Edinburgh’s famous Castle and indeed the rest of the city was under a dark grey cloud on October the 1st, while most of the UK was enjoying an unexpected autumnal heat wave. Coincidentally, this was also the night that the Annie Mac Presents tour was hitting Edinburgh for a night put on in conjunction with clothing/raving company We Own and club-night specialists Bedbug. Annie was bringing her tour north of the border for a sold-out show which also featured Edinburgh-based DJ Jigsaw and electro-master Fake Blood and the weather wasn’t going to stop anyone.
We Own is a clothing company started by students, who decided to use club nights as an avenue for making money to fund the clothing, and is now supported by acts such as Ed Sheeran, Kobi Onyame, Laidback Luke and Benga. The collaboration with Bedbug came about through friendship and before long, you have a team of trendy mates doing what they love and doing it pretty well with an ethos of fun – they have it and they want the punters to have it.
The setting was the city’s Liquid Room, a venue which burned down in 2008. When it reopened last year it was to great acclaim – Edinburgh’s gig and club night regulars had been missing the venue on their musical landscape. When you enter it feels smaller that it is – and arriving at 10pm on Saturday night it looked and felt a whole lot different to a couple of hours later at full capacity. As soon as doors opened at 10.30pm, clubbers started to stream in – the event had sold out but it was heavily publicised that there would be 150 tickets on the door, and the queue for these tickets was massive. 10 minutes after doors opened the club was busy and people were straight on the dancefloor – a sign of times to come.
Dj Jigsaw was warming up the crowd – a gig that can sometimes be a challenge, but not so tonight, there is an instant party vibe. He’s clearly passionate and when we caught up with him before the show, explained that he’s self taught and his first gig was only a couple of years ago. His selection is varied, his mixing tight, smooth and professional and above all else you can just see he loves being up there playing tunes; a fitting warm up. Half an hour before Annie is due to take the stage, he drops Bob Marley Is This Love?, then goes in hard for his last half hour before handing over to Annie. Strobes marked Annie’s entrance, with her trademark mane lighting up each time a strobe hit it and – glass of champagne in hand – she commenced setting up; it was endearing to see how much she concentrated on this, making sure everything was exactly how she wanted before beginning her set – technical and precise.
Her first tune was Bear Hug; a firm favourite championed by the woman herself and soundtracked by 1000+ Scottish ravers chanting ‘Annie, Annie, Annie’ at the top of their lungs. By this point, the crowd are elated and raucous, randomly grabbing one another and hugging, kissing, moshing, jumping and generally having the time of their lives, whilst vying for attention from the photographers – this continued throughout the whole night. “She’s the best DJ ever – I love Annie Mac” declared one lad and it seemed he was not the only one of that opinion. They waited on Annie’s every move, every time she lifted her hand the crowd reacted, never faltering, and when she took to the mic in her recognisable Irish tone and exclaimed “You are a real rowdy crowd!” the young, trendy crowd lost it even more. There was a definite UK feel to Annie’s set – garage, house, dubstep, disco, just like her radio show, and she played a lot of tunes with female vocals all over them.
Fake Blood was closing the night and his entrance to stage was somewhat dramatic – the crowd were in darkness and the only light was a blue one on stage above him. Just like Annie, he spent time getting set up and when ready, dropped his first tune to which the lights come on and the crowd, once again, go mental. His set, the last of the night, was deeper than those before staying on the house and electro side of dance, and featured a lovely tribute to DJ Mehdi.
By the end of the night you could see from the crowd that the Annie Mac Presents tour had left its mark on each individual there, and what was more, every single one of them loved it.