Klubnacht’s 1st Birthday

CHARLIE LAWRIE attends a birthday party that’s low on jelly and ice-cream, but high on bouncy disco beats.

6th Borough Project alternative anniversary birthday cambridge city council Clubbing Craig Smith Disco DJ Fez Hilla Abramov klubnacht

Now that fears about its closure have largely been set aside, Thursday night proved that the council’s decision to keep Fez open was an excellent one. Once again, the club was hosting Klubnacht, but this time for a special first birthday party that really exceeded expectations. Over the last year, the student-run night has gone from strength to strength, and Thursday was, in part, a celebration of their staying-power and perseverance.

Inevitably, my highlight of the evening was headline DJ Craig Smith, here tonight in his guise as 6th Borough Project. Smith made the most of Fez’s great sound system by playing out a wonderful set of bouncy house and disco records. The music never felt too cheesy or saccharine, and was saved from the dangers of repetitiveness by Smith’s skilful mixing. With over twenty years of DJ experience under his belt, he effortlessly carried the vibe forward until the very end of the night. From time to time, Hilla Abramov’s deliciously soulful live vocals glided over the music, and bright saxophone samples added a touch of jazz that brought a smile to my face.

As the night drew on, the music started to adopt a darker tone, but the crowd grew steadily larger all the same. By 2am, Fez’s relatively snug confines were absolutely jam-packed. Stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, I was pleasantly surprised to see how few people were on the street: the usual gangs of smokers, it seemed, had opted to stay inside and enjoy the music.

At one point, I decided to take a brief break from enjoying the feel-good vibes, and stood on the edge of the dance floor, sipping my drink and soaking up the atmosphere. Looking around me at the crowd, I couldn’t make out a single person dancing self-consciously, or that dreadful awkwardness that often permeates the dance floor at other Cambridge Thursday club nights.

It’s all very well to harp on about how important nights like Klubnacht are in the ‘broader scope’ of Cambridge nightlife, and how other clubs are a waste of time that require large amounts of alcohol in order to enjoy them. I’ve tried to make this review more than just a reworking of the same old platitudes used to describe ‘alternative’ nights at Fez. Ultimately, it’s a matter of taste – but I reckon if you haven’t been to a Klubnacht yet then you’ve been missing out on a great party. I say, roll on anniversary number two!