Nervous system spiking espresso, shut eye music from Autechre and an illuminating performance from GAIKA set the scene for an impressive 16th edition of Turin's leading music festival.
What: Club To Club, 16th edition
Where: Lingotto, Torino
When: November 2nd - 6th, 2016
Since it’s inception at the turn of the millennia, Club To Club has maybe been more of a localised highlight on Torino’s event calendar or something for the industry heads. Held in Torino’s Lingotto district, it takes place at the same time as avant-garde art festival Artissima, breathing an extra blast of contemporary music culture into the city. In its impressive 16-year lifespan, it has consistently hosted an enviable line-up that spans both Italian and international talent – whether its acts at the forefront of experimental electronic soundscapes, genre-defying vocalists, or global community style discussions to fuel and progress attitudes in club culture.
Arriving on the festival’s second night, it was straight from the plane (pretty much pizza in hand) to Il Conservatorio di Torino, Giuseppe Verdi for a performance from ‘70s New York underground stalwart, Arto Lindsay. Blurring the lines between performance art, spoken word and music, Arto’s 45-minute set was enlightening one. In a nutshell – a screaming guitar with gnarled strings met a screaming man and a percussionist scrunching up empty water bottles in a grand conservatory.
Friday night commenced with talks at festival hub Symposium, including a focus on Amsterdam’s innovative nightlife processes with the city’s night mayor, followed by a discussion with GAIKA by Dummy alumni Aurora Mitchell. Then it was all roads led to Lingotto Fiere for my first true taste of Club To Club.
After slipping through the throng of people trying to get into the Red Bull Music Academy fronted second room, the crowds parted to offer a snippet of Amnesia Scanner’s live set, with throbbing synths, thrashing percussion and strobing lights keeping the crowd in full suspense. Check out the video below for some guy shouting "NOISE" loudly across the room mid-set.
From knowing GAIKA in his Manchester years, his performance stirred some strange sense of pride in me – mainly due to the sheer progression he’s made in both his output and identity. Performing material from 'Security' and 'Spaghetto', the set even included my favourite track BUTA. I shared the hell out his set on Instagram stories so alas, it has left us for content heaven, which is all the more reason to go and catch him in his true physical self as soon as humanly possible.
I think I was four tropical Red Bulls deep and waiting for the toilet during Koreless’ no-holds-barred set, and ended up magically transcending into two hours of experimental wash from Rochdale’s experimental electronic poster boys, Autechre. True to their shadowy selves, all lights were dimmed – rolling out the red carpet for that fully immersive eyes closed shut experience.
Friday highlights: The Amsterdam night mayor wearing leather trousers and Autechre trying to get the fire exit lights turned off.
Saturday night had a supercharged start with an absolutely danceable set from DAPHNI. Then, like passing trains in the night, I was passed the blunt by another Turinese stranger, which was about the right for Clams Casino’s set. Diverting away from his usual hip-hop and beat-driven output, he fine-tuned his sound for the crowd, with a peppering of rap vocals and material from ‘32 Levels’ before finishing off with one of his trademark tracks, I'm God.
Adding the cherry on the cake of my first Italian experience, Motor City Drum Ensemble played a track I’ve been absolutely rinsing of late, Don’t You Want It by Davina. I leapt up and screamed like a banshee, then tried to run up to the side of stage, ‘cos that’s generally what an expertly curated festival full of bright young things and energy drinks will do to you.
Saturday highlight: Trying to jump on stage during MCDE and then finding the cutting and sawing area.
All good things must come to an end, and I missed the Warp Records block party on Sunday evening due to the silky, dairy-laden seduction of a coma-inducing carbonara (€5.50). It didn’t matter, as I made it to at least 6am two nights in a row, which felt like a real achievement for somebody who now quite often goes to bed before 11pm at weekends. No chemical enhancement required, I cross my heart and hope to die when I say, Club To Club is the most razor sharp festival I’ve been to outside of the UK. Plus there’s nervous system spiking espresso for €1 to boot. Ciao for now, bella.
Club To Club took place November 2nd-6th in Lingotto, Torino and you’d be stupid to miss it next year.