Friday, December 02, 2005
Mr. Alexander Coe - I bow down before thee
It just struck me. I've been blogging for a couple of months now and I haven't made one single entry about dance music.
So rather than a general ramble I'm going to concentrate on 'the man like'. It was a title supposedly given to Alexander Coe otherwise known as the godlike DJ Sasha by Dom Phillips general scene guru and one of the first staff writers on Mixmag. The reason for it is relatively self explanatory. There's no one else like Sasha, he is like no one else, he is the 'the man like Sasha'.
I first saw him play when he was doing a residency at the legendary night Venus in Nottingham in 1992. It only ran for about a year or two, but people still namecheck it as one of the best club nights to ever go off. In reality the club only took around 400 or 500 of the coolest faces in the East Midlands so very few would have ever got the opportunity to go and sample the atmosphere.
I was 19 at the time and bang in to my music across the whole spectrum. At the time having such catholic tastes was pretty unusual, because the indie kids and the ravers just didn't see eye to eye. It wasn't until The Chems in the mid-90s that things really started to crossover.
But at Venus that night Sasha changed my entire relationship with music and made it part of my soul. Rave had always been about mentalism to an extent, but he played tracks that were completely different. He was playing some really deep Northern European stuff, Dutch and German uplifting trance and progressive house that I just hadn't heard before and the tracks aside (that were amazing by the way) he did that thing that people go on about 'taking you on a journey'. If there was one critiicism of raves it was that each track demanded your attention in a different way, it stomped. This stuff just held your hand and casually showed you the sights. And fuck me, there were some sights.
I guess he was the first superstar DJ along with Oakey, but without denigrating Paul Oakenfold he was Blur to Oakey's Oasis and I always liked Blur more it was that bit more sophisticated.
I've seen Sasha many many times and some, nee all my best clubbing memories have involved him. There was the night that he flew in on Concorde for a gig at Homelands, from having played at Twilo in New York - where along with John Digweed he was the toast of the US - and BA had fucked up and lost his records. So he had to borrow Nick Warren's records and play a 2 hour set of white labels he'd never heard before and he just nailed the crowd. I think there was an awful lot of Way Out West stuff in there which is Warren's production name so he got a virtual 2 hour Sasha showcase. Not that Nick Warren really needs showcasing.
But the other memory was of me and Nicky going out, just the 2 of us, because we found out at short notice he was playing at Fabric. The place is ubercool still, but this was only about 3 months after it had opened and the place was ice chilled. We'd been playing his Global Underground Ibiza GU13 mix at home for about 5 months and we were ridiculously excited. Anyway, we got in there around 10.45 and to our surprise he actually came on at about 11.30 when we weren't really expecting him for about another 3 hours mand we were right in front of the DJ Box. The DJ box is a funny old thing and it can take away alot of the intimacy, but at Fabric in the back room it's right on the floor so you can look straight in to the DJs eyes. Add to that, that they have bass speakers in the floor, so you get the bass literally from the ground up and it makes for a really full on sensory overload. He played for 8 hours and when you looked at him, he was concentrating like his life depended on it, checking everything the crowd was doing. Neither Nicky or I left the dancefloor once I swear. We ponced water off anyone that we could and just kept going and then when he wound up at 7am we felt like we were on a cloud. I have never had a period of time go so fast in my entire life it was extraordinary and we ended up bouncing out and getting the tube home and sat in our front room for the whole of the rest of the day just blissful.
So Mr Coe if you ever read this, which I'd love to think you would but of course you won't. Thank you for teaching me how to love music in a completly different way. You have made me happier than any other man I can think off. Hats off to you sir.