Throwback: Hairbrain – Optimo

Hairbrain are renowned for throwing sporadic, unmissable parties around Manchester. Top bookings – including Hudson Mohawke back in 2008  – speak volumes for the aptitude of the promoters to put on a bangin night.

For their guests at Roadhouse they selected formidable Scottish duo JD Twitch and JG Wilkes, AKA Optimo. Famed for their raucous Sunday night residency ‘Espacio’ at Sub Club in Glasgow, Twitch and Wilkes have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, legend has it that certain office workers were formally banned from attending the events due to the Monday morning aftermath.

With this in mind, I headed to the Roadhouse, ready for a slice of the action. Arriving after midnight, we’d expected a big queue but it was nowhere to been seen and we entered without fuss.

Descending the steep stairs of the Roadhouse, to Robin S ‘You’ve Got to Show me Love’? I’d been aware of the genre hopping nature of their sets but that seemed a step too far, if I’d wanted Robin S all night, Canal Street would’ve been my destination of choice. Nevertheless, the crowd was loving it as’Boys Boys Boys’ came on and that was seamlessly followed by Kerri Chandler. Throughout the night it became apparent that the cool figure who put on the techno was Wilkes and the bearded guy who whacked on the IDGAF tunes was Twitch, which probably explains why they work so well together, bouncing off the other’s track choices.

Those first few tracks set the tone of the night – these guys know what they’re doing and they sure know how to work the crowd. Whilst there were a couple of dick heads at the front who kept cannoning into people, it was a pretty chilled crowd who knew their music and were equally at home boogieing to Debbie Jacobs’s disco classic ‘Don’t You Want My Love’ as they were to house and techno classics.

Roadhouse wasn’t the sweat box it often is, there was room to move but it didn’t feel empty in the slightest, which made a nice change from the crowd we crushing moments I’ve encountered in the past.

The end of the night was probably one of my favourite conclusions to a club night ever. A spate of full on techno got the crowd hyped up and when the techno man of the moment Robert Hood’s stomper ‘Never Grow Old’ came on there were bass faces all around, then it slowly morphed into Clash ‘Rock the Kasbah’ and the crowd went nuts.

Normally, when going to a ‘genre-hopping’ techno night, the DJ will throw in a house and a bit of weird electronic noise, maybe a bit of garage or disco if they’re feeling particularly crazy, but this was actually trans-genre and it was so refreshing. It’s easy to lose sight of the tracks you’d grown up with – I’m talking about the stuff parents play that you know inside out but may not necessarily go on a night out to – but when they appear unexpectedly it’s like an invigorating musical injection.

It’s easy to believe the rumours surrounding Espacio, I could’ve stayed for hours and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

4th October, Roadhouse

– Kim Kahan


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