Over the last few years, it’s been hard to ignore the rising dominance of UK-based house music across the electronic scene in Britain, with the genre gaining significant influence in both underground and commercial circles, and 2013 has shown that the accelerating trend shows no sign of slowing down. Junk is considered by many to be the heart of the south coast electronic music scene, and their ever-impressive Saturday night series, most recently named WE ARE JUNK showcases the best in class week in, week out. Bristolian Daniel Pearce — more commonly known as Eats Everything — is their latest booking, returning to Southampton as one of the acts to round off what has been a fantastic year for the club. Recently announced as a resident at London club XOYO, his forward-thinking take on house music draws influence from an extensive pool of music, and has earned him a number of impressive accolades, most notably Best British DJ in DJ Magazine’s 2012 Best of British awards.
It is for this reason that Junk sold every single one of its advance tickets for this event, something which happens with surprising infrequency given the usual calibre of bookings. This considerable demand for tickets is the first indication that the night will be unlikely to disappoint. Further reassurance comes immediately upon walking through the doors of Junk at 11pm, a time at which the club is normally just beginning to fill up on most Saturday evenings. Tonight however, the already sizeable crowds and the eager atmosphere they carry tell a different story. Opening the night are Junk’s own Moe West and Bones, a resident at Sankey’s Ibiza, a venue at which Junk has hosted several nights over the years. Both are excellent selections for the night, and deliver tight, enjoyable sets which complement each other’s and the eventual headline set well. Unusually busy is the second room, which tonight simultaneously plays host to Rhymos, Jody Hannon, and Luca Pilato, all of whom impress. The crowd waits until 2am for the main event nonetheless, and there’s a striking air of excitement as the time approaches.
The roar that accompanies Eats’ first song tonight might fool you into thinking that this is a man who has been on the scene for years, carefully sculpting his sound and musical identity, as many of those who grace Junk’s turntables have. Unlike previous headliners though, his aptly-titled 2011 release “Entrance Song“, marked his debut. Since then, he has accomplished an unprecedented fast rise to fame, with releases on a number of reputable labels, notably Hypercolour and Dirtybird, as well as having a broad range of collaboration credits to his name, and over the course of the next 2 hours, anyone lucky enough to have got hold of a ticket is shown why. Effortlessly beat matching and fading tracks, it is clear that despite the recent nature of his rise to fame, Pearce is no novice to the decks; his technical skills can be considered amongst the best currently. His refined taste is showcased wonderfully by the unpredictable, but simultaneously familiar song selection, with highlights including Julio Bashmore’s remix of “Love is Gonna Lift You Up“, and Joy Orbison/Boddika’s unmistakeable “Mercy“. Eats’ greatest skill however, and what arguably sets him apart from his contemporaries is his almost uncanny ability to build and build a song for the perfect amount of time before dropping it, an imperative technique which seems to elude many DJs, and ultimately leads to an exhausting but hugely satisfying set for the crowd.
In many cases, a club at capacity does not tend to result in a better night, with queues for drinks, toilets, and even the smoking area becoming aggravating, as well as lack of space on the dancefloor becoming frustrating to many. But it is a testament to Junk’s fantastic approach to throwing a party that these issues seem non-existent even on the busiest of nights, and this is undoubtedly the reason that the 700-capacity club sees itself again nominated for Best Small Club in DJ Mag’s awards this year. There is a distinct sense of camaraderie amongst staff and clubbers alike as the night draws to a close, and it’s hard to deny that Junk would be a worthy recipient of the award.