On Friday night, in a small and sweaty room in Digbeth, two world-renowned DJ’s took over Birmingham’s underground music scene. Who would have thought that Honey Dijon, one of the hottest most in demand DJs in the world right now, and Luke Solomon, an underdog in the British house music scene, would be playing in an old abandoned warehouse in Birmingham? The vibe was different from the usual student heavy Lab 11 events; the crowd was older, phones weren’t flashing in every corner and the place felt more intimate than usual. A dark and dirty atmosphere was built up through visuals projected behind the decks, while two female dancers dressed in black fishnet and tape danced by the DJs.
The Leftfoot DJ’s set the tone nicely for Solomon and Dijon and by the time Luke Solomon hit the decks at 12 the place was packed to the brim. Solomon’s set was mainly heavy four to the floor underground tracks, although he delved into some disco and more soulful house with tunes such as Mighty Mouse’s ‘The Spirit’, a mix of Debbie Jacobs’ ‘Don’t You Want My Love’ and ATFC’s ‘The Conversation’. He warmed the room up for Dijon; metaphorically and literally.
Honey f****** Dijon; the woman needs no introduction. A queen of the dance floor, Dijon’s set showed off her technical ability along with her in depth musical knowledge spanning over 40 years, ranging from old and current house, disco, R&B and soul. From the first heavy hitting house track, the energy in the room was insane. It is Dijon’s ability to maintain those exact energy levels throughout her sets that puts her above everyone else.
What specifically stood out for me was Honey’s use of acapellas; she knew what ones to use, when to use them and how to use them. After a high energy house driven version of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’, the vocals of Beyonce’s ‘De Ja Vu’ crept in much to the delight of the audience. Dijon worked the crowd, teasing the intro of ‘Show Me Love’ countless times. She also knew when to lay off the decks and let a song do the work for her; after looping the beginning vocals of Inner City’s ‘Good Life’, the track was left for the audience to enjoy. Dijon made full use of the effects to enhance her set, as well as taking out the bass and silencing the room atltogether at times; a true master of the craft. The iconic Stevie Wonder acapella (I Wish) was thrown into the mix from that famous Sugar Mountain Honey Dijon set; a nice taste of Honey’s soul and Motown roots. As her set progressed, the acapellas kept on coming; Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’ and ‘Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ were turned into anthems for the dance floor, a clear testament to her lack of pretentiousness when it comes to good music. Looking back at the two hours Dijon played for, it’s clear her set was truly a celebration of her culture and background. A scene which was once dominated by LGBT and black people has now transformed into a predominantly white, heterosexual place, but Dijon certainly affects this and includes a number of black artists in her setlist. Dijon has made her mark in a male dominated industry as a black, trans woman, and as a result has made the dance floor a more inclusive and less judgemental place, just like it used to be.
Keep an eye out for more Leftfoot and Hooker Club events!
Written by Alev Omer