This 350yearold London Landmark Just Hosted Its First Techno Night

This 350yearold London Landmark Just Hosted Its First Techno Night

London CNN-

St Paul's Cathedral, an iconic part of the London skyline for hundreds of years, concluded its evening choral service as usual at 6pm on Wednesday evening. And just an hour later, the Church of England cathedral, founded almost 350 years ago, was ready to celebrate its first techno evening.

The historic site has become the venue for many grand events. Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897, the funerals of Admiral Lord Nelson in 1806 and Winston Churchill in 1965, and the wedding of King Charles III and Diana in 1981. But this week saw a collaboration between the City of London Corporation and Fabric Nightclub, featuring Australian techno-rock artist Ry Cumming, known by his stage name. Ry X accompanied by the London Modern Orchestra.

"We wanted to bring people back to the city," Jorge Nieto, Fabric's creative director, said a few hours before the event. According to Nieto, the area around St. Paul's Cathedral has been somewhat lost due to the abundance of office buildings and corporate lunches. "It's about reconnecting the young public with the city and renewing the spaces."

The public response to this event was overwhelming. According to Fabrik, 95% of the church's 2,000 seats were sold within three hours through advance registration (the remaining tickets were sold within minutes of general release), leaving more than 4,000 people on the waiting list.

In the evening, a decidedly young crowd stood in awe as the sounds of electric guitars, drum machines and synthesizers filled the 17th century domes. In addition to external security, the event was presided over by the cathedral's permanent ushers, who normally oversee services such as the Eucharist, Mass and Holy Communion, dressed in their religious insignia. Unlike a typical techno concert, there was no bar. The stage, despite being a performance venue, seemed almost bland: rather, the blue, red and orange lights that reflected in the golden frescoes, or the intricate stained glass windows, caught your attention as the music played.

For Ry X, the 35-year-old Grammy-nominated artist and producer who flew from California specifically for the concert, the right venue can make or break a concert. And St. Paul's Cathedral, according to him, was simple. "There aren't many things you can give up everything for," he told CNN in an interview before the show. “When you have a space that already has wonder and beauty and grandeur, when people walk into it, it has already changed. Then half the work will be done."

Without a doubt, holding a techno-rock concert in a protected room entails certain difficulties. The cathedral's unique architecture and abundance of negative space proved especially difficult for Ray. "I don't think a synthesizer has ever been played in this building before," he said. "So I thought, 'How is this going to go? Will something shake?' overload the audio. "I'll play as if not." Another, in this room, said. "I almost compose music, especially suitable for St. Paul's Cathedral."

Since the cathedral was scheduled for an hour before the show, Rai and Nieto's teams only needed to perform a sound check the night before to get everything right. "We just thought we could do it," Nieto said. "We stayed here until two in the morning, turning the volume all the way down."

Maybe it was the stunning iconography of the cathedral or simply the power of the live music, but there was a certain passion in the air during the show. When Rai ordered the audience to get up from their seats during the finale, we did, screaming and shouting much louder than a normal crowd. The guests left their seats to approach the lectern, and some even climbed onto the chairs. "Who said you can't play techno in church?" Rai shouted to the crowd with thunderous applause.

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