With so much expectation for the first big party of the season Sankeys didn’t disappoint. Arriving just before Second City was due on, the steady roll of heavy dub house from opening DJ Manu Gonzalez had the full basement room locked in the groove. It was unfortunate that there was a temporary technical issue with the Void sound system but after about 30 mins it was sorted and the bass now didn’t fade in and out and the frequency balance was resolved – that is some system in there!
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Second City’s set. It’s very easy to judge producers on what they make to what they DJ. I was expecting a set of ‘deep house’ from the commercial end of the spectrum, but was severely punished for my prejudgement with a set of heavy, rolling bass lines more akin to something like the legendary Wiggle back home. He dropped stripped out versions of his hits, just using echoed samples of the vocals before dropping back in to the hypnotic basslines, much to the fist pumper’s appreciation. It was cool for an oldie like me to hear some depth in his set too, with tracks like Mike Dunn’s ‘God Made Me Funky’ and MK’s dub remix of Chez Damier’s ‘Can You Feel It’ from a time before most of the crowd were born.
Tube and Berger then came on and did one of my pet hates – cut the music then played something on a slower, deeper vibe and you could sense a mood drop. A proper DJ will steadily move you to a new groove over a few tracks. This was bad DJing on their part for me. People took this opportunity to check Argy playing in the Lab, but with Sankey’s rapidly filling the room was soon full again as the energy level returned to Second City proportions. The room did need a slight change of sound as the persistent pattern of bassline-drop-bassline-drop from Second City was starting to lose its impact. It just could have been done a little more subtly.
Over in The Lab Ida Endberg took over from Argy and was now playing to a busier crowd. Her set started with a period of dubby, tripped out, machine techno that went on a little too long for me. There was an air of the crowd wanting much more but eventually she delivered, before handing over to hubby Adam Beyer. The Void system in the Basement impressed, but the Pioneer Pro system in the Lab is seriously hoofing and crystal clear. It was a perfect match to Adam’s relentless techie end of tech house. The peak of his set for me was about half an hour before the end with a reworking of Future Sound of London’s “Papua New Guinea”. As the lights came on to signal the end of the night, there was a feeling of a lack of a finale to Adam’s set – it was more a fizzle out than a crescendo. That sounds a little too harsh because for the vast majority of the night it had been on point. I did feel a little sorry for Noir in the Basement though, as that room started to empty early in to his set yet he played the best range of house music in there for me. If only he’d been on before Tube and Berger!
As I said at the start, overall Sankeys delivered a great night to kick the season off and I was sorely tempted to go for part 2. The 50 or so party goers I went with all had a great night – the least ‘affected’ returned for part2.
Photo credits to Justin Gardner http://www.justingardner.co.uk