Scotland Clubbing Highlights – December 2013

In this bumper festive edition, we look forward to gifts in the form of Karenn, Floorplan and Daniel Avery. We also offer up some suggestions for Hogmanay in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Perth

Feature by Calum Sutherland & Ronan Martin | 03 Dec 2013

If this month doesn’t have you repeatedly reaching for the holiday request book, nothing will. In Glasgow, December’s festivities kick off with midweek madness on 5 Dec as Rubix hosts Karenn, the explosive pairing of contemporary techno masters Blawan and Pariah. Often cited for their part in resurrecting the kind of full-bodied, gnarling UK techno which was championed by the likes of Surgeon and Regis throughout the 90s, Karenn’s work is a resounding reminder that the evolution of the form did not end with the subdued minimalism which dominated the early part of the last decade. Sculpting their imposing live sets using an armoury of hardware, Blawan and Pariah’s collaboration may well be the most ear-pounding dancefloor experience you’ve ever had on a Thursday night (Sub Club, £8 advance).

Moving on to 6 Dec, the Glasgow leg of the Bigfoot’s Tea Party 5th birthday celebrations takes precedence in the Sub Club. The nomadic collective have brought an avalanche of mind-bending parties to the city since 2008 and this year they’ve secured the unstoppable Roman Flugel to blow out the candles. Having smashed it worldwide this year, Flugel in the Sub Club is an exciting enough prospect, but in the hands of Bigfoot’s, this one is set to blow minds (£8.50 adv, £10 before 12).      

The following night sees Plastic People resident Floating Points make a glorious racket at The Admiral, courtesy of Melting Pot. Creating intricate, genre-defying sets which exude warmth and creativity, Sam Shepherd’s output is one which sets him apart from many other DJs who could claim ‘eclecticism’ as their M.O. As a fiend for all things analogue, his pairing with Melting Pot’s formidable sound system is one guaranteed to make for an evening of excessive audio gratification (7 Dec, £10 adv, £12 door).

A matter of blocks away, All Caps have a mouth-watering five hour back to back session lined up. One of the founders of the celebrated Hessle Audio label, Ben UFO is in town, teaming up with rising Glasgow talent Bake to bring the party to La Cheetah. The former is routinely praised as one of the best DJs around at the moment, while the latter has quickly found admirers beyond Glasgow with his skill behind the turntables and through the excellent All Caps label he co-runs with the night’s other residents. This one promises to be special (£5 before 12, £10 after).

After that, Christmas comes four days early in Glasgow as Âme touches down at Subculture for a night no one is going to forget in a hurry. As one half of the DJ/production behemoth and a founding member of the Innervisions family, Kristian Beyer is at the core of progressive dance music. More often than not to be found playing marathon sets in Panorama Bar, this is a rare chance to see true dancefloor ingenuity at work (21 Dec, £10 adv/£12).

Potentially one of the best nights of the month, the Pressure Xmas Party at The Arches boasts one of the strongest lineups the clubs has had in some time. A particular draw will be the man who practically spearheaded the minimal techno movement when it was still in its vibrant infancy, Robert Hood. On this occasion, Glasgow will be treated to a live set from Hood under his Floorplan guise, which sees him introduce a more soulful, house-tinged side to his dancefloor-driven productions. That man Blawan also pops up again, this time without partner in crime Pariah, but with a reputation for bringing the thunder when it comes to mixing raw, uncompromising techno. Completing a truly impressive roster is British techno veteran, Dave Clarke, Hessle Audio co-founder Pangaea and, of course, trusted residents Slam (27 Dec, £18 adv).  

If you’ve still got room for dessert after all that, Marcel Dettmann is playing on 29 Dec. That’s right, Marcel - king of the Berghain - Dettmann, in the Sub Club, for a four hour set of some of the darkest, most twisted and revelatory techno the city has seen, probably all year. The Animal Farm crew are celebrating their ninth birthday party, so I guess they decided to treat themselves. Cheers guys (£12 early bird, £15 adv).

Heading east, and back in time a little, Daniel Avery takes the stage for Juice at Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s on 19 Dec. 2013 has well and truly been Avery’s, with the release of what is at least a contender for album of the year, Drone Logic, extensive touring and support from everyone from Hawtin to Factory Floor. The title of ‘one to watch’ from Andrew Weatherall is well and truly deserved. “Gimmick-free machine-funk of the highest order.” (£6-8).

Skip forward a week or so, and hopefully all the leftovers in the house are finished by 28 Dec because Surgeon is in the Liquid Room to celebrate Jackhammer’s 12th birthday. There’s not much to say about Anthony Child’s almost twenty-year career that hasn’t already been said, but if rhythmic, chest thumping techno is your thing, Surgeon will surely be on your hitlist this festive period. As if that wasn’t enough, he is joined for Jackhammer by Detroit techno legend, DJ Rolando and Edinburgh-bred producer and spinner, Stephen Brown. Consider this one a late Christmas present to yourself (£10 adv).

On 20 Dec, Glaswegian rabble rousers Pi-Eyed team up with the local promoters behind Audacious for a one-off night at The Banshee Labyrinth on Niddry Street. Bringing together Love Love Records’ The Fez!, multi-faceted beat producer Taz and several other acts including DJ Pi-Eyed, this free event promises to showcase a veritable array of styles without dipping into your depleted festive reserves too much.   

Last but definitely not least, we have Terror at The Bongo Club with a line up to write home about. Egebamyasi (named after the CAN album, and one of the early pioneers of UK acid house), DJ Skull Vomit and Sadistic will be banging out the finest in breakcore, hardcore, techno and something called halfbread, which personally, we are all over. With respective links to the Bangface, Cock Rock Disco and Motormouth imprints, this is a chance to see some of the finest names in the business at work, and in the words of genre lynchpin DJ Shitmat, “there’s no business like propa rungleclotted mashup bizznizz.” (29 Dec, £3-5).

Bringing in the Bells: Hogmanay Club Picks

Animal Hospital lead the charge in the capital this Hogmanay, with local hero Jacksonville bringing it live in the atmospheric surroundings of Studio 24. Having released on 20:20 Vision, Leftroom and his own Doppler imprint, Chris Lyth’s body of work is a formidable one, and his distinctive sound is one that has garnered support from top name acts worldwide. Add to this team Kapital (Barry O’Connell and Brad Charters) in support, and you’re left with a gloriously noisy start to the New Year (£10).

Elsewhere, Cab Vol play host to Gasoline Dance Machine’s third NYE soiree, and this year the team have a Wolf Music spectacular in the bag. Both KLR and Medlar will be banging the drum in an eight-hour spectacular which promises to deliver the same dose of soulful deep house to the proceedings which has become the calling card of the exemplary Brighton-based label (£10-15).

If you’re going to be in Glasgow for the bells this year, Andrew Weatherall will be warping minds in the Sub Club until 4am, alongside Harri and Domenic, and Telford. A surefire hit in anyone’s book, this living legend never sounds better than through the Sub Club’s unstoppable sound system. Tickets are going fast for this one, so if you’re looking to bend your mind, body and soul out of all recognition for the first few hours of 2014 and beyond, get on it now (£22).

If you have a penchant for the more hardcore clubbing experience, and the festive period has taken its toll on your wallet, free party promoters Pi-Eyed come to the rescue with the return of their NYE Meltdown. Serving up techno, rave, breakcore and more, the Pi-Eyed crew have even promised free whisky and invited pipers down to their shindig in Audio. If that’s not an intoxicating blend, we don’t know what is.

La Cheetah has a veritable smorgasbord lined up as they team up with Notsosilent and Offbeat to bring a trio of proven party smashers to the two-floored snuggery. Not only will the residents from each of the nights be holding the fort between guests over the six hour (10-4am) marathon, the stage will also see the guys behind Dixon Avenue Basement Jams going back to back, Tiger & Woods bringing their very impressive live show, and Space Dimension Controller setting fire to the speakers like only he can. Bring all these elements together and you’re in for fireworks (£15-18).

For those of you outwith the central belt, if you’re anywhere near Perth, The Ice Factory is the place to be, with a homeboy spectacular lined up as the three major local party-starting outfits join forces for a six-hour marathon jam, split over two rooms. Twisted Kaleidoscope, Outrage and Groovement have all played a part in changing the musical landscape of the fair city in recent years, and here get at least a slice of the recognition they deserve (£5 adv, £10 door).

Further north still and things are getting spicy at Snafu in Aberdeen, where Slam will be catapulting the granite palace into 2014 with their own distinctive brand of hair raising techno. Team Snafu have had an amazing last twelve months and deserve a lot more adulation for their efforts this year. There’s no-one else bringing progressive electronic music to that neck of the woods these days so if you’re around those parts show some love (£10-15).

That wraps things up for this month and for this year. From everyone at the clubs section, whatever you’re doing this NYE, make sure you have a ball, and keep it foolish.