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Live round-up

Lena Peter gets a bass awakening at the Attic

Published on March 19th 2008.


Live round-up

I don’t know how you as readers feel, but I think that Manchester is lacking in proper clubs. Yes, there’s Sankeys and the Warehouse Project (and recently Area 51 in the old Paradise Factory), but other than the select few, most clubs that do exist cater only to house aficionados.

Grimier music is harder to come by in Manchester. Up until 6 years ago, you could still go to large drum‘n’bass events at venues like the Academy, but this seems to have stopped. With the current student musical trend swaying toward bands, rather than clubs, these nights appear to have slid back into the underground.

It is good then to know that they do in fact still exist. Bass Camp floats around the Manchester scene, frequently alighting on the Attic. Up the wobbly stairs next to the Thirsty Scholar, punters seek out the dirtier side of music. Saturday’s Bass Camp was a dubstep and reggae special.

The Attic is a small space, only fitting around 500 people at the most. A good side of this genre is that, because it isn’t so popular with the masses up north any more, the people that go are there for the music, rather than the scene. Nights like this are always the best, as people are there to have fun, not pose. Although I’m a massive fan of bands, it is always slightly depressing that people don’t dance at gigs anymore. More worryingly, people tend not to dance at electronic nights anymore either. So it was refreshing to see a small crowd enjoying themselves, with many flailing limbs and completely un-self-conscious enjoyment.

Although billed as a ‘reggae, bass and culture special’, the night provided plenty of opportunities to crank it up. Bass Camp regulars Longshot and Ken Evil provided the most dubstep element of the night, with the main acts being Disciples and Operation Sound System. Disciple (featuring Jonah Dan), has a great pedigree behind him, having worked with the likes of Jah Shaka and currently running Boom-Shaka-Lacka. Nick Sasquash of Operation Sound System is a northern boy and knows what his crowd likes. The music was chilled but they worked the crowd – carefully cutting in intermission sequences of drones to let people go for toilet/fag breaks, before playing old favourites.

The only issue for me is that the boys didn’t push it enough. The tunes were safe, rather than making the crowd ‘work for it’. They could definitely do with using some harder music – I don’t mean harder in a house sense, rather that they could have pushed it further with music that pushed the crowd out of their comfort zone.

Still, when was the last time that you went to a night where the guys on stage (mistakenly) invited everyone back to theirs for a party? Or when a promoter goes round at the end of the night asking everyone what they thought?

Added to that is the fact that the door staff and the barmaids were fantastic. Completely professional, they coped with the absolutely wasted, while providing beer and taxis to the more sober within seconds. They also looked like they were having fun, which is unusual. On top of that, and more importantly, the sound system was just immense – totally bass-y enough but not messy. It’s proof enough that even being in there for five hours, when I left I didn’t have that buzzing deafness that lasts until Tuesday.

Although it had dirty floors and going outside involved an interesting encounter with a spiral staircase and very happy drunk people, where else do you get to go and dance for 6 hours for £7? Even by my reckoning, that’s cheaper than a gym membership, and probably better for you. You might even pull.

Basscamp’s next outing is this Easter weekend. The night moves to the Barnes Wallis building of UMIST (sorry, ‘Manchester University’). Expect the night to be heavier, including Caspa & Rusko, who have produced CDs for Fabric in London. Check out www.drummusic.org

Gigs to look out for this week:

Aristocrash & The Unstoppable Team
Thursday of this week sees glam-rock and general fun-time music from two up-and-coming Manc bands at the Ruby Lounge. Now under the direction of Jay Taylor. Aristocrash are born performers and fully believe in putting on a show, so the £5 entry is probably going to be great value.

Friends and Family
In the Bank Holiday tradition, Friends and Family returns this weekend, with a four-deck set by The Nextmen. It’s a shame that the night seems to have lost its old Kro venues – this time it moves to the Mint Lounge.

On the Rocks
For a weekend-long experience, a tenner buys you a ticket to the On the Rocks mini-festival at Dry Bar. Billed as ‘Manchester’s rock festival’, the emphasis is fully on rock, metal and punk – you’ll get the idea if I tell you that one of the 12 bands playing on the Saturday is called Foetal Juice…

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Al MackMarch 19th 2008.

500 capacity? Have you actually been to the venue?

LenaMarch 19th 2008.

Sorry - my mistake. Apologies...

AnonymousMarch 19th 2008.

"Area 51 in the old Paradise Factory"? They are separate clubs, one's on Whitworth St West the other on Princess St

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