Your typical Saturday night offers up a galaxy of possibility in the music capital of the North of England. Yet it’s in Sankeys top floor venue that we find the fresh and reliable edge of modern electronic music. Manchester can outdo itself for music events, but 2010’s No. 1 Club in the World (DJ Magazine) has exclusivity as well as popularity. It’s in this penthouse apartment of the clubbing world that Life and Death record label owner DJ Tennis takes full advantage, setting the night in motion with some of the juiciest house around, occasionally and tantalisingly flavoured with a thrumming 80’s vibe. Clubbing in Spektrum is intimate, colourful and stimulating, in fact the overhead lighting often gives the sense that we are dancing underneath the busiest airport runway in the world. It brings a joyous light to the crowd and the music, making for an amiable and energetic atmosphere. DJ Tennis’s final drop, Carl Craig’s ‘In The Trees’, was the perfect belter to welcome in the rest of the night’s acts.
One thing that the Half Full DJs did particularly well was the stylistic seamlessness of performance. Each DJ seemed to slot into the night with their take on thick, Chicago house. This is a joy to hear through Spektrum’s Funktion One soundsystem and throughout the night we were treated to samples and styles from Soul. Later on, Blakean percussion that brought the evening to a forefront of electro. Life and Death are clearly pushing the boundaries of this genre, a little doggedly dark and moody at times, but because melodious clarity in House risks sounding a hollow fanfare to the night, DJ Tennis and companions can be applauded for sticking with dedication to the roots of their music, which is a focused attention to fundamental rhythm and beats.
Sankeys played host to an interesting mix of people that night. Yet promo videos for Half Full show close-cropped and white t-shirt wearing guys waving fingers and fists to dark and mysterious vocals, while meticulously made-up and tastefully dressed girls swayed gracefully to the rhythmic intervals, wistfully gazing at the men behing the decks. The reality was surprisingly close to the advertised atmosphere. Half Full is a hotbed for the young and beautiful, steering slightly yet noticeably away from the typical audience that the rest of Sankeys played host to. There was however, a very welcoming sense of passion for mingling, with a great sense of enthusiasm for the music and the people of its culture. Half Full at Spektrum had an atmosphere of exclusivity around it, that the priveliged few are the chosen to hear the classic yet contemporary House music, and still it felt like the party to which everyone in Manchester had been invited.