In a crowded market place and in the increasingly common climate of young, untested DJs having to sell tickets to earn to earn slots of line-ups, set times are getting shorter and line-ups are getting longer. We’ve seen the concept of B2B being bastardised as a result: two jocks with six months experience between them, no chemistry and a ratio of half-an-hour each. I mean, what’s the point? It’s just another nail in the coffin of the artistry of DJing.
There’s DJing; and then there’s DJing all night long. Both are art forms, but one takes considerably more skill and experience than the other.
ANLs weren’t always so rare. In fact, it was fairly typical to find one act on a line-up, save for maybe the resident warming-up early doors. As artist fees have risen, competition heated up and partygoers pick their nights out more carefully, the result has seen club nights opt for festival-sized line-ups to appear attractive and stand-out to the casual observer. But, really, it’s false economy. Increasingly rare, the ANL is where the real value can be found.
They might not be as commonplace as they used to, but incredible all night long sets still go on. Phonox in Brixton revolves its programming around the ANL. More recent examples of great open to close sets in the capital include Adriatique at E1 earlier this month, Uruguayan selector Nicolas Lutz at the Pickle Factory last Christmas and the countless times that fabric have handed the reins to one act during their XX birthday celebrations (Maceo Plex and Jamie Jones incoming!)
Some DJs revel in the challenge of an all night long - the opportunity to curate a whole night of music, to move up and down the tempos, to play records in a club that they usually wouldn’t get a chance to play to take the crowd on a journey and mould it exactly to their taste without inference from a third party. For this reason, many DJs are actively turned off the idea. It isn’t for everybody.
Similarly, not all clubbers appreciate the idea of the ANL. But if you love them, then you really love them. What could be better than seeing a master selector take charge for a full six hours on the dance floor in a night that promises upfront, unreleased, rare and greatest hits musics - the full spectrum is likely to be touched on. When DJs get short, festival-length sets they can feel pressured into immediately entertaining the crowd and opt for their obvious go-to records or own well-known productions. Not the case with ANLs. Here is an opportunity to test yourself and the experiment with the ears of your audience - knowing that they are all here to see you play and you alone.
There are some truly salivating ANLs lined-up in the coming weeks. In Manchester, WHP give us three for the price of one on Friday 4th October as the Martinez Brothers, Eats Everything and Honey Dijon get allocated a room each at Mayfield Depot. The London crew have two choices coming-up, both on Saturday 5th October - and co-produced by Percolate. The first is Horse Meat Disco at Oval Space with the four-piece set to spin open to close as only they know how. The second option is Mella Dee at Bloc. who brings his Warehouse Music label to the forefront of proceedings. What we can also say to be true, is that the venues will play a huge role during these parties - as it typically the case for all night long sets. You need a backdrop that gives context to the majesty of the occasion. Somewhere with character, history and - perhaps most importantly of all - a faultless soundsystem. With more juicy all night longs lined-up in the coming weeks, you’re going to want to keep your eyes fixed on our newsfeed.
Tickets for the above three shows are on sale now.