After Or:la took to the 24 Kitchen Street stage last Thursday for an all-night-long set, our man Aiden Brady put it all down into words…
Even in the short time past our interview with Or:la she has continued to make waves in Liverpool and further afield. Two of her famed Meine Nacht parties have been thrown since Christmas, with DJ Seinfeld and Dekmantel’s Call Super joining them. In addition to the events, Orlagh Dooley and co-founder Jessica Beaumont have begun to release information about their new label Deep Sea Frequency, set to launch later this year.
‘Chopped and screwed multi-dimensional dancefloor and non dancefloor frequencies,’ is the tagline for Deep Sea Frequency. An all-night-long set is the perfect platform for an eclectic DJ such as Or:la to display their record collection and experiment with it. As an extension of this, 24 Kitchen Street is the ideal location for such a set. Intimate with a reputation for engaging audiences; in this environment a DJ showcasing their library can really see what does and doesn’t tickle a crowd.
To kick off with, Or:la kept the energy slow and the vibe upbeat, dropping old school disco grooves. Understandable for this sort of marathon set, Or:la began to ease the crowd in and captivate them as the room filled out. Behind the decks and on the walls at the side of the room projectors were playing visuals. Upon entering the venue there had been a minor but noticeable hiccup with the computer playing the visuals displaying an error message. This was quickly amended and the following visual display throughout the blacked out room was quite entrancing, with the only conceivable comparison being cell division; a single green/white circular shape on a black screen splitting and re-joining endlessly.
Bouts of disco were interjected with some slightly moodier house and tech house tracks such as Bas Ibellini’s ‘That’s Right’, serving as a teaser for things to come later in the night. Keeping the energy levels steady but moving through moods; the set took a turn from its disco beginnings and moved between nu-disco and afrobeat.
The room had nearly filled out around an hour and forty in and Or:la responded accordingly to the vibrant atmosphere, transitioning between afrobeat styles and smatterings of energetic electronic tracks. Plentiful in breaks and 303 acid synths, the crowd perked up nicely to these energy spikes, with whoops and cheers appreciatively heard above the system. Lost Scripts’ track ‘A.F.K.’, which featured on Boiler Room debuts, was dropped, a good example of the tribal and electronic styles being married up.
With the venue packed out nicely by 12.30, the atmosphere was one of the best experienced at Kitchen Street. Overcapacity crowds often cause problems at sold out nights but the crew at Kitchen Street know exactly what their venue’s equipped for. There was plenty of space to boogie and everyone present was giving as good as they got, two essential features of a good night. As the night progressed Or:la took the attendees through their paces, introducing some darker deep house and techno as well as playing out a few tracks recognisable from her past sets such as Syclops’ ‘Where’s Jason’s K’ and Michael E’s ‘Teenage Hammer.’
Or:la proved her ability as a DJ who can build excitement over an extended period with moments of delirium. This darker and more dramatic period began to ease off, shifting into euphoric piano house. The payoff, in this case, was Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy.’ Slipping in this 80’s synth pop classic delighted the audience. While a seamless 5 hours of club focused 4/4 is technically impressive, it’s those sort of curveball selections that keep a crowd on its toes.
Subsequently a return down the rabbit hole was in store. In the last hour or so, Or:la relentlessly blazed through heavyset techno, afrobeats and electro. Approaching 3am the crowd had barely dwindled at all, with the closing hour of a set this length an opportunity for the DJ to end on a high. Once the lights came on Or:la did no less, playing the acapella’s from two house classics and putting her own spin on them. Julie Mc Knight vocal cut from Kings Of Tomorrow’s ‘Finally’ and Loletta Holloway’s acapella from Final Cut’s ‘Take Me Away’ were received well by the reactive crowd.
By this stage many of the patrons had shuffled, or begun to, out the door. Not all were so subdued however, with the appetite of a few dancers yet to be satisfied. In response to the pleas, Or:la closed out to the Specials’ classic ska track ‘Ghost Town.’
If ever there was a time for Or:la to prove herself, it was now. Having seen her several times as the second name on the bill, Or:la has had the opportunity to play many different crowds and moods. It’s refreshing to see an artist with such a broad and diverse collection of music able to showcase that. To boot, there are few better venues than 24 Kitchen Street. Through a great few months of bookings via their Wonder Pot events, as well as Hot Plate and Sonic Youtha, they consistently attract an eager crowd that won’t relent until the music does. With two releases lined up on the Deep Sea Frequency label, one from Or:la herself in May and one from DJ Seinfeld later in 2017, we’re excited to see what the future has in store for Or:la.