Meat Free has been going for 1 year to the day so they thought it only appropriate to throw a party, complete with party hats, balloons and a super special guest. Appearing under a backdrop of house, techno and glitter, it’s easy to guess why this is not a typical Manchester club night.
Hosted by Joshua Brooks, home to one of the city’s best-loved commercial basements and with newly done-up toilets, as the bouncer told me ‘they’ve thrown glitter around the place about 12 times now.’ Upon entering at midnight, we were greeted with a massive tub of Vaseline and more glitter than you could shake a rhythm stick at, party hats and sweets. Sufficiently glittered, we descended onto Joshua Brooks’s cellar, pulling back the doors and unleashing the experimental sounds of Means&3rd, Eastern Bloc-er and Bohemian Grove resident who played a great warm-up set. He played a set which as floaty but also had a bit of techno/experimental heaviness to keep it grounded and danceable, playing sounds which echoed the likes of Levon Vincent & Kyle Hall although it’s hard to say for sure exactly what he played. That infamous Vice article which stated that clubs need to stop booking big names as much and start having great residents needs to visit Meat Free or Bohemian Grove because evidently the art of the resident DJ is not dead.
At around 1am, Tama Sumo stepped up and her set was the surprise of the night. As her name is synonymous with the Berlin techno scene and her famous Prosumer collaborations coupled with Meat Free’s reputation as house and techno, I was expecting her to play a house and techno-orientated set. However, in line with the night, the atmosphere and the preceding acts, this renowned crate-digger shattered my expectations for the better, playing a set which transgressed from house to techno, electronica and disco with a bit of funk woven in for good measure. Dropping Juju & Jordash ‘Deep Blue Meanies’ vamped up the grooving crowd providing that frenetic synthetic injection. A particularly memorable part of the night was when she dropped a disco remix which I’m unfamiliar with but been unable to get out of my head since (lyrics: ‘all up in this world’, repeated) and everyone let loose, inflatable dolphins, giraffes and other animals flying around as they boogied into the early hours of the morning.
Leaving just before it closed it 4, it felt as though we had been in a time warp where everything had moved too fast. It’s easy to see why Tama Sumo has such a formidable reputation – possibly one of the best sets I’ve heard in Manchester – with each song choice on point so dancing just flowed out of every pore.
A spate of club night ‘birthdays’ on the horizon, hopefully others will take a leaf out of Meat Free’s book and provide a proper party atmosphere. My first time at Meat Free will not be the last; I’ll be returning soon for my dose of glitter and inflatable animals.
– Kim Kahan