Friday 2nd October – Hidden, Manchester
Meat Free were hosting DJ Bone, Ben Sims & Fred P in Manchester on Friday 2nd October and it’s fair to say that I was excited. I’d heard good things about Meat Free and had been impressed with their bookings recently having brought artists like Voiski, Xosar and Legowelt to the rainy city in the past year. I rarely travel further than Leeds these days for club nights and it usually takes a very impressive line up for me to travel further afield. The lure of a closing set from techno don Ben Sims and the promise of an after party running well into the next morning was persuasion enough for me.
When we arrived at the venue, ‘Hidden’ on Mary Street, I was pleasantly surprised. A dark and dingy warehouse space over two floors and a large outdoor smoking area all joined together by industrial caged stairwells – the perfect venue for a techno night. It was around 11.30pm and since DJ Bone was playing first I headed straight upstairs to the main room to get in on the action. Bone was already in full flow and the dance floor was already packed.
Putting the headliner on 10pm – 1am seemed like a risky decision but it was one that paid off. The extremely friendly crowd were well up for it from early doors – smiles all round! I still wasn’t quite ready to get stuck in so downstairs I went to check out Fred P who was just coming on in the ground floor bar. The contrast however from DJ Bone’s fast and pounding techno to Fred P’s much slower deeper house sound was not one that I could easily acclimatise to; so straight back upstairs I went for 1am to catch Ben Sims 3 hour set. And at the front I stayed until the lights came up. The vibe in the main room was electric with a really up for it crowd, I noticed more than a few ‘Meat Free’ T-shirts being sported on the dance floor
Clearly these promoters have got a strong and loyal following which comes as no surprise really with them boasting line ups of this caliber. Admittedly the sound system wasn’t the cleanest I’ve ever heard but the energy in the room more than made up for that small gripe. I was locked into Ben Sims’ set. It was hot, sweaty, loud and banging. Someone garnished me with a frilly necklace, someone else poured a pint of water over my head – at the time, just what I needed!
The real jewel of the evening though was the after party spot. ‘The White Hotel’, just a couple of minutes walk down the road, was a derelict warehouse which had been kitted out with a sound system and a cellar bar. With the G & T’s slipping down nicely and the Meat Free residents pounding out the techno until the early hours, more of the same happy crowd, with everyone I spoke to having a great time the morning flew by – it’s just a shame that there wasn’t an after-after party.
We definitely weren’t ready to go home yet!
My first experience of Meat Free was without a doubt a good one. Was it worth the trip to Manchester? Yes, absolutely. Will I be making the trip over again for their next night on 31st October with Jeroen Search? Quite possibly! Why am I being so positive on a Monday morning? Clearly something must have rubbed off on me on that dance floor on Friday night.