Sven Väth & Cocoon @ Electric Brixton, London, May 2012

You very likely know that I adore Cocoon, and Sven is my ultimate life hero.  Even more than Peter Andre.  Unless of course you have never read my blog before in which case these two ideas must be implanted into your head which I hope I have done.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to work at a venue like Electric Brixton, but I wasn’t going to let any unfair judgements put me off going – this was the first time Sven has been to London in 2012, and the first Cocoon event I had attended in 2012.  Nothing was going to stop me going there, and I took my very good friend, JP, with me.  Nobody else I knew was that interested.  Their loss.
I shall get the negative bit out of the way first, because I don’t enjoy writing negatives, especially in relation to things I love, but if they are not aired then the negative could become the acceptable.  And that ain’t what I want.
I think for those of us that are used to going to Cocoon events, like those previously at Matter, in Ibiza at Amnesia, Cocoon itself in Frankfurt or Cocoon In The Park (and many others) – you come to expect the very best in sound-systems.
It was far from the best.  In fact I would go so far to say that it was crap, at least compared to what I expect from a Cocoon event, and also being a fabric regular.
It was loud (unlike the deafeningly silent sound-systems of SW4 last year) but the quality really was not up to scratch.  All I can say is that I wish more people involved in the dance music industry understood the importance of good quality sound for a night out.  There is a very excellent article recently published on Resident Advisor which is very worth 10 minutes of your life to read it.  I highly recommend it.
It is so much more enjoyable when you feel at one with the sound coming from the speakers, when it envelops your whole body and encourages movements you were not expecting – as opposed to feeling that you are being attacked by it.
The venue itself pleasantly surprised me.  Quite a thorough search on the way in (quite right too given the exciting but edgy area the club is located in), but all of the staff were open, helpful, communicative, they let you get on with your night and gave it the relaxed atmosphere that it deserved.  Top marks to all those working there.
It is a good space too, very theatrical, so much potential if you have the imagination.  Perhaps a bit basic in parts but I want functionality in a nightclub and it definitely had that.
The lighting was absolutely spot on – everything you would expect from a Cocoon event and a top-notch nightclub, definitely added to the experience.
The crowd were absolutely spot on too.  The usual mix that you would expect at a Cocoon event of people that were adventurous, individual, music-centred, sometimes glamorous, always beautiful, along with respectful and a good level of friendliness.  
And of course the music.  Well, what can I say.
I saw Sascha Dive at 93 Feet East earlier this year and he very much impressed me, and again today he played an excellent warm-up set. Really got the crowd in the groove pretty much from the start, slowly building it up and letting rip just when enough people were ready to have their first dance but calming down a touch again before the monster to come.  Sascha Dive has thoroughly impressed me both times I have seen him this year and I think he is most definitely a DJ (and producer) to watch in the coming years.
However, around 1am, when Sven was supposed to start, I was up in the heavens (you can get a really good view of proceedings in certain areas), I saw someone tap Sascha Dive on the shoulder, say something to him, Sascha seemed to slam his headphones down and walked off.  Disappeared.
Part of the act?  I didn’t know.
And then after a 5 or so minutes he came back, seeming not so happy.  And continued to play.
Where was Sven?
All kinds of thoughts entered my head.  Where were the dancers?  Why was the VIP area empty?  Why was the sound-system so bad?  Was Sven refusing to play because of it?
A while later, and Sven appeared, immediately rearranged the monitor speakers, the sound quality improved (though only to an acceptable level, not a Cocoon standard) and the party really begun.
Sven was absolutely devastating.  It was all about the techno.  Very powerful, very masterful, lots of energy, determination and drive.  There were more disco moments, a touch of melody, a sprinkling of trance and some downtime but more relentless excellent techno.
I will give the night a rating 7 of 10.  It was a really good night, it had most of the elements of an exceptional night out but was just really lacking when it comes to sound quality, I cannot emphasise that enough.
Would I go again?  Not sure.  Not without a much improved sound-system.
Instead I think I am just going to have to book a flight to Cocoon in Frankfurt.  To remind myself of how the Germans do it.  Because they really do know how to do it.
Oh and I cannot bloody wait for Cocoon In The Park.  If you haven’t been, then do it.  Book your ticket now.  Best day of my year both in 2010 and 2011 – even topping Ibiza.
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