Pearson Sound, Jackmaster,
Saturday 6th October
For their second event at the exciting new venue of Canal Mills, Wax:On amassed an impressive lineup featuring some of the biggest acts in the current UK bass scene, but with a clear focus on the house and techno side of it which has proved so popular in Leeds of late. Dusky could be seen as the archetypal artists representing this growing trend; they are a more or less straight-up traditional house act, and of the main DJ’s were first to play on Saturday night, to an already sizeable crowd.
Never having been to Canal Mills before, I was unsure of what to expect, but was suitably impressed soon after entering. Between the two rooms is a large bar and seating area, featuring several weirdly-shaped benches and a pretty wall of string lights. A warehouse space, the club’s main room keeps it relatively simple, with a few lights and a good system getting the job done. The room is a great size for a warehouse club too, big enough for a proper rave but not overwhelming to the point where it feels like an indoor festival, like the slightly disappointing Mint Warehouse. On Saturday it was a nice fit for the music as well, particularly Boddika’s brand of dark, cold and spacious techno. Although the Swamp 81 general got a little monotonous towards the end, Pearson Sound followed with easily the best set of the night, building gradually with skippy US garage before throwing in some tunes from one of his big influences, Baltimore club, highlighted by Doo Dew Kidz’ ‘Who’s in the House’.
But while it was definitely enjoyable to hear this and other classic dance tracks all night from Pearson Sound and Jackmaster (of which there were many), I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed when comparing this to how a night like it would have gone down a year or two ago. There was a distinct lack of new anthems, new tracks which unite the crowd in their ubiquity and feel totally of their time, like Pearson’s ‘Deep Inside Refix’ or ‘Woooo Riddim’ not too long ago.
Of course, no individual DJ can be blamed for this void but it does affect the night, so hopefully its just a lull before another fruitful season of big tunes. Having said that, there’s no denying that for the most part, the music on Saturday was top-notch, with Jackmaster adding to the positive vibes with Chic’s feel good disco cut ‘I Want Your Love’. As Pearson Sound noted on twitter shortly after, it’s ‘all about the parties when security are dancing as much as the crowd’. and all in all Wax:On was a fun night and a promising introduction for Leeds’ newest major venue.
photos: CG Photography