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Gig review

Justin Martin, Tokyo Basement (23/11/12)

Promotional flyer for the event

Image courtesy of MODA

The picturesque cathedral city of Lincoln seems an unlikely place to showcase one of the best artists in underground house music. However, Moda have again delivered, as Dirtybird records legend Justin Martin graced decks at the disused cellars.

Started In Lincoln by Jaymo and Andy George, events group and record company Moda have gone from a small 200 capacity venue, to filling out legendary venues across the country, in London and Ibiza in just a few short years.

Yet the crew still keep their roots in mind, bringing some of the best quality house artists in the business back to the city, into the intimate setting of a refurbished club basement.

“Iv heard a lot about the venue from Eats Everything and Shadow Child” said Justin, “Its almost like a dungeon, but such a great place.”

The pre party was hosted by local DJ collective “Sunday Club”, a group of local DJs who regularly around Lincoln. I walked in to one of my tech-house favourites, Daniele Papini’s Church of Nonsense. The warping bassline took me back to a rave deep in the forest where I first heard it. I knew this was going to be a banging night.

After the Sunday Club boys smashed the pre party session, the crowd made their way over to the disused cellar venue a few streets across. Moda lads Jaymo and Andy George were up first, and wasted no time getting the party started.

Image shows Justin against a background of flowers

Photo: Justin Martin

You are always in for a treat when the boys get on the CDJs, on this occasion they selected an eclectic mix of house, with a few cheeky classics thrown in. My favourite from the set was probably Douglas Greed’s When a Man-such an infectious groove and vocal.

After the set the crowd were ready for Justin, he seemed to give off a great positive vibe from behind the decks, beaming from ear to ear the whole way through. It was truly refreshing to see a world class artist enjoying it to such an extent.

The last time I saw Justin, he was joined by Eats Everything and Claude Von Stroke at the Bollywood Tent at Bestival. The settings could not be more contrasting, a massive Indian decorated tent, and a dark nightclub cellar in the North, but both were a great spectacle.

Some of the highlights for me were him dropping some of his newer productions from the Ghettos and Gardens EP, released earlier this year, which have become a staple for many DJ sets.  When he mixed in Dusky’s remix of “Don’t go” the room went off. The bass heavy rework through the function one sound system was like nectar for the ravers, and they went mad for it.

shows Justin Martin mixing live at the gig against the backdrop of a packed club

Photo courtesy of MODA

Halfway through the crowd were thrown a curve ball, “I hope you guys don’t mind drum and bass” Justin Shouted ecstatically from behind the decks, as he dropped what I believe to be Shadow Child’s old school remix of  “Riding spaceships”.

The unexpected change of pace injected the crowd with a burst of 170 bpm energy, before chilling the pace for a phenomenal rework of  “Ruff Stuff”. I remember reading about Justin and the  Dirtybird crew being heavily into their classic UK drum and bass, even asking Goldie himself to remix one of his old tracks for Ghettos and Gardens (Kemistry). This selection felt like a big shout out to the UK scene from the San Francisco native.

After an hour and a half of Justin’s trademark melodic and gritty style of house, Rinse FM maverick Doorly took over, with more great house selections.

Overall I’d say this was hands down one of the best nights I’ve had in the city. The atmosphere was amazing, everyone seemed to drop their pretensions as soon as they walked through the door, and just enjoy the music.

This night was truly a great night for the underground house and dance music scene in  Lincoln. With heavyweights such as Waifs and Strays, Eats Everything and Shadow Child all playing here in the last year, I’d say that’s pretty decent for a place that isn’t necessarily on the UK touring map for big DJs.

I hope there are many more nights like this to come, with seamless mixing and great tunes. The underground scene seems to have really picked up over the last few months, with more independent events supporting  decent high quality dance music. If you’re in Lincoln there is really no excuse  not to check out the next night.

Find out more about MODA events at:

Check out Justin Martin’s Music at:


About jameseuinton

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