Halloween is probably the holiday best suited to going clubbing. Easter and Christmas can be immediately ruled out as quaint family affairs not conducive hours of ear pounding bleeps and bloops. New Year’s eve is Halloween’s most obvious competitor, but as Mark Corrigan once said “all rational people agree it’s a truth self-evident that it’s impossible to have a good time on New Year’s Eve. The pressure’s too immense”. So with Peep Show’s infinite wisdom taken into account, it seems impossible to deny that Halloween ought to be the most important holiday in the club going public’s calendar. Really it’s quite a convenient fit. You’re too old to knock on strangers’ doors expecting freebies but too young to accept genuine adulthood and give up on a day of the year that celebrates nothing but spookiness.
This year Halloween fell on a Friday, giving promoters a great opportunity to make the most of it. Gold Teeth capitalized on this convenient convergence by booking Jackmaster to play at Hope Works. This is obviously a sensible move. Halloween is a time when a lot of people will want to go out in big groups, likely to include a range of opinions. Jackmaster is a rare example of a DJ who can successfully appeal to a diverse range of tastes. Whether you’re a “head” who goes through Tamo Sumo mixes to find obscure classics or a more casual clubber, happy to go anywhere with decent music and an efficient bar, you’ll probably enjoy Jackmaster. Unfortunately, Gold Teeth weren’t the only ones to follow this line of logic as down the road in Leeds, Canal Mills had also booked the superstar DJ.
This works out well for Jackmaster, as he gets two pay checks for one night’s work, but not so well for the good people of Sheffield. Jackmaster played at Hope works from 12-2 and he played a good set, as anyone who’s seen him before would probably expect. It wasn’t the best or most interesting set I’ve seen from him, but this wasn’t the problem. His set started half an hour after doors opened, so a lot of people who’d paid for a ticket were still queuing during his set. Regardless of whether or not he was billed as the headliner, he was playing the opening slot. The vast majority of the crowd would still have been waiting to come up and properly get the night underway by the time he’d finished his set and slipped into the back of a car to ferry him off to Leeds.
Jasper James, who is described by Skream as “Jackmaster’s housemate”, took over from his housemate at around 2. He mostly played trendy bassy house music. There wasn’t anything wrong with what he played, but it wasn’t altogether too exciting. Maybe playing to a diverse audience forced Jasper James to play it safe, but I can’t help but feel that another DJ playing in the same circumstances could have catered to their audience with a bit more creativity. At the same time DJ Oducker, part of the Sheffield based Thrillhouse collective, played in room two, starting off with house and disco before developing nicely into well chosen techno. The quality of music in room two remained consistently better than that in room one when Hope Works’ curator Lo Shea took over. I find it frustrating that Lo Shea wasn’t egotistical enough to put himself on in room one, but this was a Gold Teeth rather than a Hope Works night and far be it from me to speculate on the politics between the promoters and venue owner.
I’ve been pretty negative about a few fair aspects of this night, but I had a good time. Hope Works was a great venue to spend Halloween. The screens behind the main room DJs played a loop of horror movie scenes including the Shining, so there was always some cool stuff keeping my vision occupied. Pretty much everyone was dressed up and a lot of people had made a good effort (I dressed up quite lazily as the backwards man from Freddie Got Fingered). It’s a shame that Jackmaster was double booked and that the music wasn’t better, but the music was fine. I danced in celebration of spookiness, and that’s what Halloween is all about.
Written By Sam Jacobs
Just Jack: https://www.facebook.com/justjackhousemusic