End of an Era: Maribou State at Mint Club

From Britain’s involvement in the European Union to Freddo bars only costing 10p… all good things must eventually come to an end.

Clichés aside, the same can be said for Mint Club. Following the club’s first ever show in 1998 – when Back To Basics welcomed house music legend Derrick Carter – Mint has been at the forefront of Leeds’ electric dance music scene. However, after two successful decades, the award-winning small club is switching-off the lights and shutting down the decks for one last time, much to the disappointment of students past and present. 

Therefore, in celebration of the club’s influence over the years, Mint are showcasing an ensemble of events entitled ‘End of an Era’, building up to one final blowout bonanza. Prior to this, on Friday 1st February, former Leeds University students Maribou State were joined by Prospa and Foz to coincide with their most recent album Kingdoms In Colour. Equipped with their full live band, the Maribou State pair (Chris Davids and Liam Ivory) are also heading on tour, playing at Manchester’s Albert Hall on Saturday 9th March. 

As opposed to previous sell-out ‘End Of An Era’ events – which constricted the ability to move within a confined area – tickets for Maribou State did not sell out. Yet, with fewer tickets sold, comes extra space to dance. The capacity to enjoy oneself without worrying about spilt drinks or dirty looks permitted a continuous groove throughout the entirety of the night, as demonstrated by the energetically joyous crowd seen flaunting shapes under the infamous illuminatory ceiling. Mint resident, Foz, opened proceedings and immediately set the scene by dropping Crazy P’s Disco classic ‘Like A Fool’. Mint has recently become synonymous with hosting house and techno events, so it was refreshing to get down to some Nu-Disco Funk and chilled Electronica. 

The down-tempo beats brought a light-hearted ambience to the club, compared with big room tech nights where the main focus is on the DJ booth, and crowd cohesion is minimalised. This environment was perfect for Maribou State to seamlessly infuse their fluid instrumentals and infectious vocals into a predominantly electronic set. While early releases by the duo inherited a deep House sound, their influence has matured as time has progressed, turning their attention away from monotonous baselines to songs that invoke true emotion. 

Their most recent single, ‘Kingdom’, is a perfect resemblance of this as their tracks now establish meaning and purpose. For example, during their recent In the Middle interview, Maribou State described the video for ‘Kingdom’ as “about travel, not just through our world, but a whole universe.” This understanding and awareness of music bringing about something greater and more meaningful than just generic deep House rhythms has been central to Maribou State’s development.

As if paying homage to the talent on show, the rise of mobile phones indicated the crowd wanting to capture, and subsequently share, the moment when ‘Kingdom’ was dropped. While clubs in Germany have banned the use of phones, lauded as being a great decision by numerous dance music critics, it also exemplified the appreciation for Maribou State. In my opinion, ‘Kingdom’ was the best song of the night, and it provoked the most raucous reaction. 

Leeds natives, Prospa, closed the event. But unfortunately, towards the final moments, the crowd became rather depleted. However, this did not disrupt the energy, which was supplemented by the faster beats dropped by Prospa. Unlike the 10:30am finish experienced the following night thanks to Eats Everything and Green Velvet, most students had departed for after-parties and the like by around 4am, leaving the dance floor somewhat deserted for the remainder of Prospa’s set. 

Regardless, Maribou State’s event certainly marked Mint Club’s ‘End of an Era’ in style.

James Bate

(Image credit: Joel Hirst Photography)