The brainchild of Adam Gill & Ben Lyons returned to centre stage last weekend, for the reincarnation of the East Project events. The growing record label curated a solid line up to mark their return to the event game. Offering a glimpse into things to come for the brand, which has seen some strong releases during 2018 with Lindsey Matthews and Matt Fear featured during the year. Providing the soundtrack for their night in London saw Hot Creations regular Russ Yallop and rising sensation George Smeddles land at Shelter Club.
Situated on Kingsland Road in East London, Shelter offers a 200 capacity intimate event space across two rooms. Being located in an area surrounded by the likes of Hoxton and Shoreditch, the venue oozes quirky and eccentric tones. Graffiti written walls and old school decor is ridden throughout the space.
Upstairs consists of a narrow long room with one bar on the left hand side and a side seating area, whilst a lower level room offers a total contrast. With minimal lighting and a heavy sound system, the small squared off basement room offers some real underground vibes, leaving you feeling like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.
Being in Shoreditch you’re bound to fork out a fair bit on drinks, nothing short of standard for London. Spirit and Mixers would set you back £6.50, whilst either a bottle of Corona or Becks would cost a more reasonable £5. Water was the cheaper option at £3.
Upstairs the heat was bearable at peak times, with the help of a large fan placed at the front of the booth aimed towards the crowd. Additional ventilation and temperature control would be great to see in the future, especially downstairs.
Upstairs found two workers manning the main bar, serving with a smile and keeping queues down to no longer than a couple of minutes. Whilst downstairs on the venue’s additional smaller bar was another member of staff to spread the queues during busy hours.
Music lovers would be best to describe this crowd. People who weren’t just attending for the sake of saying “I’ve been there”. These were people who knew and loved house music. Friendly and genuine faces throughout, from a mixture of backgrounds and cultures, all in attendance to enjoy the music.
Production & Sound
The beauty of an intimate space is that even the most minimal production can still fill the room with light and colour during the proceedings. Shelter’s set up in the main room consisted of some small laser style beams, par lights, smoke machine and a reflective disco ball which glistened light across the room. The addition of a powerful strobe and one/two beam lights bolster this set up further, along with stripping back some of the venue’s interior would add more of a rave setting to the room, albeit whilst keeping it’s quirky character.
A feisty Martin Audio system took command of the upstairs room, firing sound into the close-walled space from the DJ booth, with some additional DB Technologies speakers around the bar area. Down into the deep depths of the basement featured a Turbosound install in one corner of the room, rounding off a strong offering for the intimate space.
After a groovy assortment of tracks from Acid Kids, Warm up duties for the first headliner of the night was handed to East Project’s A&R manager; LA Sam. In just the 30 minute cameo before his closing set later on in the night, it’s safe to say the rising DJ/producer demonstrated exactly what he’s capable of. Opening with Lee Jeffrey’s “Weekend Stomp” released on Daylight Robbery Records got the crowd moving from the get-go. It’s feel good house vibe was enough to make anyone dance.
Comfortable in his surroundings from the outset as he grooved along with the crowd, the artist later brought in his own production in the shape of “Mortal Kombeat”. A collaboration with Josh Ramadan which caught us all by surprise, as the thumping drop tore through the Martin Audio system.
The Resonance Records co-owner up stepped up as the first headliner of the night. After a busy summer playing at some of the most sought after events including Creamfields and ABODE In The Park, we were eager to see what George had to offer. As well as huge bookings, George’s standout production has seen his name up in lights over the past 12 months, with Music On boss Marco Carola supporting his sound on the famous Amnesia Terrace. After lending our ears to his work, it’s clear to see why his music is so heavily supported.
Bringing in the looping vocals of his summer anthem “Start The Party” proved to be an instant hit with the crowd which had formed in the main room, as the bouncy tech drop fuelled the venue with energy. Another golden piece of production from the man himself followed shortly after with “Shake Your Body” making an appearance. The huge release on Under No Illusions has been making serious waves on the scene, with Carola being a consistent supporter of the groovy rhythm which went down a treat with the East Project crowd.
Brighton based DJ & producer Russ Yallop took over the reigns from George as the second headliner of the night. A regular feature on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels label since his debut release “I Can’t Wait”, Russ has since catapulted his way onto some of the industry’s most respected labels, including Jamie Jones’ mighty Hot Creations. The DJ Mag Best of British artist has played across the globe during his illustrious career, with stints at Tomorrowland, Global Gathering and Paradise at DC10.
Stepping his foot on the gas and upping the pace as we drew further into the night, Russ came locked and loaded with some heavy rollers to leave his stamp on the event. Shiba San’s “Look Back” being a prime example, as the new release on Kaluki erupted through the sound system and a cheer from the crowd following shortly after. Towards the end of his set, Groove Armada’s bouncy disco infused “House Musique” was the perfect selection to give that second wind as we reached the early hours of Saturday morning.
Staying true to your sound in a constantly evolving and changing industry is a difficult task, however it’s something which East Project have maintained over their 8 years in the game. Their niche and unique brand has attracted some of the scene’s biggest names to perform, with the likes of Miguel Campbell and Richy Ahmed previously featuring. With their return to label showcases bringing two more huge names to an intimate space (which with a few modifications has some great potential), offering something different in the current blur or repetitive tech house events, there’s no doubt that there’s more to come from East Project. 7/10