Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Club review: Electric Chair: 27th October 2007:The Music Box:Manchester

The Unabombers announced in early Autumn that their club night would suffer a slow death and pass away in January 2008, instead of a quick fry in the executioner’s chair. The announcement of the clubs passing couple with the revealing of stellar line-ups for the remaining executions in 2007 has reinvigorated the night on its deathbed. The Final Execution, a goodbye scheduled for January 26th 2008 sold out late September 2007, despite the lack of guest spinner or promise of anything extra. This was a result of people wanting to say ’I was there’ post Chair, instead of them genuinely expecting it to be the best ever execution. The Unabombers normally rise to the occasion when flying solo, as previous January and June sessions have shown and Kelvin Brown can hold his own over the full six hours, so the night should be pretty special. However, anybody who’s experienced the Chair at its most electrifying, whether at The Roadhouse or The Music Box more recently, will have memories of a truly life-affirming night-time venture. It doesn’t really matter whether those memories were from the first, last party or one of many in between and the final October date showed there is some life left in the UB‘s basement.

Mainroom attraction Morgan Geist of Metro Area fame was stuck at Shannon Airport in Ireland due to a flight cancellation and one of the backroom Kabal operatives, Winston Hazel, a Chair favourite from the early days, had cancelled a few days before, as the shindig clashed with his son’s ninth birthday party. The loss of these record deck operatives didn’t dampen spirits too much, as Maurice Fulton stepped up in the mainroom, but the backroom fire created by the Kabal spinners eclipsed that of both Fulton and The Unabombers. As ever, on the main stage, Luke and Justin held the dance floor before and after Maurice’s accomplished display, with the duo providing musical highlights of the night courtesy of some trusty ’Chair Records’. Highs included Carl Craig’s hurtling refix of Theo Parrish’s “Falling Up” and Metro Area’s beautiful “Caught Up”, which was a fitting tribute to Geist‘s work. The room was nicely busy, the atmosphere was vibrant and the crowd featured new and old Chair devotees from all walks of life. The only slightly disconcerting thing was the appearance of a guy with a video camera, filming Luke and Justin for Ministry Of Sound’s visual arm, certainly a sign that times are changing for this duo, if anyone was still in any doubt.

Despite the fun of the main dancing space, it was out back in the shack where the sparks really flew. Loyal soldier Kelvin Brown provided his usual effortless warm-up that featured gems such as Fela Kuti’s mild but glorious “Mr. Follow Follow” and a hi-jinked warm-down that was heavy on the reggae and dubstep vibes. However, despite the musical might of his display and the frenzy he himself whipped up, the night really belonged to the Kabal DJs from Sheffield. The crew behind the Kabal provide magical parties in the Steel City, which run on an open-minded musical diet of rich ragga’n’dancehall, tough breakbeats and bassline driven House. More used to secret shindigs in restaurants, churches and other weird venues than proper nightclubs, the Sheffield posse still put on an exciting display. As well as bringing energetic music and a hot stepping mixing display, Kabal actually laid on two coaches from Sheffield and the crew brought some of their crowd with them. This shows the strength of the vibe at this soiree, when they’re able to command an audience willing to travel over the Pennines, just to dance to their selectors in the backroom of the Chair. Bringing the crowd over produced an atmosphere in the backroom rarely witnessed, with the excitement reaching fever pitch once the Kabal selectors started.

The star of the outfit is a young man by the name of Toddla T, a product of Sheffield’s open-minded music scene, who has been schooled by old hands such as his fellow Kabal spinners; Pipes, Peppa Seed and Winston Hazel. Toddla’s selection included bassline bangers such as Leeds based T2’s monstrous “Heartbroken” and his own “Pull Up Mi Portion” featuring Mr. Versatile, a tough digi-Ragga ode to Jamaican cuisine, whose airing provoked deafening whoops and screams that demanded a rewind. It is not often that the shack eclipses the mainroom, but on this occasion it certainly happened. A large crowd of Sheffield and non Sheffield people were crammed into the backroom, showing their appreciation of explosive music with their non-stop dancing, shouts, whistles and by punching the air. Both of The Unabombers hail from Yorkshire and know members of the Kabal group well. Therefore, it was fitting that on this occasion, in the dying days of their own clubbing institution, a crew from the UB’s side of the Pennines reminded them how truly inspirational an intimate club experience can be.


1 comment:

jess said...

that photo is totally lifted off my facebook...i want royalties yo!