United States of Trance
During my second year at University, a new night called ‘Gatecrahser’ started at the Wicker Arches in Sheffield. The Arches was slightly out of town and not normally frequented by students, however we were growing tired of the Hand Bag house played at ‘Love-to-Be’ so a group of us ventured over to that part of town to check it out.
The club was kind of grotty and the door staff slightly more menacing than the clubs we had been going. However the fact it was built in a Victorian train arch gave it a more underground feel, it felt exclusive and on the edge. You entered via the Chillout, however there was nothing chilled about the sound track the DJ was playing that first night we went. After getting in a few bottles s of Hooch we ventured down stairs into the main room, we felt the bass long before we reached the door to enter, upon opening that door we were confronted with a wall of smoke. A single green laser cut through the smoke so we could gage the size of the room and how many people were in the room.
The room was half full, however we were not bothered about that, we were transfixed on the DJ who was playing this dark and deep house sound that borrowed its influences from the early acid house records. These tunes featured the familiar noodling TR 303 arpeggiated lead lines, however were accompanied by incredibly simple beats EQ’ed to cut through the driving relentless bass that hit on the one and three. The main characteristic of these tunes was the setup, the drop then the epic build to the crescendo moment where the groove carried you to the next drop. Record after record followed that simple formula, but it worked. A few weeks after that fateful night I managed to blag Simon Raine into give me a residency at Gatecrasher, I got some inside information from Geordie Pete that he liked Pink Floyd so started my mixtape with ‘Comfortably Numb’. I never got to play in the trance room, I played funky house in the Red room and at Bed. A residency I held for over ten years.
Saying that I did spend many a night in the Big Room listening to the other GC residents Scott Bond, Matt Hardwick, I enjoyed the fact I was just another raver in the sea of crasher kids, all getting lost in the music. Oh they were some hedonistic days.