With the 2015 festive season drawing to an end, it was a pleasure to be able to wave goodbye to the year and welcome in an exciting new one in the company of one of the world's finest techno and house purveyors. Known for pouring gallons of soul into his deep and delightful creations, the dancefloor was guaranteed to be ignited by the one and only Dennis Ferrer.
Manchester's Gorilla venue was bustling as revellers gathered to dance the night away, intent on celebrating like their lives depended on it. The atmosphere upon entering the room was electric, with a thunderous ball of energy forming on the dance floor thanks to the deliverance of an epic warm-up set by Pirate Copy.
The local electronic stalwarts showcased tracks like DJ Deeon's 'Freak Like Me' (Lee Walker Garage Edit) as we lost ourselves to dance. We could almost feel the warm Ibizan sun shining down on us as everyone danced harder, faster and together to the sound of Loletta Halloway's vocals twisted through the plethora of beats as a sample of "Love Sensation" was taken to another level.
The atmosphere evolved from White Isle to Warehouse within the space of one track. With echoes of acid house trembling across the dance floor coupled with industrial-sounding techno slants. There was no mistaking which city you were in – this was Manchester, and things were about to get deep.
The entire room was bouncing, there were smiles pasted across faces and hands in the air as Dennis Ferrer appeared on stage a little early so he could have a dance with Pirate Copy and soak up the already energetic atmosphere from the crowd, who still had plenty to give.
With the lights dazzling, Dennis took to the decks and immediately pumped up the volume. He was clearing feeling this set as much as we did. From the first track, we were drawn in by his enthusiasm and passion for the music and the way he connected with us from the stage.
This was going to be dirty, jackin' stuff, but the most tantalising thing about the whole experience is the effort Dennis puts into the work he does behind the decks. He knows every beat, sample and remix inside out and back to front and with that, he hypnotises the crowd. It was almost like we were all on the dance floor together, we were on a ride and he knew exactly where we all wanted to go.
The clock struck 12 to throbbing minimal sounds that emphasised the room's cheers. With the addition of ticker tape blasters on the hour, the crowd was covered by the shimmering, festive explosion as Dennis transported us back to the beginnings of house music with a huge disco-inspired track taking over the first few minutes of 2016.
His set was filled the tracks that stemmed from the roots of house music, one being the wonderfully raw and powerful cover by Me'shell NdegeOcello of Bill Withers' 'Who is He (And What is He to You)', with the Danny Tenaglia remix (below) bringing a classic House feel to an R&B masterpiece as the dancefloor united.
Almost swept up in a trance, we were overwhelmed by the effect of Lalou's remix of 'Too Much Information' by Dele Sosimi and The Afrobeat Orchestra – a track which took Ibiza by storm this summer with it's African Jazz undertone and progressive strings.
Dennis shortly followed with his own remix of the spine-tingling 'Sights' by London Grammar. The whole room gathered to sing-a-long with Hannah Reid's haunting vocal as once again everything felt wonderfully intense.
You'd think that Ferrer would be an incredibly tough act to follow, and you'd be right. However, Josh Butler was not phased. Clearly emulating the sound from his summer long residency at Space, he came on with all guns blazing, making sure the energy in the room would continue to ascend well into the early hours of New Year's Day.
The uber-talented Northener did not disappoint. Surrounded once again by some trippy deep house and epic techno, we were spoiled with the most fantastic dirty, twisting riffs, boosted with another round of exploding ticker tape and one of life's most resounding mantras - 'Music Is The Answer' by Danny Tenaglia.
If this party was anything to go by, the house-loving Manchester crowd will be spoilt throughout 2016. Dennis Ferrer's influence will stay with us for a long time, and we will probably find ourselves talking about this set this time next year. Happy New Year – New Jersey style!