Formerly an institution of Leeds’ midweek clubbing scene, the infamous Bigger Than Barry returned to its native home under the hallowed LED canopy of Mint Club last Tuesday, once again enlisting the talents of Rinse FM’s DJ Oneman for their return. Oneman’s distinctive brand of genre-hopping mixing has seen him draw crowds worldwide, from festivals to the intimate Boiler Room. His acclaim may seem surprising to the uninitiated, given his lack of production credentials (seemingly a must in today’s DJ circuit); however, as anyone privy to his previous performances will attest, his superior mix-and-blend abilities leave little doubt as to why he garners so much respect from fans and peers alike.
Indeed, for a night being held in such close proximity to exams, Mint was surprisingly lively, though thankfully not rammed enough to create the chokingly sweaty atmosphere that sometimes pervades the club. With all its LED showiness, it could be easy to write Mint off as forsaking substance for style; luckily, its Funktion-One sound-system put any doubts about sound quality to rest, doing justice to every aspect of the musical spectrum touched on during Oneman’s set.
And that spectrum ranged far over the course of the two-and-a-half-hour set, with grime, house, hip-hop, disco and R&B all forming integral parts of the set. Oneman’s skill as a DJ lies in his ability to hop between seemingly-incongruous genres with ease, breathing new life into tracks through his unique ear for the blend. As such, tracks like Digital Mystikz low-end classic ‘Anti War Dub’ sat comfortably next to newer house cuts like Joy O’s ‘BRTHDTT’, whilst Waka Flocka Flame’s aggressive ‘Hard In The Paint’ became almost soulful when placed over the instrumental to Ginuwine’s ’96 hit ‘Pony’. Such a diverse selection appears almost gimmicky on paper, but Oneman’s seamless technical mixing ability ensured fluidity throughout the set, full of crowd-pleasers but never, you feel, compromising his integrity as a respected performer.
Having seen Oneman perform countless times over the past 18 months, it is a testament to his skill and dedication to his craft that he still finds ways to make every set feel unique and, most importantly, pure entertainment. A highly enjoyable night, probably only to be topped the next time Oneman returns to Leeds.
words: Joshua Rickayzen