Review – Phil Week’s Free Party

I want to talk about the song ‘It’s The Inside That Counts’ by Phil Weeks. I first heard it in Jackmaster’s most recent XLR8R mix, when it blew my socks off – and I haven’t been able to get them back on since. I keep coming back to this infectious, roving house track whose startling disco-inspired bassline and drum sequence slots gorgeously into an upbeat house set every time. It’s actually a very simple tune, made with heavy hands. Its piercing vocal samples are chopped with a blunt knife from Dreaming by Loleatta Holloway and thrown over Weeks’ beat. They are deafening, gaudy and slightly ill fitting. But this gung-ho approach to sampling is completely endearing, and conjures a quite remarkable response in the club.

Naturally, it was the spearhead of Weeks’ set at Distrikt last week, a free alternative to Fred P at Wire where it was more than just an effective floorfiller. The message of the song (the idea that it is our character that is of most importance) really rang true during this event. Because Phil Weeks has been around since the 80s, he attracted a crowd of wild diversity, but which was mainly populated by balding blokes with beer bellies, and a few dolled up forty-somethings who presumably frequented the Back to Basics nights of the 80s and 90s. The fashion on display was questionable, including from Weeks whose reversed baseball cap and sporty look were a tell tale sign that he’s from the continent. His set, too, had that sickly-sweet Eurohouse and Italo disco strain to it; a brand of soulful house that was doing the rounds in the noughties and is now seen on second hand mixes with disgusting early-Photoshop artwork. But, who cares? It’s the inside that counts.

[Oliver Walkden]

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