Their nights don’t come around often, but when they do, make sure you’re free; last Saturday Manchester’s veteran club night meandyou_ returned alongside FutureEverything at the ever popular Soup Kitchen venue to offer a night filled with all the best things techno.
Arriving around half 11 I was greeted by the sounds of meandyou_ regular Andrew Lyster on the top floor, who was wasting no time kicking things off with some strong, full bodied cuts. Not intimidated by Lyster’s bold introduction to proceedings, it was great to see so many people already on the dance floor loosening themselves up. From my experience this was the first time both floors had been used as part of a night at Soup Kitchen, so I was interested to see how this dynamic played out during it. Concerning the initial stages of the night it worked very nicely: with the lights kept on until around 12 the top floor served as a great place to congregate before committing to the dark and dingy confines of the trademark basement below.
In a timely cue the lights were cut to welcome the sounds of a Patricia live set. Though I know relatively little about the techno/acid orientated producer my exposure to his ‘Body Issues’ release on Opal Tapes last year and his NYC Boiler Room set gave much reason for excitement – which the crowd seemed to share. And with this building buzz around the room Patricia captivated it brilliantly well dropping some strong 4 to the floor progressive material laced with his trademark acidy synth based melodies. It was sad that I could only commit to an hour of his set given how good it was, but Nextup Throwback favourite Florian Kupfer was about to grace the downstairs floor, so I marched down greatly encouraged by the opening phase of the night.
Entering the bottom floor it is always great to be reminded about how special a place the Soup Kitchen basement is. With its raw and warehouse-eque looking interior, arriving downstairs you feel more like you’ve entered an illegal rave than a club. Its fantastically gloomy, and Me & You always do really well to maximise this feeling keeping the place as dark as practically possible allowing you to get lost in the great space and music offered to you. One thing I’ve noticed that’s changed this year at Soup is that of the toilet and bar area. The bar is now situated at the back of the club, whilst the toilet area entrance is now more exaggerated. Whilst only minor changes, the loss of the wonderfully weird seating area that once lived at the back of club and the obscurity of the old toilet layout is sad, as they acted as nice little oddities which gave the club some of its character. Of course this difference was no night breaker, and I soon completely forgot about this when greeted by meandyou’s incredibly powerful towering sound system.
With the scene set for showcasing some of the most forward thinking techno out there at the moment, who better to oblige than L.I.E.S German wunderkid Florian Kupfer?! As packed as a meandyou_ night would allow, FK began in a characteristically obscure and unconventional manner, offering a long prolonged build up built upon swirling, engulfing beatless wisps of industrial clatter and bass. You could sense the anticipation amongst the crowd, and the dropping of Omar S – Nekademus served well in its formulaic progressive element to get them going. Not one to succumb to a straightforward 4×4 set filled with bangers, FK maintained his commitment to more abstract forms of techno, swiftly moving between bpms and many offbeat, tilted tracks. As the set developed however, I was continually finding FKs track selection and mixing style at points to be quite abrasive and lacking coherence. Whilst none of the tunes he dropped were bad, the set was littered with a continual mish-mash of pounding kick drum driven techno, such as the banger that is ‘Bam Bam – Where’s your child‘ , that would then be abruptly met by beatless sequences thanks to the following track or FK’s affection to cutting the volume entirely on the mixer before building it back up. Though this had a stuttering effect on its set, it wasn’t impossible to overcome, and was made less of a problem thanks to FK dropping many of the brilliant tunes that he has released over the past year (This one went off in particular).
Approaching the last hour of his set and the night, it was sad to see that so many people had left in favour of the top floor or the exit. Whilst I do concede that Florian’s set was not an entirely danceable one, it was still a unique and refreshing approach that deserved more respect than it received. In hindsight the option of the 1st floor could have contributed to this general impatience of the crowd towards his set, as the innate lure of a 4/4 beat above caused many to abandon the basement area when without the option they may not have done so.
Regardless of these reasons, Saturday night was still a great success with meandyou_ as ever, providing a great platform for some top quality bass music to be showcased. The reputation they have built over the last 6 years is formidable, consistently bringing in the right heads and best underground acts dance music has to offer. Here’s to another 6 years!
– Calum Carey