As a well-deserved heatwave was approaching the U.K., the Strange Riddims crew were already a step ahead with one of their own to match. Joining Strange were London-based Akito, a tough-yet-fun purveyor of hard drum peppered with grime and bassline making serious moves down in the Big Smoke, and local lad Yant, who can be seen tearing it up around Manchester's finest establishments with a no-nonsense, high octane approach to techno. Not to mention scoring bookings further afield, including a slot at Berlin's revered Tresor spot, where he'll helm the booth on July 25th.
The night began with some heavyweight chug provided by the entirety of the Strange crew, resulting in a jostling, packed out booth which was happily mirrored by a crowd as excited for the night as the hosts. As the tempo quickly rose and the room filled up, the infectious rowdiness of the SR crew could be tasted in the air. Wheel ups were out in full force, with Sonice flicking his mighty wrist on Plasticman - Shockwave and sending the dance floor into a flurry of cheers, fist pumps and spilled drinks.
The only way was up from there, with increasingly rapid garage, bassline and grime numbers being dug out and dropped onto an energetic and receptive dance floor. A particularly weighty selection even caused an (admittedly precariously placed) monitor to be knocked over, prompting one of the undisputed highlights of the night in Craig aka Clubfoot using his cat-like reflexes and catch it before it caused terminal damage to a fine record and the flow of the set.
Up next was Akito. The Subskank co-founder complemented the emphatic close to Strange's set perfectly, dishing out a joyous range of UK funky, bass and grime that thoroughly resonated with the unkept, murky warmth of the infamous Soup Kitchens interior. His energetic mixing style, featuring fine-tuned chopping and intricate layering his tracks, created a rugged yet flowing soundtrack to the prime-time hours of the night. Spicy selections such as Kouslin's Suga Drums saw dancers in a state of animation, as they were pulled in multiple directions at the whim of Akito's thrilling genre shifts.
Momentum continued to build as all manner of hard drums, tangled percussion and weightless grime melodies were traversed in quick succession, leading towards the end of a truly boisterous headlining set.
When it was time for Yant to step up for his closing set there wasn't a single hint that the night was winding down, as a well and truly loose atmosphere continued for the last power hour. Yant takes no prisoners behind the decks and this time was no exception, channeling his inner Mills as he blitzed through a hefty portion of the techno spectrum. Heads were down, then hands were in the air, dancers were up next to the booth as the night approached an ecstatic crescendo. A great deal of the damage dealt to the dance floor was supplied by the man himself, with a number of his own productions doing exceedingly well at making feet move. One from his upcoming EP on Jay Clarke's label Blackaxon, titled Encode The Stick made an appearance, which should be hitting the shops this autumn on the Cosmic Borders EP. It seemed fitting that the night was rounded up in the same fashion, and as the lights came on over a sprightly, packed out club, Yant's Hydro #3 (also forthcoming on Blackaxon) saw out the final minutes of what had been an exceptionally moving party.