Pangaea returned for its January edition, providing the opportunity for many wearied students to let loose the exam induced frustration that had been accumulating since the bleak entry into the New Year.
Pixelated Pac(wo)men and ghosts were pinging around; Mario and Luigi were also in abundance, but by far the most popular get-up was the various iterations of FIFA… which simply meant whacking on a football shirt from some point in the last 20 years. One of our favourites was the group dressed as nude Sims, complete with skin-tone pixels. The ‘Level 10’ theme of this year’s Pangaea – in conjunction with its 10th anniversary – saw the SU transformed into a throwback gaming arcade, with the usual impressive efforts put into setting the scene.
It was also a choice which helped minimise opportunities for students to be ‘culturally insensitive’ in their choice of fancy dress, an issue which has seen students being criticised for their use of clothing and accessories which have significance to particular cultures.
The first tent we came across was hosting the MSC Big Band, who have been smashing it recently. Following on from a great party at Antwerp earlier this year, they got the evening off to a cracking start with some live disco covers. Normally drawing the sweat on the top floor, Rubadub took a well-earned promotion to Academy 2, which they kept rammed for most of the night. The promotion also meant that Stevie Wonderland were able to move out of the basement and take up residence in Academy 3, finally getting the footfall they deserve. In previous years, their stage has been woefully unattended despite top bookings, probably because it’s just tucked a bit out the way. Naturally, Move D drew the crowds for his disco set, dropping a personal fave by Loose Joints and this groover by Willow, ending the night with some Fleetwood Mac.
As per every year everever, the crowds which make Pangaea so much fun also meant that you spent a decent proportion of the evening in a stairwell with a giant foam banana in your face. It would be great to think that some magic logistical solution could solve this, but after years of whining it’s probably time to accept that this is part and parcel of the experience. Yes, it does mean that you get split up from everyone you arrived with, and rarely get to see anyone you actually planned to, but in some ways this is what makes Pangaea such a great night; roaming about bumping into people you don’t normally get to see, dipping in and out of various tents and stages, listening to music you might not normally hear.
Manchester has plenty of serious nights and Pangaea offers a nice break from that – an oasis of fun festival atmosphere in the middle of winter was just what was needed.