When you first walk into a charity event the last thing you want to see is an empty room, and yet at MENTAL // A Dance For Mind the opening image of the night was Haseeb Iqbal hunched studiously over the Grow turntables at 10:30, with a few nervous organisers standing by in an otherwise deserted club.
Nothing was to be feared though. From the second the first dancers arrived to the moment the lights went up at the end of the night the room was filled with both people and energy. Dancers moved to Iqbal’s Afrobeat selections just as hard they did to XMTR’s heavy breaks, and likewise for the Techno and Footwork that ended the night under the watchful mixing of Max Bogotyrow and Felix Raman.
Not only did the night feel like a charity event, it felt like a fully-fledged weekend party, despite happening on a Thursday. The blends were well crafted, the sound system performed, and the dancers loved it, with smiles on the floor throughout the entire range of music played.
Grow Tottenham was thus the perfect venue for the event, big enough to allow enough people to come and bring in money for Mind, the chosen charity for the night, and yet small enough to feel packed out when the music was in full swing.
At times it felt almost like its next-door neighbour – The Cause – with the DJs and the dancers staring back at each other through the grating of the Grow cage. In the same way as The Cause the club feels homemade, intimate, and simultaneously professional, and worthy of hosting highly curated nights of music on its versatile sound system, with the event’s organisers likely to use the space again.
Perhaps the night was best summed up in the words of one such organiser as the last tracks were being played, who said ‘man, I didn’t expect it to be this good.’ When the promoters are surprised at their own success it’s rarely been just a standard night.