A Fluffer Pit Party is like sealing a pact with your sweat instead of swapping spit. Once your bag’s been security searched, your ticket’s been sharpied on your hand, and you’ve stepped through the threshold, there won’t be a return (well, until at least 2am). No backing out.
This Hackney Wick underground warehouse resembles more of a steam room. It’s only about 3pm in the day and it feels like we’re standing over a black smoky cauldron, cooking up something good to get the bands in the mood before they come on. Its murky depths seem like the perfect setting for the creative charges, about to electrify us all as we party on. East London label, Fluffer Records, aren’t mucking about with this vision; it all seems to be materialising like a summoned demon right before every attendee’s eyes as the best of psych, punk and garage aurally fuck our ears.
As the night progresses and the bands get more bloodthirsty, it’s clear that here, it doesn’t matter how much sweat drips from your overgrown locks. Fluffer Pit Parties cater for the fearless. This is unquestionable as each band’s set grows more chaotic and raucous. At these parties, you can expect crazed scenes throughout. Picture the frontman of The Parrots straddling an amp whilst swigging Jagermeister out the bottle like it’s juice, 360-degree death circles around the ferocious Heck, shoulder dwellers stupidly confident during the merciless Bo Ningen set. Only then can the high-pitched, ear-drum-bursting loudness of the Fluffer Pit Party be heard. Fluffer Records really triumphed when Black Lips kept the motor running for another hour or so. The stage invasion encapsulated all that Fluffer are about. In an age of shared experiences online at the click of a finger, it’s not so much about bringing the bands to the people anymore, but instead the vibrancy comes from bringing the music and the people together in a harmonious discourse. Gazing into the eyes of a panda-masked mosher next to me on stage, I realised that this is exactly where we all want to be.
The punk aesthetic of the secret venue only speaks to the fact that London’s scenes seem to have been gentrified beyond repair. Ticket prices rocket as lesser venues close, and it’s nights like these that remind us that some still have faith in London’s music scene. Fluffer Records are bringing back the underground mentality to the fans that thrive on it. These are the fans that will stick a straight-up middle finger to the cultural suffocation threatening to asphyxiate London’s respire.
Words: Alicia Carpenter