On Loop in London

To celebrate her party’s third birthday, Moxie goes back-to-back-to-back with Peach, Saoirse and Shanti Celeste.

On Loop in London

Returning to clubbing in London after a stretch living in Berlin provides a study in contrasts. For all the personal freedoms the German capital affords, the late starts and lack of a defined finish time can be tedious. There’s something to be said for heading out at 11:30 PM knowing it won’t be another seven hours until things get into full swing. A 6 AM curfew can often improve a party by providing a concentrated bout of energy. In this respect, there were few more enticing picks in London last weekend than On Loop’s third birthday, which featured a four-way back-to-back between Shanti Celeste, Moxie, Peach and Saoirse, AKA SASS.

Autumn Street Studios isn’t On Loop’s usual home, but it’s easy to see why Moxie, who runs the roving party series, chose it for the celebration. In an uncertain era of churn and closures, it’s one of London’s most durable clubs. For its size (roughly 600), it’s relatively no-frills: a wide dance floor, ringed by soundsystem stacks, with a crowd-level booth at the back. Discreetness is valued, making it an ideal spot for some of the city’s most cherished queer parties. An anterior space with alcoves, tatty sofas and a bar lets punters recharge and catch up with friends without having to brace gale-force winds in the smoking area. You reach the dance floor via a doorless portal, which, when you’re relaxing, regularly beckons you to the world beyond. Should something catch your ear, you can spring back into action within seconds. On Loop was full of these moments.

The four DJs played two songs each all night, which meant the music was never staid. The flow, though, had a chaotic energy. Quick cuts occasionally threw the crowd. But the camaraderie between the DJs was infectious, as was the fast pace and the range of styles on show. Just past 2 AM, Moonchild’s proggy weapon “VOAT (Variation On A Theme)” and Tailspin’s speed garage bomb “All Massive” sent jolts of electricity up the party’s spine. From thereon in, the gloves were off. At a moment’s notice, rumbling bassweight morphed into scythe-sharp breaks or sashaying vogue anthems. A dose of blistering acid arrived, right on cue, at 3:03 AM. Across the night, the four DJs vigorously hammered out multiple shades of house, garage and techno, playing off one another with abandon, making every minute count.

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