Terminal V @ Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, 1 Apr
Peggy Gou, Helena Hauff, Bicep and Rødhåd head up an all-action line-up as Nightvision's all-dayer returns to the Royal Highland Centre
One year on from making its Easter Sunday debut, Edinburgh’s Nightvision crew return to the Royal Highland Centre with the kind of muscle-packed line-up that would have house and techno nuts breaking out of a tomb to attend. Across the ten-hour festival are global big guns like Bicep, Rødhåd and Peggy Gou, alongside local forces including Main Ingredient, Rebecca Vasmant and Gareth Sommerville.
Peggy Gou, a creator who’s now on the frontline of the global scene, gets a smacking dosage of Scottish steam with her set kicking off late afternoon in The Terminal zone. She meets us at a favourable hour thanks to the crowd’s climbing energy levels, and hundreds of punters push forward for acid-tinged breakbeats in Patrick Russell’s rework of Jasen Loveland’s Epoxy and vintage house cuts in DJ Deeon’s Freak Like Me. Gou is huge, Gou is massive and Gou-mania is real. Last month she released her Once EP and going on the enormous reaction to the title track, we'd say it's a safe bet on her having gained more members of her attentive Scottish following.
While the depth of sound in The Terminal zone is lacking in certain spots, the imposing Area V space is where it's at. Walking into the belly of that colossal hanger with Hamburg DJ Helena Hauff blasting some of the most savage techno of the whole day feels damn good. Her vinyl set is supercharged with eargasmic moments, especially thanks to an element of being on the receiving end of the unexpected. Searing, speedy techno in the form of Chris McCormack’s remix of Ian Void’s The Rascal lands with a right hook, and Cassegrain’s hectic monster Trappist (The Mover Remix) rearranges the jaw with a series of swift uppercuts. What we have in Hauff is a true electronic music lover and a relentless crate digger, meaning her sets have the ability to send you down a wormhole of discovery.
Belgian bruiser Amelie Lens is another artist who digs what the Scots have to offer, and the feeling’s mutual. After a couple of gigs in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen, she’s familiar with Scottish slang – “taps aff” is surely now a firm part of her vocabulary. Lens blew heads off at DC10 in Ibiza last summer and her studio goods continue to deliver; her fans are therefore prepared for a face-melter. Enter exhibit A: Giacomo Renzi’s violent cut Hysteria. Lens delivers a tight selection of recently released cuts, including her remix of Regal’s Fenix and Rudosa’s acid-influenced banger Evolvement.
Through in The Lab, where working up a sweat comes easy and more of the older crowd are hanging out, we have Chicago house veteran Derrick Carter cruising with us as the sun comes down and disco rules the dancefloor. If the techno input gets too much, this is the place to be – leave expressions of mock disgust with Pan-Pot and get that smile tightly wrapped round your puss for Carter. With the booth raised only a few inches above the dancefloor, it's how it should be; totally inclusive.
Next up, Belfast duo Bicep piece together an eclectic set with Kevin Saunderson’s 1997 remix of Outlander’s house cut The Vamp and FJAAK’s abrasive mix of Missing Channel’s Onslaught, before slamming us right into last summer with a play of their break-driven, ethereal squeeze Glue to close. “Rødhåd’s on til close” is a sentence we could hear over and over again without getting crabbit; a bold claim, but for now, we stick by it. The Berlin label head has just over an hour to deliver the goods, and he pumps out straight-up bangers like Petter B’s Root 3 Pt.2 and Slam’s Pantera. He leaves the crowd below sweating and beaming – a job (very well) done.
In Scotland, generally speaking, we’re regularly rationed just four hours to get tanked on tunes. The advantage of tight-fisted club licensing laws is that Scottish crowds go in with the kind of gusto that has DJs dying to come back; Terminal V's Easter lesson is that if you give the same crowd ten hours to party, they'll attack it all with the same level of enthusiasm.