Back to Basics has been a household name for clubbers in Leeds since it opened over two decades ago back in 1991. The night, which currently holds the title of Europe’s longest running house night, has come a long way since those days when it first graced the likes of the Music Factory, Pleasure Rooms, Mint Club and Rehab.
Its new home goes above and beyond: Church is a 1,700 capacity church located on Woodhouse Lane, the site of the travesty that was Halo. After lengthy renovations and much gossip about who would claim this amazing venue for their own, Church seized the oppurtunity. The space is giant, with a cavernous vaulted ceiling that does wonders for acoustics, illustrated by the shaky dance our Red Stripes performed across the bar to the bass of the sound system. The most striking aspect has to be the original Victorian stained glass windows, which illuminated with 3D lighting, giving the place an ethereal feel.
Gracing the pulpit was a not-to-miss line-up of Damien Lazarus, Ralph Lawson (spinner of the very first record played at Back to Basics those many years ago) and James Holroyd, who played a traditional Basics entre of rolling basslines. While Lawson’s set contained old school house classics such as ‘Galaxy 2 Galaxy’, the contemporary edge has not been forfeited; a highlight was his encore with ‘Kolsch-Grey’ which was released last month.
The night seems to have lost none of its avant-garde spontaneity with fairy lighted, black and white body suit clad dancers grooving around the decks and despite a supposed 3am close things carried on well after hours. In a restrictive post-Fabric raving world where nights out are more and more often becoming gentrified by profit lines, it’s wonderful to see that Basics is still about what it set out to do in the first place: an accessible good old party in ever more creative places. I’ll be back for more.