11 Jan 2013

Bloggy bloggy bloggy, oi oi oi

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New year, new blog! Not that there was an old blog but still..

We were after writing a Hold blog back at the start three years ago- something to log, write about and big up not Hold It Down itself but the variety and quality of nights, bashes and general shindigs that we get to around the UK. Obviously we’re mostly in Manchester but we get over to Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and London on a regular basis so there are always plenty of parties to write about, not to mention our general thoughts and ramblings on music, life and the state of the whole dance music scene in which we nestle in our tiny Mancunian corner.

This seems a deliciously apt time to contribute our first venture into the blogosphere, not because of a silly resolution or the fact that we’re entering our fourth year of Holding It Down but because I’m still trying to get over how mind-bendingly magnificent the party month of December turned out to be! Turkey, giftwrap and time with the family aside I managed to squeeze in three wicked Warehouse Projects, our monthly installment of Hold at Red Rum, an ever-excellent End Of Year Riot and a trip to the other side of the Pennines to catch Moodymann on one of his rare appearances in the north at Distrikt in Leeds.

It was great to finally be seduced by the Warehouse Project again, six years after zealously hitting the Boddingtons Brewery a huge fourteen times during the original run. The WHP has really put Manchester back on the clubbing map in a large way and credit to them for creating a ‘destination’ event that people flock to from all over the country and beyond. I’d not been too much in the last few years because I always found Store Street hot and cramped but the cavernous Room 1 at the new spot always seemed to have commodious pockets of space for the huge ‘reach for the lasers’ moments that Orbital and The Chemical Brothers have been dealing in for decades. Room 2 is an amazing contrast, all gritty darkness, low ceilings, smoky strobes and claustrophobic pillars and pipework- plus the elongated corridor effect means that it can be a long journey back to the bar to pick up yet another rum punch!  I’d already jigged around quite happily to to Harvey’s hard disco attack and a lush set of deep discolated house flavours from James Murphy in there this season before Laurent Garnier ripped it apart with his ’25 years of Laurent Garnier’ set the night after the December Hold..

As a double header that weekend was about as good as it gets, we finished off our little triplet of Red Rum parties with a packed club and a great show from Set2, then the afterparty ran and ran and ran before a squadron of hardy survivors bowled over to Trafford Park to see one of the true legends bang out a masterful set.  The overall narrative was distinctly proggy with techno overtones but Garnier expertly kept the set fresh, sending the floor twisting and turning down housier roads and disco avenues with brief soujourns into unexpected speed garage and broken beat cul-de-sacs without ever losing the tempo, the energy and the rhythm. His set was testament to a great quote I saw attributed to him years and years ago.. *cue French accent* “I don’t understand DJs who don’t dance- what I play is shaky shaky, wiggle your bottie”

To round December off Electric Chair’s dependably superb End Of Year Riot was as good as ever with great sets from Content’s Lee and Rashid, Crazy P and Chez Damier. Just the tonic after a gluttonous Christmas, it was so hot in there I reckon I was sweating out turkey..

And so we crack on into 2013. There are some terrific looking nights on the immediate Manchester horizon with Ben UFO, Vince Watson and Ian Pooley making tasty looking appearances at Meandyou, Process and Mute in the next few weeks. Big tings are afoot for us at Hold It Down too, some of which shall be revealed imminently. In the meantime we’ve enjoyed our Red Rum adventures so much that we’re going to do another couple of parties down there and we’ll also be popping up with a monthly Liverpool residency at Camp & Furnace. Plenty to be going along with but with Inland Knights’ performance at our city centre Stomping Ground collaboration still fresh in the memory it might just be a perfect time to start planning another Hold It Down city centre jaunt…

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