Ministry's 20th Birthday Bash
Two continents, four decades; London-Miami-New York is a much travelled triangle for house music aficionados and professionals alike, but when you realise you’ve seen a DJ play in four different decades, it’s a stop-and-think moment. That DJ is Frankie Knuckles, who made his London debut at Heaven in 1987 and formed a cornerstone of the line-up for Ministry of Sound’s 20th Anniversary flashback event on September 18th, playing alongside David Morales, CJ Mackintosh and a host of other house music luminaries who took the controls at the club in its nascent years.
Originally conceived as a re-born Paradise Garage, Ministry of Sound has had numerous makeovers over the years that have taken it some distance from the original gritty venue that boasted flexible plastic doors on the toilet cubicles and, for those in need of some chill out time, a cinema room fitted with floor cushions. But its beating heart, the main room, remains much the same as it did the day it opened, the only notable difference the location of the DJ booth now positioned like a pulpit where it originally occupied a hole in the wall, high up to one side.
Not for nothing is Knuckles known as one of the creators of house music. His residency at Chicago’s Warehouse club during the post-disco era is cited by most who know as a key influence on the birth of house and he wasn’t going to let us forget it as he ripped into a set themed on various versions old and new of Jamie Principle’s seminal Your Love, the great Principle himself cameo performing the same alongside new release I’ll Take You There. Frankie was almost alone on the night in not basing his set on the early 90s, but long time Def Mix accomplice Morales had no such compunction. Launching his session with the mighty Dream Lover, the legendary tattooed biceps proceeded to crank out an entertaining greatest hits review that took in the likes of Inner City’s Big Fun and Strictly Rhythm classics Luv Dancin’ and Follow Me among others. Slightly obvious maybe, but nobody on the packed dancefloor cared about that as raised arms and fresh cheers greeted each blast from the past.
Strictly’s top three on the night:
Class of '91 - Todd Terry (CLS), Kenny Dope (The Untouchables) and DJ Pierre (Photon Inc)
Three of the best from ‘91: