Twitch and Wilkes from Optimo (Espacio)

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

Finally caught the renowned Optimo DJ duo in action at the Reading Rooms in Dundee. Last time I was here, in 2008, I saw Andrew Weatherall in action and I wanted to shoot a panorama but wasn’t able to). This time I came prepared… and determined…

Optimo (Espacio) was a long-running club night/institution in Glasgow. The weekly residency may’ve finished but JD Twitch and JG Wilkes regularly take their show on the road to showcase the mixes which make their DJ sets so legendary.

Eclectic is an oft-used term but it genuinely applies to these guys’ sets. Note the AC/DC sleeve poking out; not often you’ll hear that in a tracklist next to Chicago acid house classics and Boddika jack trax. I’ve been enjoying their mixes for close to a decade so it was good to finally see them in person.

More performances from Festival Square, MIF

More views from Festival Square at Manchester International Festival 2011

Sunday 10th July. First up, on the decks is Dom Sotgiu from Manchester’s finest reggae label, Blood and Fire. Dom dropped his usual mix of righteous dub, roots and reggae on a hot summer’s afternoon in Festival Pavilion. A perfect soundtrack to the mellow warmth outside…

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Next, an evening view of Festival Square, with gorgeous fading light providing a wonderful close to an afternoon of perfect warm summer sunshine. Manchester felt just that little bit more continental, and plenty of people took advantage of the conditions to sit out and enjoy a drink and a chat, surrounded by music and mellowness.

I only realised when I was stitching this together that I’d caught Damon Albarn, who’d been starring in Dr Dee, as he bobbed out of the Pavilion. Paparazzi pano 🙂

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Also on Sunday 10th, the wonderful Candi Staton (in her second performance of the Festival), live in the Theatre. She held the crowd utterly enraptured with her sweet soulful voice. I was really impressed by the sheer presence she commanded, leading a very tight band and backing singers and rocking the place. A very special moment from a gospel / soul legend.

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Below is the ever-sophisticated Barry Adamson, in conversation with Dave Haslam. An intimate, enlightening and often hilarious insight into the history and motivations of this Mancunian musical luminary.

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Finally, I had genuine difficulty standing still during this set by the Disco Mums, Manchester’s very own maternal disco & boogie posse. Five ladies with children, attitude, funk… and record boxes stuffed with pure dancefloor gold! Sunshine outside, and sunny vibes inside, on a family-friendly Sunday afternoon in the Festival Pavilion.

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

English Electric live at Terrorist#13

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English Electric plays a live set at Terrorist#13.

Shot this on a night out at Terrorist in Manchester: this is inside the incredibly small DJ booth at the Number 1 Club. I say small because I shot a panorama here in May 2006 when Legowelt played, and in the old One Central Street club there was a massive space for performers. I turned up expecting the same thing this time, and was taken aback by the tight squeeze. You can see the old panorama here: it was tough shooting 38 shots in a club environment with my first kit, with lots of visual oddities.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash, or for more info in Google Earth.

Hudson Mohawke, Squarepusher & Andrew Weatherall at Warp20 (Sheffield)

A selection of 360° panoramic photos of the Warp20 (Sheffield) gig at Magna. Stunning venue, great soundsystem and lighting, and superb music from 20 years of Warp artists. A night of unbridled quality in Warp’s former home city.

Firstly, two shots of Scotland’s most talked about hip hop producer, Hudson Mohawke, whose debut album ‘Butter’ is released on Warp Records in October. Believe the buzz surrounding him, this guy has more talent than his years might suggest; and his bass heavy, wonky, glitchy, electronic hip-hop electronic sound (and visuals) tore it up. The album should be a belter…

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Secondly, label stalwart Squarepusher raised the pace and ripped up the place with an exclusive solo set of dancefloor-orientated tracks. Micro-processed amen breaks, thumping 4/4 beats and neon-drenched acid and bass, enfused with a frenetic funkiness I’ve not heard from the man in years.

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Finally Andrew Weatherall, the chairman himself, on the decks for a set of perfectly chosen and mixed warehouse classics. Wall-to-wall acid house, bleep techno and other tracks ideally suited to playing in a giant former steelworks in front of 3000 people. Probably the highlight of my night was when he dropped LFO vs FUSE’s ‘Loop’ over the top of the David Holmes remix Sabres of Paradises’s “Smokebelch II”. The roof nearly came off the building. He may be a DJ and producer with few peers, but Weatherall’s breadth of musical taste is so widely varying you never quite know what you’ll get when you see him play: however this ranks as one of the very best sets I’ve heard him play in the last 15+ years. Especially good to photograph him again almost a year after his appearance at Autodisco, when I wasn’t able to shoot a pano as it was just too dark.

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Honourable mentions also go to Harmonic 313, Nightmares on Wax, Clark and Forgemasters, who all also played (and rocked it) on the night; and special thanks to the Warp staff for making this happen.

English Electric, live at Terrorist #7

The good folk at Sounds from the Other City asked the team from Terrorist to curate one of the venues at this year’s festival. An all-day venue (the Black Lion in Salford)  played host to a quality line up of modern electronics from a diverse and talented range of artists including Legowelt, Troubleshooter and Mark Jones.

This, however, is the mighty English Electric, pushing buttons and playing the floor. Three quarters of an hour of acid, pads, rhythm and bass which absolutely rocked the place. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this page to link to a recording of the live set soon.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.