"Please don't bring your dogs": Skiddle gets into the tub with Wet Play

As it sets up home in a new venue for 2012, John Thorp delves into the playpen to find out all about one of Manchester's most eclectic underground club nights.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 23rd Feb 2012

Few clubnights claim to offer an outright ‘lifestyle upgrade’. Rather they subtlely insinuate it with stock photos of supposedly sexy ladies having some sort of great time and various offers of disconcertingly cheap booze. Wet Play however goes all the way, promising closure for “those seeking healing”.

But whilst you could be forgiven for not being entirely sure what exactly Wet Play is at all, it is best described as a rambunctious and open-minded house and disco clubnight, dedicated to waxy vinyl and good times. 

Predominantly the manic brainchild of several staff from Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, only the record collection remains learned, and even then in an entirely fun sense. Wet Play aims to allow it’s clientele, or ‘players’ as they prefer to be known, ‘maximum comfort and satisfaction’.

If this all sounds like the work of mad men, then you may be correct, but in reality, Wet Play is one of the best independent clubnights to emerge in Manchester in a number of years. Records are eclectically mixed perfectly by a caring team who are truly invested in weird and wonderful dance music, regardless of decade or scene. Playing to a dedicated, friendly and non- nonsense (in the best possible way) crowd, Wet Play consistently bring their vision to a series of intimate and unexpected venues all over Manchester.

Having previously occupied Islington Mill, Soup Kitchen and Kraak, Wet Play now sets foot in a venue not exactly known for late night parties, despite its strange extended opening hours. Q Cavern lies beneath the takeaways of Newton Street, and was formerly the African Centre. A variable jerk chicken outlet by the day, this Friday it begins a potential reign as the new home of Wet Play, or ‘the play pen’ as it’s usually known. A genuinely unique atmosphere abounds, and if you like your nights out intimate, sweaty and free of heirs and graces, Wet Play could indeed be the key for you.

In the past, the night has played host to guests, such as a live performance from Cornwall based groove-merchants Seahawks, and an unforgettable Halloween soiree featuring the newly crowned Queen of weird disco, Maria Minerva, and other acts on the hotly tipped 100% Silk label. However this edition sees just the residents keep the heat up, going back to the basics of selection. 

On the decks, you’ll find Rufdug, Kickin' Pigeon, Randy Marsh and Ste Spandex. The latter will be providing his own cocktails throughout the night, to be drunk on specially installed hay bales.

We’d say don’t ask, but we did! Whilst Wet Play is a night out that clubbers must experience to understand, we talked to Randy Marsh about the club’s influences, attitudes, and fielded a polite request to leave all pets at home.

For newbies, the unitiated, or the needlessly nervous, how would you introduce your work and mission at Wet Play?

We want to make strange and warm inviting spaces and times for people to lose their minds in total comfort. We facilitate opportunities for spiritual enhancement, essentially.

The aesthetic and promotion of Wet Play is pretty unique, what influences it?

Old chicago house party flyers, Jack Chick tracts, NES cartridges that have been rewired to go all spazzy, Ken Kesey, Amway.

As DJs and dancers so dedicated and learned that even Chase and Status recruited you to add any sort of rave sincerity to their brand, what clubbing experiences in your formative years have inspired Wet Play?

Personally, I've got to shout massively to the old minging crusty feral techno nights at the Phoenix, I think they were called Havok or something. Squat party techno, squat party haircuts (I think people even used to bring their dogs to the party), and lots of wonderful friendly conversations. Much like Wet Play! (Please don't bring your dogs).

As a team, you're obviously huge record enthusiasts, and have a lot of access through your work. Do you think now is a good time for house music, and does it have any new ideas? One of my favourite things about Wet Play is I'm not usually sure what product of which decade I'm dancing to, I'm just having a great time.

Hmm, anytime is a good time for house music I think! There is always somebody making some great tunes somewhere! But yes, we definitely are not all about newness - a couple of the guys work at Piccadilly and I have a few nice producer hookups which mean we can get our hands on some of the very latest stuff, but to be honest getting your hands on the new stuff is just about being fast, and that's kind of easy. To unearth some 30 year old piece of gold that nobody knows out of a 50p bin in the back of a little shop somebody's brother heard somebody mention some time - THAT IS THE HEAT RIGHT THERRRRE... Indiana Jones vibes! The very best stuff truly is timeless!

Wet Play keeps moving and changing format, from venues, to live bands and DJs, to just DJs... Is this your intention?

Definitely! Ultimately, Wet Play is about Adventuring and what kind of Adventurer are you if you stay in the same place all the time doing the same thing? Different spaces have different vibes, just as different kinds of music and performance do... it's fun to explore!

What can you tell us about about what to expect from the new venue?

Sweaty Basement vibes! Jollof rice for those who arrive early! Well-stocked bar and tropical sensations!

What records are you looking forward to playing this Friday?

I got my first ever promo 12 sent to me in the post this week courtesy of the gentle souls at Tusk Wax so that's getting' a rinsing. Gonna try and play the new 7" by Tapes as well but it might not work.

What is the strangest and yet most suitable thing you have ever played at Wet Play?

Hmm it's got to be some of Kickin Pigeon's strange long drawn out drones for the early service... although when Beautiful Swimmers played Yeke Yeke that was pretty mad and the Seahawks took things WAY OUT when they played for us...

Confused? Experience Wet Play for yourself this Friday at Q Cavern. Tickets are £5 and are available below. 

Tickets are no longer available for this event