As 2015 nears its end, it would only be right to take a little retrospective look back at some of the moments that made 2015. It has been a whirlwind year up and down the country with the likes of Hidden firmly establishing itself as one of the top clubs in Manchester as well as Leeds based night SubDub celebrating its 17th Birthday. Fellow Leeds brand Butter Side Up was another to reach a landmark birthday as it celebrated in style welcoming the one and only Hunee to play at Wire for 7 hours. The Warehouse Project was on top form once again with one of its best runs of lineups to date and Liverpool was treated to some of the finest selectors throughout the world thanks to the work of both Chibuku and Circus.
It really has been a great year for events, gigs and festivals, so as we indulge in some 2015 nostalgia, sit back and relax as we look at some of the big moments throughout the year through the eyes of our writers.
LWE & Egg present Mobilee
Rodriguez Jr, Ray Okpara, Lee Van Dowski & More
Saturday 24th January
Heading back to the Ground Floor Ray Okpara, taking over from Lee van Dowski, went straight in with the stalwart bassline that defined the room all night. Great atmosphere that was consistent across all five rooms, with a crowd equally up for a party. With the label coming into their tenth year, this is sure to be the beginning of many celebrations.
Chibuku 15th Birthday
Andy C, Joy Orbison, Four Tet, Ben UFO & More
Saturday 14th March
Camp & Furnace and Arts Club, Liverpool
The relationship between the two [Joy Orbison & George Fitzgerald] was pleasantly recognisable, sometimes when two predominant selectors go b2b there can be a contrast between styles that leave the overall set fragmented, never really flowing and draining the atmosphere that would be created if the two had perhaps played solo. This thankfully was not the case with these two though, being able to distinguish the UK bass styling’s of Joy O’s flavours which seamlessly transcended into the more traditional 4/4 crisp-ness of Fitzgerald really complimented the two heavy weights selections, ending the night perfectly with Floating Point's beautifully delicate Nuits Sonores.
Bonobo (DJ set)
Friday 24th April
Canal Mills, Leeds
The set began at 2am with Prelude into Kiara, with the explosive response from the crowd demonstrating that one of the best opening sequences to an album in recent years works just as effectively in a club setting. He continued to deliver many of his classics, with the downtempo Kong coming early on ranging through to the more hard-hitting Know You and last year’s Flashlight, and the expert mixing of Cirrus’s meditative thumb piano samples delivering one of the most exciting moments of the night.
Cocoon In The Park
Ricardo Vililobos, Carl Cox, Dixon & More
Saturday 11th July
Temple Newsham, Leeds
No matter where Ricardo is placed amongst a programme of music, he will fabricate a performance of the ilk that has gained him the respect he receives as one of the world’s best selectors. This means he will take an audience on a musical journey of mountainous peaks and cavernous troughs, which won’t (to the dismay of what seems like a lot of the crowd) have a ‘womp womp’. Hair raising moments whilst he played tracks such as Kenny Larkin’s rework of Inner City’s Future and several bouncy, bass heavy grooves followed after innate moments of minimalism.
Bombay Bicyle Club
Wednesday 15th July
Liverpool Guild of Students
The warm, honey-glow riff of Your Eyes is sweeping over a room filled with five hundred people. We’re dancing like mad things. Every pluck of the guitar string sends an appreciative woop from every audience members’ mouth. If we aren’t clapping we’re cheering, if we’re not cheering we’re dancing. The room is electric with sweat and everyone is your best friend. A 40-year-old scouse woman has made me her 'bestie' for the night and our arms are wrapped around each other’s necks as we bounce enthusiastically.
The Warehouse Project (10 Years of MIF & WHP)
Carl Craig, DJ Koze, Octave One, Paranoid London & More
Saturday 18th July
Strolling toward the venue with the sinking summer sun cutting holes through plumes of smoke from both open steel doors, and the small groups of all-day-revellers catching a quick cigarette break, this event already felt like a time-bubble of 90's rave culture, a simpler time. Entering the space, I was taken away by the great scale of the building. Smooth, towering concrete ceilings, supported in part by cascading steel plinths and in part by the mesmerising and slowly progressing structures of Paranoid London.
Moodymann, MCDE, Floating Points, Little Dragon & More
Fort Punta Christo, Croatia
Although the following night (Saturday) was littered with memorable sets, notably from the 22a Label Showcase in The Garden, it was out at sea that Saturday’s real highlight occurred as Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground went back-to-back for three hours of pure class. The Audio Asylum x Abandon Silence boat party saw the two DJs bring together a genious selection of rare groove, modern soul, disco, boogie, house and beyond, all the while battling the elements using record sleeves to protect the turntables from the wind.
The production crew in the Elrow arena must have worked through the night to transform the stage into their Rowshow 'Sambodromo Do Brasil' theme. The Brazilian Jungle decoration, complete with a snake, was born one Sunday morning in Barcelona. Having experienced Elrow in Barcelona and more recently the Rowshow in London, I was anticipating another carnival atmosphere.
One Night With… Midland
Friday 25th September
Kick drums rolled and spacey synth-lines - perfectly suited to the darkness of Wire’s cave-like basement dancefloor - bounded around the room as it gradually filled to max capacity. Midland rode the natural ebb and flow as only an experienced DJ can, hitting the peaks hard with a four-floor stormer the one time and a Todd Terje-esque disco edit the next, and never losing grasp of the groove even when taking it down a notch to allow the room to recover.
Saturday 24th October
The sound-sensitive LED screens pulse first with simple monochrome patterns, Jenkinson himself becoming a canvas for a separate projection and then 3D 90s screen-saver-like projections which both flow and jar with the stuttering rhythms. You get the sense you’re delving deeper into an electronic rabbit hole, a dark nightmarish future of hacksawed rhythms and disruptive electronic music.
The set finished with the critically acclaimed Elevator, which starts off as soft lounge jazz, working its way up 5 levels of tempo before breaking out into soulful drum and bass. Maintaining his signature smile, Swindle announced his fingers were bleeding, but that didn’t stop him from giving into the crowd’s demands for an encore.
Wednesday 18th November
O2 Ritz Manchester
The evening became much more of an intimate showing as the backing band departed, leaving Vile accompanied only by his acoustic guitar on stage. A stripped back rendition of Dead Alive followed, free from all of the fuzz and distortion of its recorded counterpart. The performance was one filled with emotion and sincerity as the lyrics “you tell me a good man is hard to find, well are you blind?” echoed around the venue’s structure.
Back To Basics 24th Birthday
Craig Richards, PBR Streetgang & More
Saturday 21st Nov
The Faversham, Leeds
A party in the truest sense of the word, being met with a whirlwind of balloons, fancy dress, French kissing and disco music upon arrival, it had all the birthday boxes ticked from the get-go. Early highlights included a special 'Jenna Jameson' based cherry sour cocktail, and a rather saucy Barbara Markay edit, with the only discernible vocal being “it's alright to f**k all night, it's okay to s**k all day”
Words by Elliot Ryder
Photos courtesy of Justin Gardner