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New Jersey veteran brings a supermarket of styles in a rare intimate performance

LIVE: Augmented presents Kerri Chandler @ Gorilla


Kerri Chandler has been one of house music’s originators since the early nineties. That term originator gets bound around a little too flippantly these days but this is not one of those occasions. From his native New Jersey roots and a backdrop of soul, disco, and garage from his late great father who was also a DJ, Chandler has established himself as a true selector in every sense of the word. As an ambassador of the 4/4 beat, his sets champion a bold plethora of styles, genres and decades.

The most exciting thing about tonight is that Chandler is playing all night long to 600 people in a modest venue under the railway tracks of Whitworth Street West. To give this a little context, tomorrow night he will curate and headline his own show at the Printworks – a 5,000 capacity venue on the banks of Canada Water in London.

Tonight, he kicks off the first hour with some neo-soul and US vocal house followed by some mid-tempo chug, as the crowd bob and weave into their stride. Once he’s found his feet, we a treated to an up-tempo gospel-infused cut of Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost in Music’ and Uptown Funk Empire’s ‘You’ve Got To Have Freedom’. There is a slight lull in proceedings as he gets bogged down with the jazz piano and the atmosphere falls a tad flat. However, redemption is served via the broken beats of some New York garage and a heavy dose of meaty tech house. The latter incorporates the vocal from Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’, sending the crowd into a fever pitch.

The current musical climate is littered with amazing DJ’s come producers – Four Tet, Ben UFO, Floating Points – to name but a few, but Kerri Chandler feels like the engine room on the roster. There’s no effects unit, no all singing all dancing lighting rig, projector screens, lasers et al. It’s six hours of straight up, soulful house, disco and garage on two turntables and it has the clientele in Gorilla eating out of the palm of his hand.

For the pessimists that think that house music all sounds the same, they should let Kerri Chandler take them on a journey. It will make them take a step back and realise it’s time to have a quiet word with themselves.

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