With the highly saturated club scene in Leeds, for those going out every weekend it can become less common to see or hear about an event that really excites you. One particular brand however, who have always been among the elite at picking the best house and techno artists/DJ’s that we love - as well as at the same time, introducing us to a class of more hidden talent - is System. Starting out in a local pub in Halton Moor to now celebrating their 6th birthday, it has been a constantly blossoming string of parties and we knew this year’s celebration would be just as impressive.
Every year we are happy to know that the anniversary will be held at System’s long time home Mint Club. Whilst being the smaller venue when compared to its larger sibling Mint Warehouse, it has been the spotlight for the past 6 years of System parties, so naturally it is the favoured venue by the hosts and clubbers alike. Additionally, as a thank you to the partygoers from the past years they announced that they would be selling tickets at a bargain £8/£12, as well as putting on some special offers at the bar! Little extras that give something back are things we love to see!
The line up was one which had us salivating from the moment the first DJ was announced. Amongst the names were System favourite Martin Buttrich, Romanian wonder boy Rhadoo and Fuse frontman Enzo Siragusa, who were all to join us under the rainbow ceiling as well as System’s faithful residents Annie Errez and Bobby O’Donnell. Also on the bill was treasured local talent - and System’s newest resident - Jack Wickham, who the day before the event announced he would be opening the night back to back with Enter’s Bella Sarris… A very nice surprise indeed!
As Jack and Bella were due to start the opening at 10pm it was certainly an early start for us, but as we didn’t want to miss anyone, we excitedly made our way there. You’d think arriving at a club at that time would see you and your mates dancing on an empty dance floor with the odd group joining you every ten minutes - Not the case. When we arrived there was already a queue and when we all got in there was already a very pleasant atmosphere. Surrounded by smiley faces who were obviously as excited as we were, we got straight into it. The music was already chugging away, succeeding in getting us moving. The two DJ’s complimented each others styles greatly and as one track moved into another, the energy gradually picked up sending hands higher into the air. Snappy percussion and chunky beats gave it the edge which kept people interested while dreamy synths made sure it didn’t take things up too many notches.
When Bobby O’Donnell placed his first record on the turntable there were cheers for both of the duos finishing and commencing. He began with one of Annie Errez’s own tracks from the XOX Tools release on his own label Strobewax, which changed the tone to a techy driven spirit with its filled out drums and long pads. Playing two on two off, they showed off their ability to pick tracks which fit together like pieces of a jigsaw. One point saw a impressive transition where beats were snapped in and out to create a breakdown between the two tracks, whilst another record was left filtered to bring things down while Annie picked another to fire off out of the booth. Both the early sets that were played elevated the crowds spirit at a faultless pace and as Enzo arrived and began to get himself ready one final blinder flew out the Funktion One speakers which made me scrunch up my face and turn to whoever was next to me, to share one of those looks that simply said; “Oh yes!”.
Enzo Siragusa is no stranger to System having played at their birthday the previous year with Loco Dice, and in the same approach he was next to play from midnight. By now the club was reaching capacity and things were getting hot, but I stayed in the midst of the action to see how the Londoner compared to previous occasions. His ever recognisable stripped back style is still going strength to strength and it was apparent as the crowd seemed to receive the short bouncy subs and subtle melodies with plenty of awe. It’s hard not to like as the big beats gel together with the hi-hats and snares, forming a ball that just keeps on rolling.
Later on it was the turn of Martin Buttrich. Appearing a few times for System over the past 6 years his music is constantly causing chaos on all dance floors across the globe and his appearance was one which had caught the attention of many music heads around the city. On a personal note, the first time I stepped foot inside Mint Club just happens to be when Buttrich appeared on System’s 3rd birthday line up, so for me it added an element of nostalgia and like all the others I was itching to see him again. He started by mixing out of Enzo’s final track with a plain beat which he then built up with some lovely melodic pads, an element present in a lot of his own work. When the drop came and the first bass line cut through the noise of the CO2 cannon it quite simply went off, and continued to do so throughout every break, peak, rumble and roar that he produced. We had a trip to the smoking area around an hour in and when we confronted the crowd it did become noticeable that there wasn’t much room which meant it took a little longer to dry off, get some more water in and back into some space, but it wasn’t hard to get back into the rhythm.
Last on was Rhadoo, key member of the Romanian techno outfit a:rpia:r. As he came on mixing out of Buttrich’s live gear caused a noticeable problem however, this was easily forgiven as the following four or so hours were the best of the night. Throughout his performance the sub that constantly grumbled underneath all other layers of the music kept the ball rolling, every now and again being filtered out to allow for some kind of trippy synth melody to break through, build up and bring it back to that minimalistic yet massive rhythm. His ability to keep this energy constant for such a length of time is why he’s a favourite when it comes to marathon sets and day long after-hours. It was a great end to a stunning night of music.
And so we are brought into System’s sixth year with one hell of a party, their birthday remaining to be one of the highlights of every year in Leeds. Looking at the coming season, with line ups already announced featuring plenty of world class talent including Apollonia, Loco Dice, tINI and Guti it looks like it’s going to be another exciting and prosperous year for both their team and of course their punters!
Review by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of CG Photography