The verisimilitude is palpable.
It’s just like the Sub Club, except its been blown up by a factor of 10; nay, 100. Add all the zeros you like.
Where you’d expect to see that familiar exposed brickwork to your left or right, there are only jubilant faces and dry ice for as far as the eye can see; reach above expecting to touch that iconic ceiling, and you’re met only by thin air, and the faintest outline of a massive corrugated iron roof, up in the firmament.
This is Optimo writ large, at the Galvanizer’s Yard: the warehouse space next to riverside institution SWG3 that’s thrown its doors open for the first time to host the twentieth birthday celebrations of Glasgow’s most vibrant, enduring club night.
There’s such a diversity of talent and musicianship on show across the nine-hour runtime that it’s hard to know where to begin.
I arrive to the sound of homegrown synth-pop Francophones, Happy Meals, who are lighting up the warehouse space with their delicious retro-futurist racket.
Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook look so comfortable and commanding behind their array of machines, and the crowd are so primed already, that I have to double-check it’s 4pm, not 4am.
Inside the SWG3 space itself, legendary avant-garde outfit Nurse With Wound take to the TV Room.
It’s a definite change of pace: I notice their caustic, morbid sonics cut through a couple of premature highs amongst the crowd.
But for those who know what to expect, this is a real treat, complete with a dystopian scratch solo that sounds like two broken robots swapping war stories on their deathbeds.
I catch some of ADULT. later, whose focused electro-punk assault will appeal to anyone who was right into Crystal Castles back in the day.
“More fog for the ugliest part of our set,” singer Nicola Kuperus insists, before an ear-splitting blast beat introduces ADULT.’s next number; it’s like crust punk churned out by an A.I.
For the grand finale, Optimo and The Black Madonna go B2B in the main room, finally pushing things into the next dimension.
It’s a totally unapologetic end to the affair, ripe with absolute bangers: Moroder’s ‘Utopia (Me Giorgio)’, Hercules & Love Affair’s ‘Blind’, ‘Tribulations’ by LCD Soundsystem, and even ‘Hung Up’ by Madonna.
All the while, the enormous, rectangular sign above the main room – emblazoned with the phrase, ‘I WANNA SEE ALL MY FRIENDS AT ONCE’ – slowly starts to descend, like some pill of Damocles.
I and others around me start to coax it down towards us, on top of us, like the Dove from Above: to be crushed to death beneath such a beautiful sentiment, we seem to wordlessly decide, wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Optimo 20 was an utterly fantastic night, where old or young, audiophile or ignoramus, scenester or debutante – all were welcomed, and all came away with a smile.
Here’s to Optimo, and to Glasgow.
Words: Graham Neil Gillespie