Dirty techno from the likes of Steffi is best suited to a place which is ugly, dark and loud. Luckily Joshua Brooks ticks these boxes…
Everyone familiar with techno has heard of the Berghain, a formidable Berlin super club which opens on Thursdays and shuts three days later, clubbing warriors emerging triumphant after dancing away the past 72 hours. Berghain residents are ranked top in the world for the new wave of techno, famed for relentless, unforgiving sets. Steffi is one of these, in the same league as Ryan Elliot, Ben Klock and Tama Sumo.
It was with this in mind as I was stood on the dance floor just after midnight, Joshua Brooks fairly busy and Steffi playing Rodhad, obvious experience in the game led to her set being paced to ease in before the clock struck 2 and she began blasting our ears with bass and techno enough to shake bodies to the core. She seemed to be more dynamic and open than her counterparts, at times dancing with the next vinyl before she put it down clearly showing her love for the music. I entertained the thought that her fierce, diva-like reputation was unjustified.
At one point, right in the middle of a Randomer track, Steffi stopped the music and started gesturing to someone taking pictures. The music only stopped for a couple of seconds but I thought that was pretty harsh – whilst it’s easy to look down on people constantly taking pictures of the night, it is Manchester not Berghain. It was fascinating seeing her enforce the rules of a club which is several countries away, whilst I may not agree with that, her unwavering belief in the whole experience is inspirational. I’d be interested to know what the photographer thought of Steffi after the incident, be it hostility or respect. Fair play to her though, the crowd proper got into it and I’m sure she got the point across.
Aside from the camera nazi-ing, the set was an absolute blinder. There’s a definite reason she’s resident at the most famous techno club in the world, she brought that to Joshua Brooks. Industrial, pounding techno from the likes of Shed and Joey Beltram meant non-stop dancing when on the dance floor, there wasn’t chance to pause as each bassline induced a bass face and shouts and militant stamping from the whole crowd.
The exposed brick, ambiguous ventilation pipes and metallic dinginess of the Joshua Brooks basement proved perfect for industrial strength techno and the new VOID system was nicely unrelenting on the ears. I swear the ground was shaking.
Techno techno techno, that’s what we wanted and that’s what we got. The crowd were more than satisfied, hand clapping to the kitchen sink percussion led by the lady herself and the majority stayed till the end. There were some people there who seemed like they’d wandered over from Factory’s dubstep floor but by the end of the night they’d either disappeared or embraced the sweaty mess that they’d become. As ever, Joshua Brooks still has a ventilation problem – you’d think not, with all those exposed vents – sweat and condensation dripping off the ceiling, but that issue paled in comparison to the quality of the music. Hesitantly, I’d say it added to the atmosphere – nothing like listening to a load of dirty, angry techno as the ceiling drips with water.
Unfortunately, despite promises there was no cake but that was a trivial issue. Steffi gave the Joshua Brooks crowd a lesson in techno, from the softer, warm up tracks at the start to the ominous stompers which defied the early morning, each bass heavy track was on point and the crowd would often go mad when the next floor basher came on. I’ll bet techno has gained some more devoted fans after that.
Venue: Joshua Brooks