The culmination of almost 5 years worth of attempts to bring Danilo Plessow to Brighton, Motor City Drum Ensemble finally made his long-awaited debut performance in the city. Disco Deviant nights have a consistent history of strong bookings: the likes of Psychemagik, Daniel Avery, and Andrew Weatherall recently joining organizer Pablo Contraband at events which have provided Brighton with some welcome vividness in an arguably increasingly stale clubbing landscape. Widely renowned for the musical diversity of his selections, as well as a remarkable ability to blend these disparate genres into a seamless whole, Motor City’s set was eagerly anticipated by a sell-out Concorde 2 crowd.
Having successfully, if painstakingly, navigated a bafflingly inefficient queuing system, our arrival coincided almost exactly with the start of Motor City’s 3-hour set. From the off, Plessow guided an enthusiastic dancefloor on a pulsating, melody-orientated trip through funk, disco, and extremely soulful house. Seven Davis Jr’s One and Peven Everett’s Take Away My Sunshine were fitting encapsulations of the warmth of Plessow’s opening salvo, with the fluency of his mixing managing to conjure the simple feeling of having an almost unimaginably good time. The improved crispness of the Concorde sound-system only added to the fervour, while the Mute and Soul City crews in room 2 proved a welcome, relaxed alternative to the energy of Motor City.
Effortlessly slaloming between genres, Motor City moved from the type of deep house that remains just a subtle cut above the norm, into deeper, darker textures for the latter half of his set, via a healthy dose of Kenny Dixon Jr.’s Emotional Content. A thumping, cowbell-heavy track provided a curious anthemic dancefloor moment, while playful nu-disco numbers were also slung about with reckless abandon. Taiko’s Echo Drop, used to devastating effect, characterized the transition to Plessow’s heavier last hour. Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker provoked a classic reaction, before somehow dovetailing perfectly with Chez Damier’s I Never Knew Love: the combination providing tinges of dancefloor nostalgia. Motor City’s set was steadily building to a climactic end. An expectant hush fell over the venue as he allowed a synth breakdown to play out, a void filled by the unmistakable opening chords of Davina’s Don’t You Want It? A suitable end to a gloriously varied set that ensured every reveler spilled onto the seafront with silly grins plastered all over their faces.
We managed to catch Plessow for a few moments after his set. The gracious humility with which he spoke to us embodied his down to earth demeanour, showing a likability that often can be lacking in international DJs. Motor City Drum Ensemble’s star continues to rise, and, on this showing, doesn’t appear to be slowing.
Words : Harry Reddick