System & Set One Twenty
Carl Craig & Nicolas Lutz
Saturday 5th December
System have been putting nights on in Leeds for over 6 years now. Their tight partnership with Mint have brought the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Jeff Mills, Axel Boman and Redshape to Leeds to play one of the few intimate venues left after the untimely closure of The Garage in 2013.
After Louche moved to London in 2013, System started teaming up with SetOneTwenty, who over the past 4 years has managed to make its mark in Leeds night life. System and SetOneTwenty have brought some heavyweights from the world of Techno, House and everything in-between to Leeds. With Seth Troxler, Leon Vynehall, Loco Dice, Mr G. and Joy Orbison to name a few.
For the last party of the year System & SetOneTwenty went back to focusing on two headline acts, two three hour sets from Nicolas Lutz and the legendary Carl Craig.
Upon arriving Nicolas Lutz was already half way through the first hour of his set. Lutz who has over 20 years’ experience under his belt certainly showed off his knowledge of dance music and the crowd were treated to some fantastic tech-house. As the hours passed his set got darker and deeper. This being said, I grew impatient towards the end of Lutz set. While Lutz certainly knew his stuff, the energy never quite reached its potential. Warming up for an innovator in house and techno was never going to be easy, especially for such a long time. It seemed strange to have the more prominent headliner start so late in the night.
After a short delay in change-over, the legendary ‘Disco ceiling’ lit up to welcome him into the booth. Craig wasted no time bringing the crowd deep into the realms of techno. Craig picked up the pace from the beginning. He wasted no time creating any atmosphere starting off with tunes such as Octave One’s 90s classic Black Water followed shortly after by the Floorplan’s Never Grow Old (Re-Plant), which one may consider the tune of 2014. Almost immediately there was almost sense of relief. Craig maintained energy through his three hours providing a bouncier set than Lutz. Craig had this sense of freedom that allowed him to play a set that was altogether more fun and that gelled as each track flowed nicely into one another.
He effortlessly showed why he’s arguably one of the best DJs on the circuit, and as he worked his way past the half way point of his, he had everyone’s attention. His tune selection was full of crowd pleasers, even when he ventured into unknown territory it never seemed to lose momentum. Towards the end we were treated to some of Carl Craig’s remixes and reworks of some of the biggest tunes of the past few years. Two standout bangers were Tom Trago’s Use Me Again (and Again) and Caribou’s Your Love Will Set Us Free. While it was certainly great to dig deeper into the minds of two DJs from opposite sides of the world, perhaps more of a focus on Carl Craig would have made this an even bigger end to 2015 for both System and SetOneTwenty.
Words by Stephen Daniels
Photos courtesy of Ben Hale