Set One Twenty turns 6 with Moodymann – Review

It didn’t take long at Mint Warehouse before I realised that Set One Twenty’s 6th birthday wasn’t quite going to be a night like many others. With Detroit legend Moodymann (a.k.a. Kenny Dixon Jr.) headlining the night, there was a palpable energy and enthusiasm in the air from the crowd, who had braved the snowy whiteout conditions brought about by The Beast From The East 2.0 to experience Dixon Jr.’s careful selections for the night.

That isn’t to say the night went off without a hitch—the boiler room was advertised to be hosted by Leeds-based Kontra, so I was confused when I was met with the room’s closed doors. This was after crossing the partially-flooded smoking area, where people huddled together in groups around a cordoned-off puddle of questionable depth. It was clear the conditions for the night weren’t ideal, and with all that against it, it was up to the DJs to rise to the occasion.

Luckily, Dixon Jr. knows how to play to a crowd. At a show earlier this year in Newcastle, he mixed some rock tracks into his set, adapting to the smaller venue. Sometimes it doesn’t go down well, as was the general consensus on Twitter when he played the entirety of Kings of Leons’ ‘Sex On Fire’ at Field Day 2017; however, his selections of largely techno and house fit in well with the Leeds crowd who were packed into Mint Warehouse’s stark, rave-like interiors.

Dixon Jr. managed to pack in a diverse range of tracks into his set, transitioning between heavier, more spacey tracks, like the German ambient techno of Isolée’s ‘Beau Mot Plage’, to more upbeat classic disco and house tracks to get the crowd dancing. Highlights include Blaze’s upbeat deep house anthem ‘Family – Roots Alt Vocal Mix’, which set the stage for bolder choices like The Deele’s ‘Body Talk’, with brought a 90s New Jack Swing charm to the venue. If anything could be said against him, it’s that Dixon Jr. sometimes talked a little bit too much, taking time between songs to introduce the next ones. But there was an earnestness to his inter-set chat which let the crowd into the music more than it did pull us out; the man clearly knows and cares about the music, and the crowd (who, again, braved abhorrent conditions to be there) seemed happy to indulge.

Mikhail Hanafi