Pulse Opening – Erick Morillo

By R-Katz  //  Raving Nights  //  No Comments

When I heard that Erick Morillo had only scheduled one night in London for 2011 it wasn’t going to take much more encouragement to get me involved. When I heard it would be to play the opening night of London’s newest super club, I was sold. Boasting a capacity of 4,500, Pulse would officially be London’s biggest club. But size isn’t everything, and we aren’t short of venues here in the capital that are world renowned. With places like Fabric and Ministry consistently finding themselves in the top 20 clubs in the world on respected websites such as Resident Advisor and Mixmag, Pulse had its work cut out if it was going to attempt to match or even top these clubs. It didn’t hurt that John Dalback was added to the line up a few weeks later.

Arriving at 11pm on Friday seemed to be the exact same plan that the other 4,500 people had. It was a sold out event so the queue was all ticket holders and it was long. Really really long. Somewhere like Fabric that holds 1,800 and has people arriving over a range of times from about 10pm all the way until 5am or even later can cope. Fabric also has a queue for members, a separate queue for ticket holders and guest list, and a third queue for everyone else. Pulse did not. I hadn’t seen anything this bad since the DJ Mag Top 100 party at Ministry, but that night had no pre sale tickets so everyone arrived early to ensure they gained entry.

This queue stretched all the way round the corner from the club, a couple of hundred meters up the road and was a good 7 or 8 people wide. In short, it was clear that a venue of this size can’t function on the same one door one line policy as other clubs. It took about an hour and twenty minutes to edge ourselves to the front doors, surrounded by a predominantly ‘chavvy’ clientèle, a significant number of who were having trouble standing up and not falling into people around them. It’s not an ideal way to start a night, and it’s something that the venue will have to look at solving for future events.

However once inside, as the thumping bass started to surround us, we put the memories of the last hour to rest and made our way to the nearest bar. It was a bit of a cock fight to get served, lots of pushing and squeezing, but another fifteen minutes or so later and we were finally ready to get started. The venue was already starting to heat up rapidly, and thankfully the queue for the cloakroom was surprisingly quick.

After not accounting for the initial delay in getting inside, we had missed most of John Dalback which was a shame, but as we made our may into the thick of the dancefloor, he was playing his penultimate tune of Daft Punk’s – Around The World (Sebastien Leger remix). At this point the time had well and truly passed 1am which was when we were told Morillo would be taking the reigns in the main room and the dancefloor was completely packed out. Dalback’s final tune was his own Hustle Up (Albin Myers remix), and as Morillo took to the decks, and of course microphone, for his signature greeting, I was more than willing to give him a chance to redeem the night from it’s bumpy start.

If you haven’t seen Morillo start a set before, it is hard to convey the excitement and energy he immediately injects into the crowd. He has a grin plastered on his face right from the word go, and a way of controlling a crowd that puts him right near the top of my list of DJs you literally have to see play. The impressive sound in the main room and laser/visual combination that was nothing short of awesome, was a great start to the five hour set:

The atmosphere was pretty impressive. There were dancers all over the stage and on podiums around the walls of the main room (nearly completely naked of course, the way Morillo likes them!). But to really get the most from one of his sets, you need to get as close to the man himself as possible. You need to be able to see the way he controls the crowd with his facial expressions and body movements that really is quite unique. Here is a DJ who clearly loves every single moment of what he does. It doesn’t matter where he’s playing or how long he’s been doing it, it’s almost impossible not to smile back at the pure excitement and passion he has for the music he’s playing. I rarely see a DJ who will sing along to every single word, or appreciate each and every drop like Morillo does. It did a massive part in recovering the night.

Having said all that there were still negatives to report. Some associated with it being the premier night, so some miscalculations/hiccups were inevitable. There was an issue of some sort with the plumbing leading to most of the toilets becoming blocked and apparently a riot of some kind breaking out in the girls loos as a result. This story may have been exaggerated through word of mouth of course. The temperature of the main room kept rising to an unacceptable level. I like a sweaty rave as much as the next man, and I don’t even mind too much when the condensation of the sweat on the ceiling means that sweat literally starts raining down on the dancefloor. However it got to a point where I had to keep taking breaks to go outside as I felt like I was dangerously overheating. The smoking area is in an awkward spot at the far side of the main dancefloor which means a difficult squeeze through if you want to get outside. The queues at the bar were pretty bad all night, and it felt like room 2 needed more going on, in order to pull away a small number of the ravers in room 1 so that there was a bit more space.

I don’t want to end on a negative because to be fair I didn’t leave feeling like it’d been a bad night. I actually thought it was a really decent opening event, and Morillo was as ever on excellent form. There are definitely some kinks to iron out with the initial queue etc before I would rush to buy a ticket to another night at Pulse, but I have a sneaky feeling I will almost definitely be back. As to where it rates on the scale of London super clubs, it still has some work to do, but it definitely has the potential to be something special. If it keeps the line ups huge and finds a way to get 4,500 people admitted in a more reasonable time frame, we could be in for a long and exciting journey over the next few years from this new venue. The location near the Southbank is ideal, and getting  cab home was fairly straight forward.

I think the final consensus amongst the group was a confused one. On paper it had the components of an excellent night. In practise, the execution wasn’t quite as good as it needed to be. Luckily for Pulse, they couldn’t have picked a better DJ to headline the night, and I am confident in saying Morillo very much saved the night for everyone.

If you want to check our some pictures, Morillo’s people have uploaded at album you can find here;

See you on the dancefloor.

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