Live review: 15 Years of Pressure at The Arches, 29/11/13

PRESSURE 33So unless you’ve been living in a hole buried deep beneath the Clyde and Glasgow’s techno-fixated music scene – then you probably were fully aware what 15 years of Pressure meant.

Something special at the very least and in the lead up to Christmas and the end of 2013 something that needed to set people’s electronic hearts on fire.

With the city busier than ever, and hoards of inviting options, Pressure still sold out one of the biggest (and most famous) venues Glasgow has to offer.

No mean feat then.

The excitement could be sensed, smelt, felt the lot as soon as you enter the Arches’ general vicinity.

Around 11pm as people exited the nearby pubs and bars and swarmed down the entrance tunnel you could tell the night would feature all the right elements of mayhem.

If anyone can remember as far back as 1998 on the same humble turf then tonight is likely to represent a bit more than just another number or another night out clubbing.

15 years on and it all fits into place and it all accumulates quite inarguably on what happens beneath the West Coast Main Line on this Black Friday.

So, once you’ve suffered minor frostbite, been felt up by the bouncers and directed to that massive cloakroom queue – you’re more than 100% ready and raring and daring to go.

It’s hard to miss the crowd that Pressure religiously produces – diverse, down to earth and just so categorically ‘Glasgow’ – from the super intense group of lads all fired up with the music to the hyperactive neon lady who doesn’t know which way’s up.

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Most integrally though, everyone’s here for the party and here for the night they’ve been coming back to for years.

It’s all solid techno bouncing off the walls, fast-paced and furious and the sort of stuff that won’t let you sit down or take a time out – even though there’s five hours to go.

In case you were worried about not making it, Loco Dice makes a stunning contribution and supplies you with ten new leases of life.

Something this carefully constructed can begin with a flight of fancy, or a roll of a (very addictive) dice.

Despite the incredible effort to worm your way to the front, once you’re there and you’re bouncing you don’t give a damn about being quietly crushed.

Everything else is mind numbingly loud but introduces a genre of Ibiza acid house from the German legend that is, as ever, incredibly hard to match.

His set is full of solid, physical grooves and from the looks on everyone’s faces is what the crowd wants to hear (and dance to).

There are also slices of raw tribal tech, and the construction of a heavy, heady atmosphere that makes him undoubtedly the star and the spirit of the night.

Dice makes the first hours of morning firmly his own and comes with the conviction that he demands and deserves.

Injecting the historical significance back into the birthday bash comes Slam who needs no acclaim or sweeping introduction.

Stirring from the Black Market and Tin Pan Alley days, and in recent times Dave Clarke’s Soma Quality Recordings, Slam were just never going to be subject to critique or disappointment.

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If you’re not a gigantic fan of Stuart and Orde then you shouldn’t have been stamping your two feet off the stone floor tonight anyway.

On the last Friday of November 2013 Slam turn the heat up (if that was possible) and launch into perhaps the most frank set of the night.

In part predictable but that’s the whole point – why change something that’s a blinding success – why develop a sound that’s been developed to its optimum status and received by the crowd with warmth and electricity.

There’s no effort spared on graphics and production and if the music hasn’t got you then the streams of cold electric light will certainly have kept you dizzy and drunk.

When they flash you move; vision obscured, legs tired, eyes wide.

One minute drenched in darkness, the next revealed in white night – a little more conscious about your incessant fist pumping.

Maya Jane Coles returns again to The Arches and Pressure – the Scots favourite female DJ whose ascent to fame was described by RA advisor as “nothing short of incredible”.

The thing about her Pressure performances is that they are never quite what you expect and never just rest easy on her big name tracks.

Tonight is no different and sees the crowd exploring her most recent but less heard records from massively acclaimed new album, Comfort.

Despite the sheer size of the main arch, Coles manages to project the intimacy of a set that would’ve been just as at home in your living room.

Engaging with the crowd in a hypnotic, low-slung set that doesn’t shout at you but rather suggests – Coles gives the night something a little less in your face to cling on to.

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Its tech meets deep house and, as always, goes down a storm in the final hours of showtime.

Only by 7 o’clock in the morning could Jamaica Street be considered quiet; seamlessly, Pressure has blown out its 15th candle and stumbled off bleary to bed.

Words: Martha Shardalow
Photos: Zoe Henretty

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