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In Review: 2016

In Review: 2016

Published on: Monday 19th December 2016


The tale of 2016 is sure to live long in the memory, but rather than focussing on the prevalent divisions that have crept into the limelight, our team of writers have been immersing themselves in dance floors and festival fields across the country; experiencing and documenting the movements of those drawn together under the banner of music.

2016 was a year not without it’s fair share of events, and the same goes for the schedules of the clubs, venues and festivals our writers have been in attendance at over the past 12 months. So, to see out 2016, we have retraced their steps back through the year and compiled the best of the action. Enjoy. 

Levelz
Thursday 11th February
The HiFi Club, Leeds

“It was a year ago, catching Novelist's set at Parklife that I said grime is the UK's new punk revolution. A genre despised by the establishment, demonized by the media, though so full of expression, equal parts anger and ecstasy. Witnessing the sheer magic in the air on nights like this, I can't help but believe this is exactly what we need.”
Sean Toohey 

Butter Side Up – Ostgut Ton Showcase
Friday 5th February
Wire, Leeds

“It is here that Höppner and Tama Sumo demonstrated most clearly their common ground, and with it concisely symbolised the Ostgut Ton philosophy. Both adopting unassuming mixing styles, the focus was not on impact so much as transfixion; not representative of the self-declaring rock star DJ generation, the two offer a reframing of clubbing culture, with the focus placed not on the understated motion of hands on decks, but on the speakers and receivers.”
Andrew Kemp

Butter Side Up In Review Ostgut Ton 2016(Nick Höppner - Photo: Justin Gardner)

Dead Prez
Thursday 18th March
XOYO, London

“Dead Prez exploded with consciousness, Stic.Man and M-1 ripped into American Politics before steaming into Police State. Rebellion stirred within the audience. Dirty White Girl hit the crowd with a medley of heavy bass lines and groove, perfectly capturing Dead Prez’s tenacious campaign against drugs. The duo then proceeded to announce their development of ‘fit hop’ as being the tenth element of hip hop.”
Rosie Quigley


Idris Elba (DJ Set)

Thursday 24th March
Egg, London

“Although slightly disappointed he didn’t open with the Luther theme tune, Elba quickly shook any associations off, powering through some high octane dance classics. Quickly establishing credibility behind the decks, his command of the room was almost immediate, with the dancefloor feeding off his selections.”
Conor Fuller

Idris Elba DJ Set Egg London(Idris Elba at Egg London - Photo: Ryan Dinham)

Live At Leeds
Saturday 30th June
Multiple venues, Leeds

“Having been riding high with Galaxians moments before, Dancing Years were to provide the grounding antidote and bring everything gently back down to earth. A sombre and soulful performance, only intensified by the delicate touch of the band’s violinist, coupled with with heartfelt lyrics and aching vocal delivery. With the metropolitan festival at an end for another year, it was fitting that the conclusion should be met with a dose of melancholy.”
Elliot Ryder

Field Day
11th-12th June
Victoria Park, London

“PJ Harvey closes with a typically theatrical performance which sees her perform tracks from new album The Hope Six Demolition Project against a dystopian backdrop with a nine-piece brass band. It’s a wonderfully weird and engaging show, although PJ Harvey is perhaps a divisive headliner, she writhes and struts over the stage like a deranged post-apocalyptic swan, proving why her music is still some of the most boundary-pushing among British musicians.”
Katie Gatens

The Big Disco Leeds 2016(The Big Disco - Photo: Elouisa Georgiou)

The Big Disco
Friday 1st July
Duke Studios Sheaf Street, Leeds

“The disco ball, in spite of rain and gusts of wind, span into the evening, as parties and after parties across the city ensued. The one hope that I had leaving the event was that the ball would continue to spin in people’s minds; that the joy that dancing, creative expression and music brought to the crowd on this stunning day in South Leeds will repeat itself forever, from generation to generation.”
Oliver Walkden

Tramlines
23rd-24th July
Multiple venues, Sheffield

“Tramlines allowed for one of the purest forms of discovering music, sharing it with others for the first time. It not only caters for people to see who they already know but gives them an opportunity, a challenge, to try something entirely new.”
Steven Daniels

Underworld at Bluedot 2016(Underworld at Bluedot Festival - Photo: Bluedot)

Bluedot Festival
22nd-24th July
Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire

“As the euphoric piano stabs of “Born Slippy” emerged to close the set, so did the cameras. But this was not a moment for modern day live music cynicism - capturing through the phone rather than immersing within the experience. Such arguments become less tangible when the opportunity to capture a crystal clear memory of such a unifying moment through music presents itself. With the unmistakable hook of “Larger Larger” ringing clear, the first glimpses of Brian Eno’s art installation beamed onto the Lovell Telescope, leaving Jodrell Bank a picture of euphoria.”
Elliot Ryder

The Warehouse Project x Sketpa
Saturday 1st October
Store Street, Manchester

“The MC’s avoidance of closing what must be starting to feel like a Groundhog Day setlist with ‘Shutdown’ seemed to signal that while Skepta is still mostly playing the same tracks he did a year ago, Konnichiwa now as a fully-formed and critically acclaimed piece of work is giving him more freedom as a live performer. And that, it seems, is making usually serious-faced Skepta smile rather a lot, like he did last Saturday at WHP.”
Kamila Rymajdo

Skepta at Warehouse Project 2016(Sketpa at the helm of WHP - Photo: Jody Hartley)

Back To Basics – The Resurrection
Friday 7th October
Church, Leeds

“While Basics may have stuck around for the last 25 years, it is undeniable that club culture in the UK is plummeting. The ethos of partying has very much altered since 1991, when Beer and co-founder Alistair Cooke first occupied the top floor of gay club The Music Factory. With the decline of venues that are culturally uplifting, it is hopeful to see a place like Church rise out of the ashes.”
Marigold Warner

ENRG 02. The Black Madonna
Friday 21st October
Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool

“The booth was set high above the crowd, who were transfixed upon a breath-taking lighting rig that was in full flow behind the DJs. Throughout the club, there was an array impressive lighting installations; one featuring mid-crowd, which appeared to rain lights over the dance floor, and one UFO style rig above the bar. A lot of clubs have been praised for their lighting, and sometimes mislead as a distraction, but this layout has been executed perfectly and adds to the atmosphere.”
Sophie Roberts

ENRG 02 with The Black Madonna(ENRG 02 - Photo: ENRG)

St Germain (live)
Wednesday 9th November
Albert Hall, Manchester

“Partially improvised sequences like the prelude of opener “Real Blues” would give way suddenly to fully cohesive grooves, the artists suddenly locking in like they’d never strayed, and with such impressive ability being matched by such unmistakable passion, there was never a question of the message being obscured in the high arches of the Albert Hall. A packed floor and a busy stage moved as one, the connection between the music and its audience palpable.”
Andrew Kemp

Autechre (live)
Saturday 26th November
Old Granada Studios, Manchester

“This was two guys creating something completely avant-garde and improvised, and they too were experiencing and connecting in the same way as the listener. This became evident as the Warp legends moved away from the conceptual compositions, instead creating atmospheres much like their more ambient works found on albums such as Amber. As the beats faded, rich pads engulfed the crowd into a sensation to pure serenity of indescribable heights. And then it was over.”
Ross Scarth 

St Germain Live in Manchester 2016(St Germain live in Manchester - Photo: Jack Kirwin)

Talib Kweli
Friday 2nd December
The HiFi Club, Leeds

“It’s amazing to think that hip-hop, almost thirty years after its advent, still faces struggles with its attached stigma of moral panic and social deviance, when for a couple of hours in Leeds’ underground, all that attended Kweli’s gig left with a sense of admiration and inspiration, in the same way I imagine millions and millions of young Americans first did before picking up a pen themselves.”
Luke Bird

In:Motion / Crack Magazine
Saturday 10th December
Motion, Bristol

“Two hours passed, and before I knew it Rodhad taken over the controls, filling the room with pounding techno from thereon out. In his typical fashion the Berlin powerhouse offered little relent from then until close, with his satisfying monotony hitting the spot for all present.”
Adrian Taylor

Crack Mag and InMotion 2016(Crack were handed the reigns to In:Motion - Photo: Entirety Labs)

Words by Elliot Ryder
Main photo courtesy of Gobinder Jhitta
 

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