It’s been a devastating past 18 months for the nightlife industry. Since the the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the hospitality sector has seen its doors sealed shut. Parties, promoters and punters have seen their honest endeavours slashed by the restrictions, with a spread of clubs, bars and cafes closing for good due to financial turmoil.
As the so-called ‘freedom day’ approaches, those around the world who have so dearly missed their local sonic haunts will be dusting off their club clobber to venture into the ether once again. The first weekend that lands in our new and open world order will be rife with options, and we think Jelly Legs is the party that you should go to.
Jelly Legs is a new event arriving in Brick Lane on July 24th, hosted at the conjoined Café 1001 & Werkhaus throughout the evening and night. Manned by duo Will Wallace and Ed Tomlinson, the party will showcase a diverse mammoth lineup full of chug-fetishists and cosmic groovers. If you like a dose of Andrew Weatherall with your cup of tea in the morning, then Jelly Legs is here with a weekend’s supply of the stuff.
The event “creates and encourages an inclusive and open minded dance floor where everyone is welcome and free expression is encouraged” says Tomlinson, who professes that the open-mindedness of England’s acid house era is something to be inspired by.
“The birth of acid house was as much about breaking down barriers and the freedom to express yourself as it was the music and these values seems to have been forgotten as club culture has developed over the years. When you look at the values of many legendary club nights around the world one of the common denominators (aside from a quality music policy) is their welcoming attitude to everyone.”
What makes Jelly Legs stand out is its combination of acclaimed DJs and those earlier in their career. Tomlinson goes on to say:
“Whilst discussing the finer details of Weatherall and Smagghes b2b at Barbarellas or Harvey opening with Le Club Un Fait Divers et Rien de Plus (Billy Woods epic 40 min version), we established that there was a space for a new club night where we could mix emerging underground talent with established artists, encouraging new music and giving new DJ’s a chance to share the stage with the establishment. Everyone seems to like the idea so we thought fuck it…let’s give it a shot.”
With this combination of talent in mind, Jelly Legs goes further, professing itself as an ‘intergenerational splish splash’.
“Age is definitely an important part of the event – it’s almost an unrecognised diversity issue. In recent years, the 45+ demographic has grown in importance as children are fleeing the nest and parents are heading back out to dance.” says Ed.
With over 20 years between them, Wallace and Tomlinson themselves push this ethos. Will told us:
“It’s not just inter-generational in terms of the crowd, but also those involved in bringing it to life: not just Ed & I, and the music line up, but also the flyer which featured the legend graphic designer Julian House on one side, and emerging writer Will McCartney from Noise Narrative with a poem about muscle memory on the flip. I’ve admired Julian’s work for a while now, so to have him do our creative design is a real honour, I’m also very excited to see where Will M’s words take him.“
The flyer for the party was designed by Julian House, whose CV is unrivalled in the industry. House has done album artwork for Oasis, created campaigns for John Coltrane, Primal Scream, Gil Scott-Heron and Annie Lennox, co-directed music videos for The Rolling Stones, The Pet Shop Boys and The Prodigy, and designed book covers for Leonard Cohen, Will Self and Hunter S. Thompson.
The combination of two music tastes of those stationed in different generations can have a powerful impact, and this runs true for the Jelly Legs party according to Tomlinson:
“We both have a very common music taste but bring different influences to what will be the Jelly Legs music policy: we wrote down a list of artists that we wanted to pair up with each other and probably 60% were the same and the remaining 40% were new to each other which was great“.
When deciding who to include in the lineup for the debut event, the pair reached an equilbirium quite quickly. From the more experienced, legend side of the bill, inspiration played a large part:
“We seemed to quickly agree on who we wanted involved in the launch party (and the next few events in the pipeline!).
From the established artist side of things Richard Sen is a personal DJ & production hero for me, pure quality and such a deep knowledge of music. He served up an absolute masterclass DJ mix at the ShelterMe festival in December and so we had to have him on the bill in a real venue.”
(Read our interview with Richard here.)
Andrew Weatherall collaborator Duncan Gray also features, as well as John Paynter of Paisley Dark and good friend & late addition Jamie Tolley.
Emerging talent was no different, with Wallace’s links to FINA Agency proving vital in the program:
“On the emerging talent team Tia Cousins & Oscar Abdullah who play b2b as Evening Mass are flying the flag. Tia has just been picked up by the FINA agency and is warming up Room 1 Fabric with Overmono and Blawan when the night is rearranged, Oscar is part of Phonica with an amazing record collection, they are both ones to watch over the coming years.“
(Read our interview with Evening Mass here.)
In addition to Evening Mass, Jelly Legs welcomes Matt Hum of the famed Golden Lion pub in Todmorden. The venue, which is owned by Matt’s father, has alumni including the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Weatherall and Mr Scruff.
(Read our interview with Matt here).
Together, the group of artists are set to offer a varied and diverse range of sounds and styles, and this is bolstered by the fact that multiple sets are in the event’s ammunition:
“Some of the line up will be doing two quite different sets on the 24th, so it will be interesting to see them switch it up.“
In truth, starting a new venture during an uncertain time like today is a bold statement, with a range of unwalked paths lying ahead. This is, though, clear testament to the tenacity of the Jelly Legs team, who clearly have an agenda for the coming months. Their commitment to creating a safe space is what makes this party a complete offering.
Wallace admits “It is exciting to be organising an event on the first weekend with no distancing, but we also must be conscious that this virus is not going away, so highly encourage everyone to take precautions to make sure we’re all staying as safe as possible“.
“The venue has cap of 330, but we’re going to slam the breaks on at 200 to give some breathing room, shoulder to shoulder feels a bit much right now. The second room is also big and airy with an outdoor space.“
“We strongly advise people to:
- Get yourself double vax
- Do tests before and after
- Stay at home if you’re not feeling right
- Look out for each other “
For more information on COVID advice, you can head to the NHS website here.
As “freedom day” approaches, it is important to be respectful and safe when in large groups. It is, however, also important that we are all able to enjoy ourselves within the nightlife landscape and give back to the venues, promoters and artists who have been so heavily affected by the last 18 months.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to action this motive, Jelly Legs may just be the one for you.
Grab your ticket here.