“The popularity of music changes on a weekly basis,” Jay Smith, promoter of house night Us & Them, tells DJ Mag. “I have total respect for established artists but I lose respect for promoters who keep booking the same line-ups week in, week out.”
Speaking in relation to two new weekly projects — Fiesta and Recentes — that launch in January at Manc institution Sankeys to plug the gap left by Carnival's migration to Ibiza this summer, Jay is all too aware of the need to move in tandem with the fleeting movements of one of the most thriving club scenes in Europe. “Keeping it fresh is the most important thing,” he adds. “Why keep booking the same artists when there's so much fresh stuff out there? People are too safe and count on an established artist to bring in the numbers or play a set that everyone will be happy with.”
Ambitiously testing the water on the second and third weekend of January, Fiesta donned a look that featured Derrick May, Hunee and Darius Syrossian, while Recentes, the following Saturday, racked up appearances from Dusky, Boddika and Eliphino alongside the residents (Josef K/Us & Them). Distinctly different in terms of music policy, despite serving first-and-foremost as purveyors of the 4/4 formula, Fiesta is geared towards straight-up house, while Recentes is positioned to steer towards more garage-y, bass-inspired territory. Through this slight difference in musical direction, both Jay and Sankeys resident and co-promoter Jozef K — one of the minds behind Continue — expect each event to pull contrasting clubbers, while attracting some new faces to the venue. “Both nights will attract a different clientele to the club — a younger, forward-thinking crowd,” says Jozef. “Fiesta will hopefully bring out the more mature house heads.”
While Recente will interest the young 'uns, as Jozef puts it, by focusing “more on the UK bass future garage hype”, Fiesta's reliance on house names established locally, like Darius Syrossian, Us & Them and a veteran such as Greg Wilson, will aim to install more of a house party feel for the hardened heads of the city. “Sankeys is a club that everyone has visited,” explains Jay. “Most people started out their clubbing careers here. The artists we have booked have mostly already played in Manchester, but they haven't played in Sankeys.”
Stepping up to the plate of Manchester's most heritable clubbing institution still surviving is a tall order for any start-up promotion. As a result, both nights have been carefully engineered to deliver something that meets both the high standards of the venue and those of Manchester's many switched-on dance bods. Shonky, Brookes Brothers, Marco Carola and Mosca are planned on both sides of the coin for February alone, and Fridays and Saturdays at Sankeys are looking all the more dapper for it.
SIAN BENNETT (TAKE THE WHOLE CAKE)
“Sankeys is great to play at thanks to its global recognition, yet it still maintains an intimate connection with the crowd. It really epitomises an underground vibe and you can guarantee an electric atmosphere on the dancefloor week in, week out.”
Lead pics: Photos by Eddy Gosht / www.ohmygosht.co.uk