mono_cult with Nina Kraviz, Boddika, Bicep & More
Saturday 30th November
Canal Mills, Leeds
This time Leeds welcomed seductive Siberian DJ, Nina Kraviz, who headlined Mono Cult’s final party of 2013 at Canal Mills with support from the likes of Boddika, Bicep, Trevino and more. Since releasing her first 12 inch on Greg Wilson’s B77 label back in 2007, she’s gathered quite a following in recent years and has become an essential member of the Rekids family, releasing a string of EPs and a very personal debut album on the long running label. A singer, producer and more prominently a DJ, Nina’s far from lacking natural talent and has been described, in marketing terms, as the ‘complete package’. It was therefore expected that a lot of hype would build surrounding this event and Mono_cult didn’t disappoint as they yet again put on another great show.
Despite a Leeds double booking the same night which saw Scuba top the bill of an impressive line-up at The Warehouse which also featured George Fitzgerald, Paul Woolford and Dense & Pika, there was still a decent turn out. The night began with DJ duo, Bicep, kicking things off in the main room. By this early point of the night the crowd was still a little sparse, but the Belfast pair kept energy levels high with a collection of chunky house and techno tracks. Bicep are known for creating music which exhibits a clear awareness and respect for the rich history of house, and this was clearly the case in their opening set as they coupled this knowledge with an application of tracks which paid homage to the Detroit techno scene. One of Bristol’s brightest up and coming producers, Kowton, was also helping to kick things off in room 2. Although now predominately producing and playing techno, you could still pick up on the dark, spacey, moodiness that characterises his dubstep background.
After weaving in between Bicep and Kowton for the first few hours, it was then time for Boddika to take to the stage. By this time the crowd began to fill out the warehouse-like main room and the atmosphere started to build. Boddika started where Bicep left off with a deep tech heavy set sprinkled with the likes of a spacey remix of Joy Orbison’s Sick Cell and even a slightly surprising airing for Hot Since 82’s Bigger Than Prince which provoked a great reaction.
After Boddika got everyone in the main room pumped, it was then time for the headline act Nina Kraviz to take to the decks. Room 2 had now closed, so a mass exodus into the main room resulted in a bustling atmosphere for Nina's closing set of the night. The main room in Canal Mills is quite a large, open space, and intimacy between the DJ and crowd can sometimes become lost in such warehouse-like rooms. However Nina did a great job to not only hold onto, but build on the electric atmosphere which Bicep and Boddika had both helped to create. I expected this could be the case because as a DJ Nina is very energetic and emotional. She plays whatever she has in her bag concentrating more on the atmosphere than on knobs and faders. There was a hypnotic and sensuous quality to all the music she was playing and it was clear that she’s stemmed from a love and appreciation of Chicago house and Detroit Techno. For her closing set she delved deep into the archives of house and techno balancing all of her tracks perfectly between now and then which produced a unique and uncompromising mix of sounds.
Review by Chris Simpson
Images courtesy of Tom O'Neill and Callum Keogan