Dirty Disco in Leeds with the Get Physical showcase (Dec 3 2005)

Leeds is a city that rarely sleeps when it comes to underground dance music and this trend is unlikely to change any time soon thanks to the emergence of the latest in an almost never ending line of high quality club nights. The Dirty Disco formed more out of chance rather than design back in May of this year after an outstanding bank holiday opening party with the electric Jon Carter.

Following this success the promoters simply had no other option but to keep putting on vibrant parties. And this they did with a clever and contemporary booking policy that floated around the now very popular eclectic tech territory with top DJ's such as Billy Nasty, Justin Robertson and Mr C gracing the decks. Suitably housed in the sparse framework of The Northern Light venue, situated within the darker shadows of the contrasting cityscape of one of the major clubbing cities of the North - The Dirty Disco is making serious vibrations within Leeds' electronic schedule. The Northern Light is a superb venue for warehouse operations, although I doubt it will appeal to fans of slick and comfortable bar surroundings. Luckily The Dirty Disco's agenda couldn't be further away from the smooth bar/club strategies that dominate cities around the UK.

A well-known dance music publication recently presented mixed reviews of The Dirty Disco event in November. The main criticism was directed towards the booking policy and event programming that saw the talented techno DJ Valentino Kanzyani share the bill with the renowned Mr C. However it is a brave move like this, to book a proper techno DJ rather than one of the current crop that only dip their toes into club techno, which UK clubs could really benefit from. Showcasing house and techno alongside each other is a concept rarely used outside of clubs like Pressure, Fabric and Shine so it is refreshing to see another night attempt this policy.

Tonight's line-up is probably the safest bet around at the moment, an evening hosted by the unstoppable Get Physical label. In fact the Berlin based electronic label has been so successful over the last 12 months that a couple of well-trained monkeys could probably put on a sell out event with the Get Physical boys on the bill. That said there is an extra buzz around this event and much of this excitement is down to the growing reputation of the night itself, and this speaks volumes for the hard work and dedication of the team behind The Dirty Disco.

Having had the pleasure of experiencing the Get Physical showcase earlier in the year at Sonar it was a pretty safe call to say that tonight's show would be nothing short of breathtaking. Back in June the sweet electronic melodies of Booka Shade and the downright funky tech manoeuvres of DJ T filled the beautiful surroundings of the Sonar Lab, as the bright sunlight streamed through the roofline window pains of a converted chapel in the heart of Barcelona's Museum of Contemporary Arts. Without question one of the defining musical moments of 2005. In contrast tonight's backdrop is considerably darker. The main room has a heavy industrial feel, encased with exposed brickwork and metal support structures. The Dirty Disco crew added their own special touches to the scenery by decorating the minimal shell with large projector screens that displayed the striking and innovative visuals of resident VJ's Keito and MA_Chewy. The colourful images brightened up the dark walls with subtle and interesting optical treats that served as a refreshing change to the usual over-reliance on heavy strobe effects and flashing lasers.

As Beat Factor arrived on the dancefloor DAT Elektronique took to the decks in front of a growing crowd. The set up in the DJ space was noticeably unfriendly for vinyl users with the 1210's so far apart that on several occasions the DJ's had to do their best Stretch Armstrong impression to manipulate two records at the same time. However with the choice of Allen and Heath's sublime Xone:92 and the Xone:V6 I doubt there were many complaints. DJ's have bad days from time to time and unfortunately this was the case for DAT Elektronique. Technically they were on form but somehow they managed to select an endless supply of poor minimal and heavy electronic tracks that contained no funk, groove or dancefloor friendly qualities at all. It was so bad at times that the dancefloor stood dead still for long durations. And if there were any seats in the main room they would have been without doubt incredibly busy. To their credit they did improve towards the end of their set, dropping some nice groovy electronic offerings but it was too little to late and the hand over to the headline acts was warmly welcomed.

The Get Physical showcase kicked off with the arrival of M.A.N.D.Y - the production and DJ partnership of Philip Jung and Patrick Bodmer. Jung immediately took the tempo up a notch with some high quality electro house action. Apart from some rather shaky mixes the energetic duo produced a fine set that was well received on the dancefloor - with Dirt Crew's 'Domino' working electronic wonders as the dominating bassline wobbled the Northern Light in all the rights places.

Luckily for The Dirty Disco things only got better. Next up was the live performance from the Get Physical main players Booka Shade. After getting their drums confiscated by the Spanish customs department earlier in the day, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier (the creative producers responsible for underground hits such as 'Mandarine Girl') had to work frantically with the promoters to get their hands on some replacement kit that they could pre-programme for their one hour set. Despite this set back they succeeded in presenting an astounding live display that covered the untouchable 'Body Language', alongside the new track 'Shimmer' before closing to a rapturous dancefloor response with the brooding melody of 'Mandarine Girl'. For anyone looking for evidence that dance music can work live, look no further than Booka Shade. And by catering for live acts The Dirty Disco have added an extra element to their club profile that might just set them apart from your average night in the future.

Normal club procedures followed with a 3-hour DJ set by label boss DJ T. His set started with the sort of deep tech house sound waves that would make Terry Francis and his Fabric establishment proud. Thomas Koch is a special DJ with a clear understanding of current electronic music, the dancefloor and dance music culture. As a past publisher of the legendary German dance music magazine Groove, he clearly has a strong relationship with underground electronics and this transfers over into his DJ sets. An experienced DJ knows just the right time to lift the tempo and DJ T did this impeccably as he took the music, and the mood, to the next level thanks to some superb electro influenced house and contemporary techno rhythms straight out of Europe's finest musical hubs. Numerous highs followed alongside lush down tempo moments. A strong contender for track of the night must go to the subtle but brilliant 'Deep Throat' by Claude Vonstroke, remixed into classic territory by John Tejada on the promising Dirty Bird label. Justin Martin's label is one of only a handful of US labels currently delivering the tech house goods and it is satisfying to see this sound work in a club environment. As with all great nights 6am came around all too soon. DJ T's final track was a deep and groovy selection that proved as effective as any more upbeat offering, jacking its way through various builds. It was an uplifting finish to see a DJ resist the temptation to play too hard at the end of a set, and it was yet another indication of the quality of DJ T and the music he plays.

The Dirty Disco's December bash will go down as a real highlight of Beat Factor's year. It was also an accomplished finish to a great year for the Get Physical camp. If they continue to perform like they have done at Sonar and now here at The Dirty Disco, alongside releasing genre-shaping music, they will without doubt have an even better year in 2006. The future looks bright for The Dirty Disco team as well. Planned parties in Ibiza, Barcelona and Madrid alongside their monthly nocturnal adventures in Leeds should ensure they continue to go from strength to strength. Leeds in 2006 looks like it will be suitably dirty!

For further information on The Dirty Disco visit www.thedirtydisco.com

Dirty Disco in Leeds with the Get Physical showcase (Dec 3 2005)

January 6, 2006 at 1:46 PM CET

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