AS we left the dock at Poole Quay on the hottest day of the year – a scorching 30 degrees – a full boat set sail and the crowd was full of blissful anticipation.

Shake couldn’t have picked a better night to host a boat party in our spectacularly scenic town. As we left the Sandbanks Peninsula, you would never imagine we were still in the UK. The setting was so perfect it was more akin to a sailing in the French Riviera, with speedboats, tall ships and luxury super yachts passing us by, uniquely set against the backdrop of a sublime underground house soundtrack specially curated by Shake.

It was a beautiful balmy evening as the sun kissed the shoreline of the surrounding islands and beaches and we headed out of the bay towards Old Harry Rocks. The sea was shimmering and perfectly calm.

The line up included DJs Russell Sanger, Dave Hornby and Stelios Vassiloudis and Bournemouth’s most passionate house revellers were out in full force; sun tanned and out for a good time. They were fun loving, playful and absent of pretention. Witty banter, laughter and spritely conversations echoed throughout the boat’s dance floor, lounge bar and top deck for the whole three hours of the boat party.

Refreshingly, there was no barrage of mobile phones capturing every moment, harassing the DJ and squeezing the life out of the atmosphere. Instead, a sea of friendly faces showed their appreciation continuously throughout the night.

Underground House Music

Shake’s front man is DJ Dave Hornby. He started Shake nine years ago at the beloved Winchester under Mark Berry’s stewardship. Sadly The Winch as it was affectionately known locally, closed its doors last year but during its reign, Shake hosted some of the most well respected techno and progressive house DJs including Heidi, Craig Richards, Allan Fitzpatrick, Nick Warren, Timo Maas and Ivan Snagghe.

Hornby’s ambition has always been to create an eclectic mix of techno and progressive house sounds for an alternative dance scene; a night that’s original by comparison to what many of Bournemouth’s mainstream clubs offer week in, week out. Something Hornby feels very passionately about. “It saddens me to say that Bournemouth’s club scene is not what it used to be. It’s unashamedly commercial. It has lost its soul.

“We are all about the music and a fresh perspective, with no frills and no false glamour. We focus on Shake as a brand, which is built on the music and a real crowd. We work hard to make this happen and gel the two together and hopefully people really enjoy what we do.” He said.

It was quite a treat for Stelios Vassiloudis to be playing in Bournemouth and I think this is testament to Dave Hornby’s meticulous pursuit of providing Bournemouth with an innovative line up. But there is no self-indulgence here. Dave is a very down to earth kind of guy with a love of music. It’s a simple formula but one that so many club promoters in our town fail to embrace. Too often we see line-ups that are safe and mediocre; risk averse to experiment with DJs that have a style of their own and as Hornby has proven, has worked a treat with Bournemouth’s house music fanzine for nearly a decade.

The dance floor filled almost immediately. The crowd couldn’t get enough of the tough underground bleepy tech bass lines and hypnotic melodies. The music was rich, symphonic and understatedly funky. It was electronic storytelling at its most energetic and thoughtful, a rarity indeed.

Techno Wizardry

Stelios Vassiloudis is a techno DJ and producer of Greek origin. Over the last ten years he has played all over the world from Ibiza to Buenos Aires, London to Miami. Signed to some of the most influential underground techno and progressive house labels including Bedrock Records, Hush Hush Recordings, Poker Flat, Audiomatique and Moodmusic, he is a man of endless electronic talent. Boasting 17 releases, 57 producer credits and 24 remixes including the likes of collaborations with the astounding Funkagenda and the mighty Dave Seaman under his belt. He’s also featured repeatedly on John Digweed’s renowned Bedrock compilations.

Vassiloudis was intensely focused during his set and he filled the dance floor from start to finish with smiles all round. It was so good to experience an underground house party on the waves. And it just goes to show that there is an appetite for the discerning, where music is central to everything, not what you look like or how you dress.

Next time, it would be great for the boat to sail earlier and make a proper day of it as the three hour cruise went by in a flash. The night was so exciting; you didn’t want it to end. But thankfully there is more fun and frolics to come as Hornby concludes, “We’re celebrating our tenth birthday next year and we’re hoping to book a really big name, so watch this space as we’re planning to put on something really special.”

Shake represents a cracking night out to boogie your socks off with a close net community feel. It really is Bournemouth at it’s underground best. Bravo!