I Love Techno, Flanders Expo, Ghent, Belgium
Monday 09 November 2009
Techno has acquired a reputation somewhere between Eurotrash and Madchester in recent years in the UK, but Ghent's annual I Love Techno festival is proof that neither the music nor the fans are as naff or as addled as either of these connotations unfairly suggest.
Although the Low Countries are known for their esoteric taste in DJs who go by their full names (such as the inscrutable Sander Van Doorn and Wouter de Moor), ILT 2009 had a host of acts that appealed to a less rarefied crowd. Comments from techno purists on an internet forum called for the one-night-only festival to be renamed "I Love Bandwagons" or "I Love Alternative Pop" or even, distressingly, "I Love What Mixmag Tells Me to Love". A little harsh perhaps, but given that ILT has promoted some of the best and most progressive of the genre since 1992, there are those who feel it has taken a turn for the commercial.
With five rooms and a central area, the spectrum of fans had plenty to choose from: a gamut of mainstream remixes from Dizzee Rascal and Sidney Samson, via Crookers' bassline beats, ending with the intimidating Red Room, featuring Dave Clarke and Carl Craig.
It wasn't the apocalyptic or glassy-eyed bald-man-and leather-fest that one might assume. Pulling in a young and discerning, dynamic urban audience, the venue was well chosen and the event organised impeccably – some feat given the 35,000 people who clogged the idyllic town of Ghent for fourteen hours. And for a style of music that aims to make people feel like machines, revellers were unaggravated.
Two of the night's big sets came from Berlin-based Boys Noize and London's Fake Blood. Both enthused the crowd in their own characteristic ways: Alex Ridha of Boys Noize for his unrelenting and energetic mix, and exhausting, fuzz-bathed basslines. Canadian producer and DJ Tiga gave the crowd his campish, disco-inspired grindcore electro. Indeed, the presence of more than a few obviously "electro" artists may be what had the purists afroth. Others included Simian Mobile Disco, with a thoughtful, fan-led playlist, and The Count & Sinden, whose early set warmed up the crowd before the industrial noise set in.
There were a few minor quibbles: the sweat dripping from the ceilings, the snowdrift of plastic cups and sleeping ravers, but these were character-forming and part of the ambience. I Love Techno was a sell-out event, however you choose to interpret the phrase, and for the most part, fans got what it said on the tin.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils