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Top 100 Clubs 2008
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Top 100 Clubs 2009 - No 2 - Fabric
If you could study the art of club programming like any other science, then there would be no better masterclass than Fabric. Never once sacrificing even the smallest shred of musical integrity, their line-ups are a perfect alchemy with just about every single boundary-breaker from almost every genre imaginable represented.
Whether it be Martyn or 2562's Detroit-gleaned dubstep, Johnny D's darkly seductive techno, Alex Metric's cut-up machine madness or the deviant disco pop of The Black Ghosts, if a new sound rises then Fabric is the first major club to stick their neck out and give it that vital platform.
But that's precisely because it's music rather than money that has always driven the unstoppable force that this converted meat-packing factory has become.
"It's an institution built on acquired taste and honest passion rather than commercial business," believes erstwhile resident and Fabric music director Craig Richards. "Nearly 10 years on there's still no real plan apart from to continue as we are. Most people behind it have worked from the beginning and their energy never diminishes. There's no ethos, no spreadsheets, no corporate bullshit and very little branding."
"You would think that after all these years the people running it would take the night off but they're all there every week in the thick of it 'til 8am," confirms Claude Von Stroke. "They really do live and breathe it and that's what makes the difference. And not only that, they take a lot of risks with their bookings."
But all this would mean nothing if it weren't for three ingredients. The overawing industrial setting, the main room's warm engulfing soundsystem and a crowd that have come to trust Fabric implicitly as a forum for the sounds of tomorrow.
Ever surrendered to one of Richie Hawtin or Ricardo Villalobos's epic techno vortexes here? Ever been caught up in the thrashing crowd-surfing mayhem that has whipped up at live shows from Pendulum or Digitalism? Or maybe you've been in the thick of it when Skream has road-tested tracks like his recent 'La Roux' remix? If so, then you'll surely agree - when it goes off, there is still no club in the UK quite like it.
"As a DJ you can basically do what the fuck you want, which is pretty rare," explains one of Fabric's current favourites Toddla T. "Part of the reason is the soundsystem. Records sound so good that people can get their heads round the weirdest sonics on it. Last week, I closed the main room and got away with playing loads of old Manchester acid house, some funky and my usual heavy Sheffield sound."