You should expect the unexpected when it comes to the faberz birthday bash.

There was a collective breath-holding last November when fabric’s license was in fear of being revoked. ‘Surely not’ was the general consensus, but there’s always a niggle that things may not turn in favour of club culture. Given the recent history between UK authorities and nightlife, we’re allowed to be slightly anxious. One year on and pressure deflated, it’s business as usual and time to congratulate the London institution on another year of operation.

Fabric’s 16th birthday weekend ran from the October 16-18. Kurupt FM hosted the Friday night with a guest appearance from Craig David. The mammoth weekend continuing with a 30-hour run of non-stop tunes and nonsense from Saturday night till Monday morning.

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Marcel Dettmann headlined the Saturday night in Room 2. I was a bit gutted to have missed it, as well as the chance to get loose in the cavernous space. Then again, it was probably in need of repair, seeing as the Dettmann most likely smashed it to absolute pieces.

I’d made my raving return to the UK after Ibiza at Bristol In:Motion on Friday, but the deed was not really done until I’d shown my face on a dancefloor in my hometown.

Sunday daytime was my planned arrival. Purse, jacket and iPhone down, I was not doing too well. Then a pheasant flew into my coach from Bristol, shattering the windscreen, only delaying me by 45 minutes mind. Raring to go, I met up with my pal who’d been expecting me much earlier, and we jumped on a bus to Farringdon.

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Due to said delays and mishaps, I missed Ricardo Villalobos’ late morning till afternoon set, arriving in time for the threesome up next. Apollonia’s rise is down to the stylistic, impeccable touch each member provides. This evening they were leading us right where we needed to go. It’s never about what’s coming next with them, but the continuum.

Warm yellow spotlights drew our attention from the booth to the stage at the back, where Paranoid London had set-up shop for a live show. Sequencing an 808 to bring us some good ole acid house, they had a particular flair with hi-hats. Distinct sounds of the city made me feel right at home, not to mention the MC who joined onstage with a cowboy hat on. The definite reassurance I was clubbing in London came from hearing someone shout out ‘oi oi!’ though.

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Prosumer was then up behind the decks, utilising the built-in rotary mixer to a tee, he churned out the bangers in a fine force. When ‘Down In The Dungeon’ bounced through the room there was a shared moment of flipping out. Included were some nice flashes of house too; it isn’t a birthday party without some diva vocals.

One of the best things about fabric is the central position of the Room 1 booth, there’s no doubt the DJ is feeling the vibe and locking eyes with some exhilarated faces. Also big ups to the lighting guy who was on fine form all evening, translating the patterns of the music into that of lights.

craig richards farbic london

A bit later than expected, Ricardo began to bring it for the Sunday AM, but when I peeked into the booth there was just Craig Richards in sight, holding the thought. Others were also curious as to what was going on, one little birdy told me he was too drunk while another claimed he was sitting on the floor trying to sort through vinyl’s. Oh, Ricardo.

Luckily, resident Craig knew a thing or two about moving Fabric’s dancefloor, not much earlier having gone B2B with Jamie Jones in Room 3. Ricardo is probably the only DJ who could get away with such antics, he is unpredictable, a true character, and it’s why he’s loved so dearly. When he was in sight people would hold a flashing camera up, and he’d either shy away and turn his head or kiss to the camera.

ricardo villaloboss fabric london

Deck duties just with him, Ricardo delivered a glorious dance floor moment. A guitar-laden track got to a point where people didn’t know what to do with it, there was a split second where the dancefloor almost reached a standstill. Having thrown a couple of hints to it, he then dropped in ‘Blue Monday’ from New Order. The turnaround in energy was incredible. He jumped between tracks and put in loops to fuck with us.

I’d rather a DJ takes risks and test a crowd than play linear with safe tracks. Not long after that moment of redemption came the Special Request VIP of ‘Hackney Parrot’, and that was more or less it from him.

Someone asked me where Ricardo was, telling me he and his pal had touched down just earlier today all to see him. Regardless, Craig had some tricks up his sleeve, at one point I am mostly certain he was mixing in the weighty emotive chords on Ricardo’s ‘Dexter’. Dyed Soundorom later stepped up to join him in closing out party.

Expect the unexpected when attending Fabric’s birthday weekend.

📷 Sarah Ginn + Nick Ensing

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