Bigger Than Barry
Tuesday 28th May
Mint Club, Leeds
Bigger than Barry is probably the only Leeds party that can draw a decent crowd to a mid-week night after a ridiculously hectic bank holiday. Mint was nicely packed out for their end-of-year party, and that was in no small part due to their dastardly clever booking: the man, the myth, the legend, Scotsman Jackmaster. The BTB boys were well aware that Jackmaster is a pretty irresistible headliner, hangover or no hangover, and as expected he did them proud.
Grainger played a fairly safe but decent warm-up, casually getting the crowd to the optimum temperature for Jackmaster's set with some failsafe house cuts. But of course it was everyone's favourite party boy that really made the place sweat, opening with The Pointer Sisters' full-bodied anthem 'Dare Me'. Jackmaster is a favourite amongst clubbers because he doesn't bother holding back, but knows how to read a crowd. So when Talking Heads' 'This Is The Place' was, sadly, lost on some of the youngsters in attendance, he got them standing to attention again with a bit of Daft Punk and Pharrell (apparently people can't get enough of that one). But he never compromises too much, and there were some brilliant and stunningly eclectic choices, as always: a beautiful Barrington Levy remix, an outing for 'Blue Monday', garage, tech, house, disco, Drake... The man can genre-hop like no other, which is probably why he's so utterly fearless as he does it.
You know Jackmaster's on when twenty-year-old blondes in Air Max Ones are being forcibly thrown out of the DJ booth, because unlike some DJs he's also a consummate performer as well as an excellent selector, more than happy to turn on the charm and smile for the cameras. But it's hard to stay annoyed at his cheekiness for too long when he's such a boss behind the decks. His skill in throwing together disparate tracks like Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' and TNGHT's 'Higher Ground' is undeniably impressive, and he does it all with a brazen grin, head-nodding with the best of them. Epitomising the Numbers crew, he plays relentlessly high energy sets that nonetheless always feature the truest classics, old and new. The promoters would have known that they had nothing to worry about with this particular headliner, and Jackmaster didn't let them down. Unadulterated musical delight on a Tuesday evening? Yeah, go on then.
Review by Tabitha Thorlu-Bang
Images courtesy of Bigger Than Barry