Anthony Wharton caught sets from Mark Knight and Toolroom mainstays Adrian Hour and Dosem at one of Liverpool's newest venues.
Date published: 7th Feb 2017
Image: Underground Liverpool
The first weekend of February is always a welcome break from the (not so) dry January struggle. As resolutions are broken, the prospect of a night out becomes a welcome break rather than a vague source of post-new year guilt. In Liverpool, party goers were celebrating the dawn of a new month with the mighty Mark Knight, who brought his renowned Toolroom Live showcase to Underground Liverpool.
In the fourteen years since the label's inception, the Toolroom crew have successfully traversed the line between commercial success and underground credibility, and this was reflected by the huge numbers in attendance on the night. There was a buzz of energy outside as people navigated their way through the queue, beckoned on by the pulsating thump of music from inside the venue.
Descending into the basement, we were immediately impressed by the club’s high quality sound; the low end boomed and the highs shone through with impeccable clarity. As we settled into the evening’s festivities, red and blue strobes flickered through the sparsely lit room as smoke filled the air, creating heightened anticipation as the crowd piled into the packed-out club.
Adrian Hour took to the decks as we arrived, lifting the crowd with a selection of his diverse productions which have gained him global recognition over the last few years. He shifted with ease through various musical styles, from percussive tech house grooves to melodic deep house and techno. He created an early sense of dance floor unity by playing Rob Hes’ ‘The Solution’, a melodic synth-led masterpiece released on Christian Smith’s Tronic that’s currently doing damage in clubs across the world.
Mark Knight’s presence was greeted with whistles and cheers as he announced himself with his characteristic blend of funk and disco inflected house. Emotive breakdowns and suspenseful snare rolls punctuated the first half of his set, culminating in intense drops that pounded through the club’s Funktion-One speakers, rumbling the dance floor and locking the crowd in an incessant groove amidst a sea of confetti and smoke.
‘Born Slippy’ created a moment of real transcendence as arms were raised and eyes were closed across the dancefloor. However, it was the 2008 rework of Laurent Garnier’s classic ‘Man With The Red Face’ that provided the highlight of the night. The crowd roared with approval as the track broke down and the saxophone pierced the air, reverberating through the club before the bass dropped and the captivating synth line propelled the night forward.
Dosem was up next, taking ravers into the morning with his fusion of warehouse ready techno and floating synth lines. He closed the night perfectly, maintaining a high level of energy that kept the crowd immersed until the very end. Like the other artists on the night, he maintained a level of diversity that truly captured the ethos of Toolroom records.
Leaving the club with ears ringing and smiles all around, it was easy to see why Toolroom has achieved such consistent success since it began in 2003. If tonight was anything to go by, there are many more years of quality music and parties to come from Mark Knight and his team.