The Cocoon imprint has always had an eagerness to throw parties in what is widely considered the best city for underground music in Britain, Leeds. With a yearly event taking place at a local park named Temple Newsam, fittingly called Cocoon in the Park, the label is no stranger to the town. For a celebratory Boxing Day party, Mint Club opened its doors to throw a Cocoon Heroes night featuring Guti playing live, Ilario Alicante and PBR Streetgang.
PBR were already on the decks by the time we arrived, it was around midnight and was already going off inside. Personally they are a duo who take me by surprise every time I see them. Having seen them play on many different occasions for nights that warrant different styles such as Circoloco, Hot Creations and Mono_Cult, they come across as being very flexible to what they play, being able to adapt to whatever sound the crowd are feeling, which is a great ability to have. In this case, they were knocking out plenty of upbeat, pleasing tech house that had the dance floor full from early on. Whilst stood a little further back, hearing them bring in Tuccillo’s rework of Chante had me pushing my way to the front amidst with happiness to get well and truly moving!
At 1:30 it was the turn of Ilario Alicante. Having only heard a few of Ilario’s productions for Cocoon I was expecting a rather interesting collection of deeper, more melodic sounding techno. How wrong I was. The energy in his set was something that didn’t take me long to comprehend as he initiated into a slightly faster paced set of fist pumping, hands in the air techno. He wasn’t being shy about playing either with his hands in the air, interacting with the crowd, provoking them even more to get involved which is always great to see. The vibe became especially euphoric as Ilario played Marco Effe’s ‘Jellied Eels’, a track which features on Cocoon’s new Dots and Pearls compilation, and on Mint’s Funktion One sound system I have to say it sounded incredible! What happened towards the end of his set was what was most unpredictable. Cocoon is most strongly associated with the kind of music that I just mentioned: Great quality techno. What came out of the speakers next baffled me, but at the same time gave me a massive air of excitement. A well reconstructed remix of Double 99’s garage classic ‘RIP Groove’ echoed through the club which was followed shortly by Joy O’s ‘Ellipsis’. It provided something very different to end with and was mixed in really well, which had great results on the dance floor!
After bringing his set to a close, Ilario stepped aside to make way for Guti. This was also the first time I was seeing the Argentinean play, but I had heard plenty of good comments about his live sets which had me excited to see what he had for us. Compared to Ilario’s set it was a lot deeper, which would have probably suited an earlier position slightly better. However, I would not say that this disrupted the energy of the crowd whatsoever. Bongos, flutes, guitars and wonderful rolling sub bass were features in his live performance that gave it the edge to keep the crowd going until closing time. For me a great thing about seeing any live act, and especially with Guti in particular, is not knowing any of the tracks that are played. In this case he was unloading what was probably a massive library of unreleased content, which was received really well as every tune seemed to keep the punters very happy from front to back!
Truthfully, it was a very special night, and one I will remember for a long while! I will be excitingly awaiting the next time Cocoon comes to Leeds, although this event will take some beating.