Words by Ed Gordon
The ever popular ‘One night with…’ series that has been occurring in Leeds is certainly different from many of the club nights of today. Its simple selling point of having only the one DJ to guide you through the entire night being the unique attraction. A simple enough premise you may think, however clubs have always packed their lineups with several names in order to provide variation. This results in a pic-n-mix of styles and sounds crafted to fit together for the night, but not a true showcasing of a DJs ability in many cases due to the constraints of working with others. A single musical vision surely feels like a downgrade, right?
Not necessarily. Wire’s latest instalment appeared on Friday as a simple German man with rather long hair, checkered shirt, and an otherwise unassuming appearance. But don’t let this fool you; he certainly had the energy and vitality (aided by several mugs of what I can only assume was a nice herbal tea) to conduct the ensemble of decks in front of him, orchestrating the perfect theatrical performance. In this modern era of two hour sets where one is only expected to play at peak times, it takes a truly special skillset and experience that even fewer possess, to execute the perfect musical journey that can take one through the whole motions that comes from an entire 7 hour nightclubbing experience. It’s fair to say that Gerd Jansen was very much up for the challenge.
(Always time for a cuppa - Photo: Justin Gardner)
His wide range of repertoire from rather ambient house tunes to heavy tech banger tracks was met with wide appreciation from the crowd, who seemed to do nothing but writhe and turn with ever greater intensity for each track that he bestowed upon us. This train of music whist very suitable for Wire, was nonetheless given a fantastic mood boost as every once in a while, Jansen would remind us all of exactly why he was there as he throws in some disco just to bring everyone in the room up that little bit more. His ability to read us all as one and adjust the music accordingly was unprecedented. The crowd all recognised and particularly enjoyed “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”, a tribute inserted by Janson late into his set to pay homage to the recently deceased Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns. A touching and bold move which certainly paid off for the experienced German, as judged by the extreme positive reaction from all those who appreciated the classic dance track. The electric atmosphere was certainly contagious even towards the finale, where several of the Wire staff were spotted not being able to resist having a good time, and coming up for a dance before the odyssey had to end.
Overall it was certainly an interesting first visit to the ‘One Night With…’ series, which I eagerly look forward to later this month with both Sadar Bahar and Nightmares on Wax. I must confess I wasn’t sure what to expect when faced with the idea of the same sound for the entire night, but I’m very happy to say that my fears were very much misplaced. My faith in the DJ as a storyteller and passer on of music has been reaffirmed and it’s the positivity from listening to Jansen’s set which has brought this about. But don’t just take my word for it, treat yourself with a ticket for the next lineup and see for yourself.
Words by Ed Gordon
Photos courtesy of Justin Gardner