Butter Side Up
Binh & Francesco Del Garda
Friday 11th February
Words by Alex Theodossiadis
For a line up as niche as the one Butter Side Up curated for their February party, the amount of excitement around Leeds for the event was as refreshing at it was exciting. Binh and Francesco Del Garda are both DJs who have been quietly grafting away across Europe, building up their reputation almost exclusively through their craft, rather than an active social media presence. Whispers of their skills behind the decks have slowly crept across the continent to the UK where their style is still extremely under-appreciated. But, thanks to the enduring popularity of events such as Art of Dark in London and venues such as The Pickle Factory, their deep digging style of obscure minimal, bleepy 90's techno and twisted electro has finally made itself at home in the UK.
Getting to the club early doors for resident Ciaran Hansen's set, news that the party was sold out came as a pleasant surprise, and the club was filling steadily by 11:30 as Hansen moved through the gears with a measured selection of dub techno and floaty ambient cuts. Wire had recently installed new drivers in their amp rack, and the combination of new drivers and a DJR400 meant the soundsystem was much crisper than usual, with the mid range in particular cutting through the room and filling the empty space. By 12:30 the club was near capacity and Ciaran had moved into much tougher territory in readiness for Binh, with selections such as a Mark Broom cut under his El Mal alias, and deeper cuts on Melliflow. Binh came out of the blocks fast and firing on all cylinders, quickly upping the tempo to around 130bpm with weird and fast techno which was always morphing and evolving throughout each track. The beauty of selectors like Del Garda and Binh is that they dig so deep that you can go a whole 8 hours without hearing a track that you recognise; to give you an idea, from the whole of Binh and Del Garda's set myself and others have managed to track down only 2 records; one by Herwig Maurer and the other by Ibrahim Alfa.
Whilst Binh was pumping and hard, Del Garda smoothed proceedings out a bit. Feeling the club start to become a bit more loose and spacious, he took things in a housier direction, mixing odd-ball garage numbers with silly bleeps and bloops into equally as ludicrous electro tracks which seemed to sonically eat themselves. His ear to ear grinning got the crowd cheering every kick drum he teased in – as did his showmanship as he chopped and played with the faders to make for a great spectacle on the newly elevated booth in Wire. His flow and energy was unparalleled, and it was no surprise that well over 100 people were still present when I left at 6am with rapturous cheers continuing to ringing out as I made my way up the stairs.
Words by Alex Theodossiadis