Electric electronic: Wisdom Teeth’s showcase at Bristol’s The Old Police Cells
March 8, 2016
On Saturday 27th Feburary Wisdom Teeth – a label who push exciting and experimental electronic music of varying bpms – took over Bristol’s quirkiest venue, The Old Police Cells at the Island, for a Sinewave party.
I had been looking forward to the night for a while and was really excited to hear the label play in a club environment, as their sound is one of the most exciting on the UK bass scene at the moment, but currently doesn’t get too much club exposure. They definitely couldn’t have picked a more fitting venue to promote their unusual sound; the eccentricity of The Old Police cells is never lost on me, and certainly added to the night’s memorability.
The event attracted a good crowd – tickets had sold out in advance and some of my friends had quite a hard time getting hold of any beforehand – there was definitely a feel that the audience knew the label and were clued up about the music. It was especially cool to see this strong support since a lot of the artists on and associated with the label are Bristol-based, and there was a sense that the audience were there to support local music – something Bristol heads always do well! Despite a lacking sound system and a few mixing errors (and the fact that the police cells were freezing!), the night ran smoothly and was really good fun.
[pullquote]I really enjoyed the night, the music was great and it was cool to hear the unique sounds in a club environment.<align=”left”>[/pullquote]
When we first arrived, Wen was on the decks alongside K-Lone (one of Wisdom Teeth’s co-owners). Before them, Lurka, an experimental artist who produces across a range of bpms and has released on Black Box along with the likes of dubstep heavyweight Commodo, had appeared as the night’s special guest. I was gutted that we’d arrived too late to catch Lurka, but am sure he gave a huge set. Wen is an artist who has been causing a stir with creative grime and 130bpm music, and I was very excited to hear some of this sound.
K-Lone and Wen’s set had an exciting, heavy feel, and people were skanking hard to the dubstep and grime that got dropped. However, I noticed straight away the sound system wasn’t very powerful or well suited to the acoustics of the room, and a lot of the sound on the low-end of the spectrum was lost. It’s always a shame to see bass music on this kind of system, but was especially disappointing since this particular sound doesn’t get much club exposure – it didn’t feel like an accurate reflection of what the music is. Despite this, the crowd reacted really well and gave the DJs a lot of support, which was nice to see, with the buzzing atmosphere helping to somewhat make up for the lacking sound. The set also contained a few unfortunate mixing faux pas, however the genre is a difficult one to mix because of its quirkiness and is fairly new and underground so is particularly hard to build sets with. I think the audience understood this and forgave the DJs for it.
Next up was Hodge back to back with Facta. I’d been most looking forward to seeing headliner Hodge, who produces techno and pushes creative and experimental techno in his monthly Rinse FM slots, of which I am a huge fan. His set with Facta (co-head of the label alongside K-Lone) was exciting and innovative. There were a lot of sounds around 130 bpm, but the set also featured a lot of techno music, which was great to hear. The set had a sinister, brooding feel, which was a really perfect fit for the old police station venue. It seemed that this set was the most anticipated of the night, as the atmosphere was at an all-night high and the crowd response to every tune was great. These two played until close at 3am, with the venue still pretty much full until this time.
I really enjoyed the night, the music was great and it was cool to hear the unique sounds in a club environment. It is always fun to return to The Old Police Cells and the whole night had a gritty, underground feel that suited the sound perfectly. The atmosphere could have been improved if the quality of the sound was better, but I’m sure this is something that will be made more of a priority for the young label as they grow in experience and popularity, and I would definitely encourage fans of the music to attend these events to support the label and encourage this growth.
My experience last Saturday was definitely a lot of fun. You can catch artists associated with the label playing in various venues across Europe over the coming months, but the next Wisdom Teeth takeover is at Wire in Leeds on the 9th of April, so if you’re around that part of the country I’d definitely recommend getting yourself to that.