In the wake of an outrageously good acid party, courtesy of incendiary promoters I Love Acid, The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight emerges, smothered in 303, and reflects on what was an exceptional event.
Before I start this review, I feel that I must reiterate a point made by many before me. The ‘acid sound’ – that quintessential sonic squiggle that is prevalent in so many a production – has to be one of the most infectious sounds around. It is impossible to avoid any sort of movement when you hear that indubitable oscillating bass, whether that movement be a barely noticeable finger tap on a crowded train or throwing full-on power moves in front of a hefty Void soundsystem.
London-based club-night, I Love Acid have, for eleven years now, been pushing the iconic 303 sound in their home city and beyond. To say they have become an authority on this particular style of music would be a woeful discredit to their brand. Not only have they been putting on parties since 2007, but founder Posthuman has been running the I Love Acid imprint, in conjunction with the club-night, since 2014.
avril April 14th saw the brand heading up north to Manchester’s Hidden warehouse club. The venue, based in the Downtex Mill building, just a stone’s throw from the Northern Quarter, was perfect for the latest edition of their legendary party. We drove over to our neighbouring city, acid blaring out of the car speakers as we reminisced on some of our latest outings, hoping this one would be just as good. Safe to say, we were not disappointed.
The precursor to the event proper – a four-hour warm up at nearby Eastern Bloc – was in full swing when we arrived. Kerrie was laying out some intensely jacking house sounds that set the stalls for the rest of the evening. Manning the decks for a two-hour lesson in how to raise a roof, her chunky set made obvious her proficiency behind the wheels. Currently working on her live hardware set, we look forward to what Kerrie has to offer in the future.
With a quick pitstop for some frankly delicious pizza (shout-out to you, Slice Pizza and Bread Bar) we were back inside the Stevenson Square venue to watch organiser and resident DJ, Posthuman, raise the temperature, giving us a glimpse of a certain acid-house legend’s forthcoming release, due out around the end of Summer. No spoilers here! Let it be said, though, that this guy is at the helm of a seminal label. Anyway, it proper got us going.
As we knew we would be seeing Jozef K later that evening, we took in the beginning of his set before finishing our drinks and making our way over to Hidden. However, we knew we were in for a good stomp courtesy of the recent Last Night on Earth signing further on into our electronic excursion.
Hidden is, as one might expect from a disused mill, somewhat of a discombobulating rabbit warren for the unfamiliar, which is part of its charm. Hey, if a venue is going to make me feel like I’m the clubbing equivalent of Alice in Wonderland while I hunt down the thud of a kick drum, then who am I to argue? Both rooms are well built for this kind of warehouse rave and are complete with a hefty Void Soundsystem, so you know the sound quality is going to be par excellence.
The rabbit hole led us down into the basement, where Rob Hall was schoolin’ with some delectable breakbeat-infused acid and rave tracks. I have loved Rob‘s sound since I first saw him play at a Warp Records night in Liverpool, about 12 years ago (again, taken along by my electronic music mentor at the time, Amo). From there I followed him avidly, for 12 months, as he released a monthly mix series; one that I return to very often to this day (Where a Quarter Becomes a Third, the fourth in the series, remaining a firm staple on my mix list ever since). Needless to say, Hall gave me all I could have asked of him, and more. A killer set.
Having been bobbing up and down the stairwell for quick glimpses upstairs, we headed to the main room to catch the last 45 minutes of Jon Dasilva‘s set. A workout ensued, the soundtrack to which was some 303-heavy house and disco, straight from Chicago and New York. The Hacienda DJ has seen releases on many a well-respected label, including Slam‘s Soma Records and Mute, testament to his ear for the perfect blend of sounds.
Jozef K was next to take the reins in the Main Room. As well as his uncanny ability to avoid being in any of the photos I took of him, turning his head away every time I thought I’d seen an opportunity, K impressed with his track selection. The Sankey’s/Tribal Sessions mainstay tore a strip off the crowd with an exemplary set (did we get to hear his forthcoming release on I Love Acid along the way, though…?).
From here, we headed back downstairs to see that Posthuman was absolutely belting it out in the basement, which was now nice and full, so the atmosphere was positively flexing, as our man behind the decks encouraged us to pull muscles we didn’t even know we had. Pinnacle moments in his set, for me; firstly Kevin Saunderson & Inner City‘s Good Life (I defy you not to love that track), manipulating it with software to add a certain unique quality to the tracks, dropping in loops on the fly; and, secondly, the closing track of Posthuman‘s set, his own production, Damocles Syndicate.
We kind of mixed the next couple of hours between Casio Royale‘s Mark Forshaw and Luca Lozano. The former was delivering a set of Andrew Weatherall magnitude, slowing the pace down a little to give us a low-slung, chugging acid house narrative in the basement, which I think we all needed so we could collect our thoughts and enjoy the music without breaking our own shins through overzealous heel slams.
Lozano, on the other hand, was doing the business up in the main room. Something that required a very welcome glass of cola before the sugar rush injected energy back into some waning legs. Classic euphoria was emptied out by the bucketload, with Luca airing Gat Decor‘s instrumental version of their progressive house classic, Passion (Do You Want it Right Now).
Head Front Panel‘s John Heckle closed the night with a thorough rinse-out. John is synonymous with the underground acid and techno sound; something that was evident from his set. Dropping P.O.T.U.S‘s Dat Trump, available now via Black Beacon Sound was a stroke of genius, and throwing Marcuss Mixx Tits, Ass & Pussy toward the end of the set caused a minor earthquake as we all jacked in unison to those unmistakably sepulchral tones of the track’s vocals. Needless to say, by the time the lights came back up, we were all stood in one of those soaking wet t-shirts that clearly states “I know how to rave properly”.
Sadly, despite our cries for more, an insistent doorman managed to prise John‘s iron grip from the fader and I made my way over to the hotel to rest my curiously sore big-toes. All that jumping in puddles of acid had left a slight burning sensation.
I really can’t fault I Love Acid‘s ethos. They really pulled the cat out of the bag with their latest event and I can say with my hand firmly on my heart, I’ll be back for some of that acid next time they head up north. Saying that, a trip to London to see them in their own habitat may well be on the cards.