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Culture Reviews
Steven Bug
By Dena May Fisher
It’s always a good sign when you see a DJ dancing behind the decks. I don’t wish to imply that those who stand still or who seem deep in concentration aren’t enjoying themselves, but the chances are that if the DJ is dancing and visibly taking pleasure in his music – then you will be too. From the minute the German DJ and producer Steve Bug took his position behind the decks and Final Scratch console at Mio on Saturday night, he could be seen bobbing up and down, smiling and generally looking quite pleased with his set and with his crowd. By 5 am I too was dancing, jumping up and down, and smiling right back at him from across the dance floor. Though I have to admit that he was slightly quicker off the mark than I was…

When I arrived with a friend at midnight, the party had obviously only just started. We managed to get a table next to the as-yet empty dance floor, so we ordered a beer and settled into the big comfy couch for a gentle start to the long evening ahead. Much to our dismay, the beer was decidedly dodgy. A strange taste and an even stranger aftertaste meant that we quickly moved on to better stuff. The Zolotaya Bochka, at 90rbs for 0.5l was the cheapest drink on the menu. Conveniently enough for the club’s cash registers, I doubt if much of it was ordered that night! Our vodka with red bull cost 200rbs which, despite the fact that it could rival any of the London clubs’ pricelists, seemed like relatively good value for money. I should know by now that a night out in Moscow is not for those faint of heart or light of wallet!! With a 500rbs entrance fee and 50rbs at the cloakroom, Mio proved to be no exception to the rule.

But I liked the club. True, it didn’t need the plasma screen showing the usual catwalk parades (why do the clubs all have this??) but generally it seemed pretty unpretentious, with a d?cor and lighting done in relatively good taste. Nothing too adventurous - but here that makes a refreshingly nice change! I was also pleased to see that the crowd, which progressively grew until the club was full, seemed, for the most part, genuinely to be there for the music and the party, and not just to show off their new Gucci shoes. Refreshing indeed!!

By 2.30am, action on the dance floor was in full swing. DJ Helga was on fine form, playing deep house tunes which were really getting the crowd going. By the end of her set, she was playing with her audience as much as she was playing with her vinyl, making them whistle and shout as she teased them with the techno beats. Steve Bug was impressed by her performance and we agreed that if she is representative of Moscow’s up and coming talent, then there is hope after all for the music scene in Russia.

Steve himself took over the reigns at 3am. Full of high hopes at the prospect of a rare chance to listen to a world class DJ in a city which can only be described as an electronic music backwater, I have to admit to being disappointed as he dropped the tempo. I wondered what his time with the legendary Ritchie Hawtin had taught him, and puzzled at the need for the 700 tracks he claimed to have on his Final Scratch software. Why waste some of the most state-of-the art music technology, and access to some of the finest tunes ever to grace clubland, if you’re going to play an uninspired set with complete disregard for the mood of the crowd you are playing to? He may have been dancing behind the decks, but I was definitely only lurking half-heartedly on the sidelines.

Oh ye of little faith!! It soon became apparent that there was method in his madness, and soon after that it became physically impossible not to dance! My impatience had obstructed the understanding that he was constructing his set in the manner of a true artist. A DJ’s set, like a piece of musical prose, has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end… with all the nuances of poetry and the highs and lows of a dramatic novel. It’s not just a case of finishing off what somebody else has started. More to the point, we’d have never made till so late in the night if we’d peaked too soon! It’s not an unknown phenomenon that to delay the climax is to prolong the pleasure…

And a pleasure it was indeed! He played a safe set- nothing too risky, but good, bouncy tunes which progressed to deep, penetrating hard house beats. By 5am, I had seen and heard enough. He was good – no doubt about it. I’d had a great dance and a very good night: My smiles and rosy cheeks were testament to that! By the time I left, he was still going strong. The audience was loving every minute of it, and visibly so was he. As I said before…It’s always a good sign to see the DJ dancing behind his decks!

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