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Where The Tunnel, Fort Horsted,
When Every few months
Music House and techno
The taxi driver leaves us on a long, unlit road. ‘You’ll have to walk the rest of the way,’ he says, ‘and there’s an old folks home over there so don’t make too much noise’. It’s an odd start to the night, more reminiscent of an illegal rave than the biggest event in the Kent clubbing calendar. But given its location, a Napoleonic fortress in the former military town of Chatham, the strict protocol hardly seems out of place.
Tonight is the third birthday of Tim Green’s Bedlam. To date it’s played host to some of the scene’s biggest names, including M.A.N.D.Y, Claude Von Stroke and Steve Lawler. And much like Green’s career, Bedlam is growing rapidly, recently expanding beyond Kent and into Londoners’ ears.
But tonight it’s all about the locals, all clued-up house heads, many of whom have travelled from neighbouring counties looking for more than just a good beat. Plus, with a (presumably deactivated) bomb lying opposite the bar, the atmosphere suggests we’re in for an explosive night.
Come midnight Green exploits the two-hour set policy to great effect, weaving together a set that is deep, moody and party-friendly. The trendy but friendly crowd jostle for position within the club’s cavernous brick walls. Whistles and whoops punctuate the rattling bass as girls are held aloft on their boyfriends’ shoulders, each couple a smiling totem pole of house-loving hedonism.
Circoloco resident Dyed Soundorom takes things in a more techy direction with Nicky Romero’s remix of Green Velvet’s ‘Flash’. Like the sunglasses-clad faces scattered amid the throbbing crowd, his Ibizan connection seems to transport us all to a sunnier place. Punters clamber towards the front like techno-starved animals, with one party-goer pulling back and forth from the stage as if taking bites out of the mixer. It’s bedlam by nature, not just by name.
In the middle of the madness, a girl at the bar prods at Mixmag’s arm to draw attention to the symbols tattooed on her waist. ‘I heart house music’, it says – a sentiment that tonight’s party is all about.