From her view at the fore-front of the house resurgence a few years back, Birmingham's Hannah Wants must have seen the future for herds of doe eyed teens and twenty-somethings. Gazing over backwards snap-backs and neon faces, she must have seen it, because her ongoing domination of the UK house scene has proved too momentous and too unstoppable to have not been what Hannah planned, What Hannah Wants. With this present in my mind, I stepped around the corner to The Albert Hall and was blown away by the three-street-long, snaking column of bodies, attracted like moths to the lights within.
The first impressions of the venue are nothing short of breathtaking. An old-world gem hidden in the heart of the city that has been augmented, just enough, by the modern world. The archaic architecture gelled seamlessly with the gigantic, saw-toothed bass erupting from the incredible sound-system, the tones carving their way through stone and finding a channel through masses of weekend warriors. Stood atop the balcony, my church-like surroundings bled into the images of bass hungry revelers and my head jumped to that 90s remix of Chuck Roberts' My House; "let there be house", and house there was. From my vantage point, up in the rafters, the view was incredible. It's testament to both the artists and the organisers of Transmission, the only way to describe the heaving masses below was if you could imagine a Vegas circus show inside an Ibiza super club. Pin points of neon paint and flashing devil horns being visibly shaken by the volume and dynamic of each set, the show times were perfectly orchestrated with each act ramping the drops per minute threshold up, further and further. I swear at moments the whole hall resonated along to the crystal stabs and sharp, energetic beats.
Pleasantly Hannah Want's headline set didn’t materialise as an unimaginative selection of strictly 120bpm deep house drops, rather every act journeyed through elements of trance, UK garage and at times hip-hop beats. Allowing the energy radiating from the crowd to continue surging. Stood up in the balcony I couldn’t help but notice just how much energy there was from the floor, a sea of bass faces and raised arms. With the stage lights scanning across the room, highlighting, for brief moments, ecstatic revelers before glancing over stained glass windows. The scene kind of felt like the most positive riot the world had ever seen.
From the dancefloor, the event gained a whole new dimension of intensity. The sound-system, whilst loud enough to allow bass to physically manifest before you, presented the tunes with incredible clarity. Every element of every track held its own clearly defined space, which allowed the drops to hit so much harder. Frequencies embraced the crowd, the metallic high end passing by like surfacing from a mercury lake. It's not hard to see how the house scene is still growing strong, its not hard to see why Hannah is either.
Words by Sean Toohey
Images courtesy of JK Photography