In 2012 it seems that Fabric’s biggest competitor has been the new phenomenon of ‘TBA’. From overground electro to underground techno parties, promoters in the capital have been looking to keep their parties fresh by exploring as many unused venues as possible and simply listing them as To Be Announced right up until the last minute.
Whilst it might be an exciting trend on the surface, the truth is that many of these ‘secret’ venues (read: some derelict old warehouse in East London) turn out to be a lot less gratifying in practice.
The sound is rubbish, the bars aren’t stocked, toilets are grotty and more often than not punters end up feeling as if they have been short-changed.
Not so at Fabric, which has continued to quietly do its do for a 13th year. It might now be one of the oldest and most familiar clubs in London, but it’s still the one every punter wants to be at; the one every promoter wants to beat.
The infamous former abattoir hasn’t done anything drastically different in the last 12 months, they have simply continued to offer up their knowing blend of breakthrough artists and pioneers from the vanguard.
The main nights are still split across Friday and Saturday, with midweek live shows from the likes of Monolake and Matthew Dear (plus full live band) and famed Sunday session WetYourself plugging more rave gaps in a week than most clubs do in a whole month.
The club also screened a film this year, Shut Up And Play The Hits. It chronicled LCD Soundsystem’s final live gig at New York’s Madison Square Gardens and clocked in at nearly four hours: Fabric were the only people to show it in its entirety.
Of course, the label arm of the club continued apace too, proving that, despite the prevailing sense, the mix CD is still a long way from dying out. Heavyweights like Zip, DJ Sneak, Ben Klock and Daniel Avery all contributed this year, and they clearly sold well, for news of a new imprint has been bubbling under since July.
Although no firm plans are in place yet, there are ongoing talks with cult internet radio show Electronic Explorations’ Rob Booth apparently involved in some capacity.
This was also the year in which Fabric celebrated a decade-long relationship with one of electronic music’s most enigmatic DJs and producers. It would be hard to think of Fabric without Ricardo Villalobos, or Villalobos without Fabric. The Chilean minimalist has long been associated with hugely extended and meandering DJ sets at the club, with many of them cited in folklore as the best ever nights at Fabric and the best ever performances from the man himself.
What’s more, it is said that Villalobos’ association with the club is more like “an on-going collaboration between our in-house sound engineers and the Martin Audio soundsystem that works so well as a vessel for the oft-mooted details in Villalobos’ production.”
To mark the moment, November saw the first of four special events curated together by Ricardo and Fabric. It featured the likes of Playhouse founder Heiko and Perlon regular Margaret Dygas, and three more such parties will play out over the next year. Of course, another showcase weekend in the clubbing calendar is the birthday, which this year lasted an incredible 30 hours from Friday night to Monday morning with the likes of a rare live set from Omar S, appearances from regulars Visionquest, newbies like Kim Ann Foxman and a veritable feast of other talent that totalled more than two dozen acts in all.
No matter what the state of the music scene nor fiscal world around them is, Fabric and its dedicated team is proof that if you stick true to your morals, the parties will play on unhindered.
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