Photo: October @ Meat Free / Photos by Madeleine Penfold
Glitter, beach balls and inflatable crutches are not the usual raving gear you’d expect from your local house and techno night. But combined with the dark, cavernous interior of Joshua Brooks it sets the scene and atmosphere for the highly original series of nights “Meat Free presents....”
This time the Meat Free girls rested their headphones and instead welcomed Youandewan (Aus Music), October (Skudge) and the Zutekh DJs to their evening.
Heading into the venue, we were greeted by one of the friendly Meat Free girls at the front door and this definitely set the precedent for the rest of the night. Guests of Meat Free are made to feel truly part of their unique experience, with punters being whisked down the stairs for a swift glittery make-over before descending through the doors into the eclectic party atmosphere.
The main thing the girls want to achieve from their nights is for everyone, male and female, from every background, to walk away after their event buzzing about how much of a unique evening they've had in a care-free environment. From chatting to them we gleaned that their aim with the night is to create "a middle ground between vinyl heads and those who go out to get hammered, free of house and tech snobbery”.
Their unique philosophy is you “get what you pay for” and on their residents nights you only pay if you have had a good evening - the money saved goes towards future events where they hire bigger named artists.
There was a sea of life overhead as balloons and inflatable toys whizzed around, followed by laughter and a sense of warmth amidst people who were there to rave-on to some fantastic music in a non judgemental environment. The props are designed to get the whole crowd united and “smiling, like on a bouncy castle of techno, that becomes hard techno at times!”.
The girls are really looking to encourage more women into their events through their friendly demeanour and bring the ratio of male to female to an equal level.
The warm up saw the Zutekh DJs bringing their unique sound that was instantly recognisable, exactly what you would expect from them at one of their own high flying events. The chilled vibe gave the crowd a chance to turn and laugh at one another as they threw metaphorical and inflatable shapes into the night.
Youandewan and October (hear his latest release for Skudge above) came on deep into the early hours and conjured a storm of deep, dark, tech and house vibes that was galvanised by the new and very impressive Void Soundsystem. Futuristic, metallic and twisted melodies layered with some heavy pounding basslines resulted in the night belonging well and truly to the sounds of Youandewan (listen to those below).
As the night progressed the crowd grew larger but more intimate, and with the glitter still cascading round the room, it truly felt like a summer carnival locked into a dark, sweat filled basement.
The next Meat Free event is a real spine-tingler. The girls only book artists who believe in their night and if it’s good enough for the one and only Legowelt, it’s good enough for us!
Spookily falling in line with Halloween, the girls will welcome the Dutch electronic supremo to Manchester for his first live set since 2008. Expect techno meets an overzealous American family house on Halloween, then times it by ten. Oh, and plenty of gruesome Halloween inflatable’s to match. Get your Legowelt tickets here.