered great acts. The first venue, Cantieri OGR, was a vast empty warehouse/industrial space, which stirred memories of UK styled warehouse raves. The line up included The Haxan Cloak, who brought his haunting and dark music to the relatively empty warehouse, the skilled James Holden, and the incredibly talented Jon Hopkins, who offered his unique set of synth, twinkling melodies and amorphous bass rumbles. Hopkins' live show further proves the enduring impact of his recent full-length, 'Immunity'.
The evening at OGR started very early at 8 and was finished by 1, which considering the artists and the venue left everyone wanting more. James Holden performed his blend of psychedelic exploratory electronic music to an enthralled crowd. By the end of his set, at 11 the crowd had begun to warm to the mood and Jon Hopkins managed to deliver progressive, delicate builds, that would be brought down by a heavy, quickening bass line. By the end of his set everyone was super excited and into it, although there were a splattering of individuals around the edges who thought and looked like they were at an art exhibition rather than a concert in a warehouse. To everyone’s great disappointment however, the music ended at OGR and true to the festivals name everyone moved to the next club.
Upon arrival at Club Hiroshima there was a very different environment and crowd than the one that had been left at OGR. Club Hiroshima played host to some great acts such as Pinch, Objekt, Nina Kraviz and the personal highlight of the evening, Koreless. The Young Turks signee managed to fill the smaller side room with the energy and excitement that had, at times been lacking through the night. His set showed how far he has now come in his music career and included a lot more of an urban feel than much of his recorded material. The night carried on until 6, at which point we took the opportunity to head back and get ready for Saturday’s “Gran Finale”.The Gran Finale was held at the Lingotto Fiere, a vast indoor area that could of housed aeroplanes instead of DJs. The night was opened by Bristol based Fuck Buttons, who tried to engage the crowd with a futuristic fusion of rhythm and melodies. It was Four Tet, however who really kicked off the night. He DJd on a small set up of decks on the vast stage, and brought lots of energy and excitement to the crowd. Four Tet definitely deserved a later, more prominent role. Nonetheless, German techno producers Diamond Version followed, before we headed to the Red room, a large metal drum, which housed the Red Bull Music Academy, where we loved Rustie. Rustie is a DJ who is fortunate that his style of trap productions and heavy bass lines is exactly where electronic music is at the moment. He is also very fortunate as he is amazingly talented. His set included many Hip-Hop samples and when he played Danny Brown's 'Dip', everyone literally lost their shit. The track, which is undoubtedly one which will be played for years to come, seemed so full of energy. He also gave everyone the chance to go a bit mental, which they duly accepted. As his set ended we were left with the tough choice between Julio Bashmore and Machinedrum. We decided to see both, first heading to see Julio, who proved why he is such an influential person in music right now, 'Au Seve' was not as well received as it is usually by British crowds, but nonetheless the crowd knew that it is a track that you can’t stand still for. We finished our evening back in the incredibly hot and intense Red Room, where Machinedrum offered an incredibly skilled live performance. By mixing his vocals with guitar samples he ensured the crowd was in the palm of his hand. As Machinedrum finished we headed out whilst Ben UFO closed the epically large main stage, showing how deep the wealth of talent Club to Club had to offer.
The festival is only going to grow and with such a reputable line-up it is definitely going to catch the attention of a wider audience outside Italy. It was really well put together and there was so much on, even in the daytime that you really were spoilt for choice. In a sentence, Club to Club showcased to Italy and Europe the current status and future of electronic music.
Words: Adam Gardiner