Duende Makes Its Debut – Review

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Back in February, Nottingham-based charity night, Duende, made its highly-anticipated Leeds debut at Blueberry Hill Studios.

Run by Douglas McConachie, a student whose DJ successes are earning him a renowned presence on the local music scene, there were high expectations for the evening. Were these high expectations met? Without a doubt. Were they exceeded? In our opinion – absolutely. 

Headlining the night at Blueberry Hill Studios was Jon Rust, a well-respected and much loved London DJ. Rust has not only played alongside the likes of Joy Orbison and Jamie XX, but is someone who has worked at Rinse FM, Tempa, and Plastic People. As well as well running his own label, Levels, he was one of the first DJs asked to perform on Boiler Room and is also a day-one NTS Radio resident. This selector’s impressive list of achievements therefore meant that a sensational night was in order.

Upon ascending the stairs of the intimate venue, one thing worthy of mention immediately came to mind: additional to the packed crowd, was the imposing 10,000 watt hand-built sound-system at centre stage either side of the decks. The extraordinary purple handmade birch plywood speakers, provided by Crispy Aromatic Soundsystem, were to accompany what was an insane line up.

On warm-up duty was Duende’s resident Oli Taylor, aka OT:OT. Spinning an impressive mix of disco, chuggers and obscure world groves, he successfully got the crowd warmed up, ready for Mr Rust. When Jon took over the decks at 1am, what followed was two hours of non-stop boogieing. His selection of soulful house, garage and electro numbers didn’t disappoint in the slightest, and the energetic crowd were obviously loving every minute. Numbers and high energy didn’t diminish by any means for the 3am support, Joe Stephenson, aka Test Press, a Dance Disease resident who closed out the party. Test Press’ electro and garage wigglers brought the unforgettable night to a close.

With all of the event’s profits being split between two charities – The Nottingham Music Hub & MAP Charity – not only was it an incredible night but a profit of £250 was raised for two amazing causes. We are looking forward to Duende’s return to Leeds soon.