There’s always an air of nostalgia that creeps into my mental atmosphere every time I know that an appearance at TRUTH is on my agenda for a Saturday evening. That house has established itself as such an iconic institution. It’s so important for the dance music scene in South Africa! Never mind just in Johannesburg. Just think about it! All the amazing international DJ’s and producers that have displayed their talents on those dancefloors. All the, what must be hundreds of thousands, eager rave bunnies that have walked through those doors. It’s a special place Truth. At least it’s a special place to this single rave bunny.
Tonight though, is even more special for me. Tonight I’m filled with a little more excitement. Tonight the swarm of anticipation butterflies that I inevitably get in my stomach leading up to something exciting, like sharing a dancefloor with good people to underground music, are a lot more active. Here’s why. Because tonight one of the most progressive underground promoters in the South African scene currently, and whom I’m an avid fan of, False Start, is taking over the infamous upstairs floor at this institution we call TRUTH.
I arrive in the parking lot on my own, knowing that there is a family of False Start fans waiting upstairs to welcome me. Following my traditions, I throw on the spare set of clothes that I have waiting for me in the boot of my car, trying to remain out of sight of any wondering eyes belonging to the numerous drifting ravers and car attendants in the parking lot. The air in Johannesburg is cozier than usual tonight. Probably because of the blanket of cloud that’s come to visit us for the last few days. Its gives the atmosphere an almost mystical vibe. I approach the lady at the entrance, mention to her that my name should be on the guest list (something that always conjures up an internal smile), get my stamp, proceed to the bouncer for my obligatory tap down and push through the factory style roller gates that Truth is known for. Looking through at The Terrace (the outside dancefloor) I notice that it seems to be a little emptier than I expected. Such is. Wasting no time I shuffle on upstairs, still bursting with anticipation. Rounding the last corner as I ascend upstairs I start to see the familiar friendly faces of the False Start family. There’s nothing like partying with people you respect, admire and whose company you just simply enjoy, right? Tonight’s going to be a good night!
DJ Set Track Highlights – ADAT: Azimut – The Secret (Cristi Cons Remix)
Warm smiles and open embraces seem to be the norm around these parts. But what’s more noticeable is the soundtrack streaming out of the speakers, which is being seamlessly delivered by the maestro that is Cid Surco. People refer to him as the DJ’s DJ. A digital ambassador if you will. Cid Surco is one of the founding members of the False Start movement. He is one of the most technically gifted DJ’s I’ve listened to and overall, a great human being as well. There’s a certain comfortability that Surco brings to the booth. This comfortability somehow overflows on to the dancefloor. The mood in the room is relaxed and almost homely with Surco’s relentless groove infiltrating the dancers on a cellular level. I tracked down my nightly supply of raving essentials and settled myself into the dynamics. The flow of the evening gathers momentum as the dancefloor begins a transition from Cid Surco to Black Pulse. Doing what he does best, it’s worthy to mention that Black Pulse is wearing a very interesting red head piece. I’ve noticed in the past that every now and then he’ll wear an interesting item of clothing, like a traditional African print shirt or something similar. I think he does this when he gets really excited for a set. A sort of statement piece if you will. So noticing this kind of ‘raspberry barret’ type head piece, I am very eager for the next two hours. I had the privilege of catching a headlining set by Black Pulse at Toy Toy a few weeks back. I was blown away by that sound journey. Although the musical direction of tonight is very different, I know Black Pulse has a deep repertoire at his disposal and my intrigue around how he is going to tailor his sound is what’s captivated my concentration for this set. I admire the man and his craft. I admire his ability to dominate a space, whether he is physically in it or it’s his music that’s consuming this atmosphere. It’s a testament to him and this False Start crew and the motions they are making in the South African underground electronic scene.
I find myself engulfed on the dancefloor by the False family as all of us shuffle to and fro amongst each other as we pop in and out of the space to get the odd tequila from the bar. I think all the narcotics are starting to bring the magic because the frequency of the floor seems to be rising at this point. You know that time of the night when the music and the drugs seem to be involved some kind of cosmically synchronized choreography? Yeah, that’s the vibe on the upstairs floor right now.
DJ Set Track Highlight: Cid Surco: David Durango – Greenpass (Dana Ruh Remix)
About half an hour later I sense a plateau. I get why this is happening. It’s part of the musical journey. Black Pulse is lining things up for the next DJ. Next on the bill is a young kid called Shelo. He’s relatively new to the False Start team. They classify him as a ‘sub-resident’ if I’m not mistaken. Apparently this boy brings the heat. It’s about 3:30 in the morning now. I decide to go and socialize outside on the balcony a little. Earlier, on the dancefloor, my eyes connected with another pair of eyes that belonged to a captivating member of the farer sex that I had never seen before, during Black Pulse’s set. My primal instincts are starting to take over now and I proceed to attempt to go and find out more about her. This slight distraction off the dancefloor ends up with me venturing around the other parts of this electric jungle that it TRUTH for about an hour and a half. By this time one of my O.G brothers from back in the day has joined forces with me to see out the rest of the night. I get back upstairs, waltz over to the bar, order two tequila’s, turn around to face the dancefloor and realize that ADAT is in the booth readying himself to take over. This is the final set of the night. The hues of sunlight are creeping up in the distance as twilight begins to descend on us slowly. It’s now just gone 5am. I pause for a moment to take some stock of my atmosphere. All I can see around are large eyes and exaggerated smiles. That’s a sight that always fills me a little joy. Dozens upon dozens of happy and satisfied electric lovers. Things are starting to feel a little hazy now and I am starting to be overcome by my famous ‘disco wobble. But I simply just cannot stop moving to these broken down minimalist sounds flowing out of ADAT. This man has a quiet confidence about what he does in the booth (what is it about this False Start crew and their ‘swagger’). It seems like everyone else feels the same. I can tell this because every minute there’s an almost predictable “ooh” or “woh-hoo” that comes from one of the jollers on the dancefloor during the build-up’s or the drops. For the international readers out there that don’t know what a joller is, this is a South African slang word for someone that parties. It’s a very ubiquitous word around the electronic community.
DJ Set Track Highlights – Black Pulse: DOp – Your Sex (Original Remix) (Richie Hawtin PlusMinus)
The sunrise has now officially joined our company as the False Start upstairs take over reaches its tail-end. This has been a sublime demonstration of False Start’s broken down house sound through-out the night. In a metaphorical gesture I take my hat off in confidence to the False Start team for tonight’s entertainment. Another masterful showcase of underground electronic music.
It’s off to the after party for all of us…
For future events, check out: https://www.facebook.com/falsestartJHB/
Ciao for now.