With the UK lockdown closing clubs, partygoers across the country have been left with little choice in finding ways to spend their Friday, Saturday and whatever-day nights. As restrictions somewhat eased in summer, house parties thrived as both an emulation of a club night and a nostalgic return to a pre-clubbing age. Living our nights out as though we were seventeen again served as both the worst and best trip down memory lane that a global pandemic could have taken us on.
The more recent introductions of a six-person limit on social gatherings and a mind-boggling 10pm curfew have further shaped how those in search of a 2019-themed night out spend their evenings. As clubs offer (much) earlier, seated, “distanced” events that end before a night out would usually start, the standard course of action has been flipped on its head – its either pre-drinks at 2pm or treating the club as the pres; and lets not start on the new definition of ‘afters…’
A night that starts at 6pm and sees us done-for at midnight means that university students in search of a sesh are left clueless each morning. Clueless (as expected) at what could have happened the night before, but also clueless at the prospect of having to be in a venue just a few hours after waking up if they want a decent stint in the pub. So what does this all mean for music?
With far fewer attendees at clubs, mainstream music is left without a vital outlet to the ‘stream’ – even deaf ears would be welcomed as a place for the standard pop melodies and catchy basslines to fall on in 2020.
We may never know the Tik Tok mixes that could have been heard throughout clubs in the UK. A mashup of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ with whatever the most popular D’n’B anthem was that month, leading into that one Bassline mix of Stormzy’s ‘Wiley Flow;’ it’s all too easy to imagine.
So, with actual club nights being laughably inferior to their pre-lockdown selves, students are turning to nights in with that one mate with a set of decks and a half-decent speaker. Bypassing the six-person rule to include a couple of mates might be stretching the law to a degree that most students are probably more than comfortable with these days. Those that would usually rely on the clubs for their Friday night anthems are now either being introduced to new genres more popular among those who can call themselves DJs and less popular in mainstream club nights.
Dub, Jungle, UK Garage and Tech House seem to be leading in genre popularity and finding their way into the ears of those who may have thought that hearing the ‘Intoxicated x That’s Not Me’ mix every Saturday was the most exciting thing to happen to their weekend. Perhaps some partygoers who loved the energy of AJ Tracey’s hit tune ‘Ladbroke Grove’ never knew it had a whole genre a couple of decades behind it and might already be Garage-heads thanks to their housemate playing Sunship, DJ Q or a few of The Streets’ deeper cuts. What about your mate who still dropped everything to belt out the chorus of ‘One Dance’ from 2016; what on earth will they do when someone on the decks plays the Crazy Cousinz Remix of Kyla’s ‘Do You Mind,’ the original sample of Drake’s hit?
With any luck, we’ll come out of this pandemic musically wiser and lyrically stronger.