Brotherhood’s first party of the new year had been a hotly anticipated affair, with Canadian selector Jayda G being joined by Rhythm Section’s Anu to extend their recent impressive run of bookings.
Jayda’s buzz has grown harder to ignore over the past couple years. A potent mixture of expertly curated online mixes, critically acclaimed reviews of her live sets and an all-important killer Dekmantel Boiler Room set have bought her talents into the wider consciousness. Her fellow guest Anu has also built a solid reputation of her own, with an effervescent combination of an impeccable record collection and idiosyncratic illustrations showcasing her talents.
Securing Jayda’s Leeds debut and Anu’s first club set in the city is illustrative of Brotherhood’s smart booking policies. With the burgeoning reputations of the two artists and the late January end of exams slot giving the event a significant gravitational pull, Wire was sold out weeks in advance of the event. Thankfully, they did not seem to oversell the club, and the night seemed significantly more spacious than some of the sold out events they have hosted in the past. Furthermore, the crowd seemed to be less male dominated than previous sold out events at Wire. This may be due to Brotherhood’s women-led booking policies making the club seem a more inclusive space, and the crowd felt less aggressive and pushy despite its business.
There’s a debate in club circles about the extent to which a DJ should also double up as a performer. Some argue that seeing the DJ enjoy themselves behind the decks transmits to the crowd. However, others point out that they are literally ‘at work’ and we shouldn’t have to expect them to enjoy it, making the equivalence that you wouldn’t appreciate somebody watching you at your desk feeling cheated if you didn’t smile. If the former group ever wanted a case study to back up their argument, Jayda should be their champion.
The visceral energy she displays when playing her records is staggeringly infectious. Every time she brought a new record in, the broad grin on her face demonstrated how much the song meant to her. Her mixing was unfussy, sometimes choosing to cut between records in ten or fifteen seconds, but the passion she showed for the (truly excellent) music she was playing was - in this reviewer’s eyes - better than meticulous stony faced mixing. The music she played was brilliant too, setting a party atmosphere with 90s sounding US house, where classics such as Alton Miller’s ‘Shine on Me’ provided big crowd moments that were thoroughly enjoyed on both sides of the decks.
After Jayda, Anu followed, and immediately shifted the tone into something a little heavier. Anu’s selection traversed a broad range of styles, rifling through genres as disparate as new-wave, electro, Night Slugs-esque grime / club hybrids and even j-pop being weaved together in an expert fashion. The wide range of styles could have easily sounded disjointed in a less talented DJs hands, but the fluidity of Anu’s mixing and her keen eye for a curveball demonstrated her formidable skills behind the decks.
More than the music, there was a wonderful moment at the beginning of Anu’s set. Anu was looking for her next record, Jayda was still dancing behind the decks, and residents Tami and Luce were sharing a joke together while controlling the lights. The contrast to the typical club image of a crew of men behind the decks was stark, and this, more than anything, exhibited the positive direction Leeds nightlife is moving in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Anu
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