It’s not often that the fundamental ideology of a record label stays constant for 25 years. Musical trends and fads tend to influence the direction of a label’s marketing and artist signings to appeal to the ever-changing listening habits of the masses. However, electronic record label Ninja Tune set up its very own 25 year anniversary celebration in the very same manner that would have been appropriate when it first launched 25 years ago: on the down low.
Ninja Tune has always been about releasing music of an underground nature by underground means. In keeping up with its own philosophy, the very location of the event was only revealed to ticket buyers one week before in order to keep things hush-hush. The location turned out to be the 102-year old Globe Theatre in Downtown LA, which had just enough space to house the hundreds in attendance. The Globe has gone through renovations that have left it looking elegant and high class, and on a night like this, it would become the perfect venue to maintain the thumping bass, kicking beats and swirling synthesizers that blasted through several hours of electro-haze.
After the opening by Sage Caswell, who filled in last minute for previously announced Eamon Harkin of Mr. Saturday Night, garage-dance duo Sepalcure took to the turntable-helm. Their music persuaded people to move to the beat and everyone engaged with the music in their own way, from people throwing their hands in the air, to others forming circles among themselves and letting loose, to others standing still and facing the stage, letting their nodding head do the talking. Throughout the night, Strangeloop provided visuals shown behind the performers that blended seamlessly with the audio-explosion coming out of the speakers. Those dancing on the second floor balcony appeared as silhouettes against the velvet curtains of The Globe, providing complementary visuals for the night.
It was about the time that deep house artist Leon Vynehall appeared on stage that things started to get really packed. At this point, the place was kicking on all cylinders. With flashing strobe lights and pulsating rhythms, this was the electronic kingdom of the year. It didn’t matter what song was playing or what tempo the kick was popping, people were enjoying themselves and celebrating the fact that the label has been putting out music like ever since its inception. Every time the beat stopped and the music was left with melodic-synth melodies, everyone applauded and showed their appreciation.
Then English electronica musician Jon Hopkins took the stage. It was clear that Hopkins had tracks that the concert-goers recognized, as they cheered during the beginning of each song. The standing-only venue was getting tight, and it was during this set that you have to take a step back if you want to see everything that’s going on. And there was a lot going on, from girls twirling around glow in the dark hula hoops to the massive pileup of people forming by the two bars located on each side of the venue.
The party didn’t let up when the night’s final performer, Ninja Tune veteran Bonobo, took stage. He took what the other artists started and kicked it into overdrive as people starting going into a frenzy. Good thing there was after party, because all in attendance would have been at the Globe all night if the music kept pumping. All in all, this was the place to be at for anyone even remotely interested in dance music. It was a night full of fun, dance, and an electro-dream come true for those in attendance. We are all eagerly waiting for what Ninja Tune has in store for us for its 30th year celebration!