The past year has seen increasingly great line-ups playing at Rusholme’s Antwerp Mansion. Tonight is no exception, with an incredible mix of both garage and house artists, both old and new. Together they make up the Sound History Tour, a night playing across the country to showcase the development of the UK underground dance scene, with a focus on garage.
Veteran producers Roy Davis Jr and Sticky, who helped influence and shape the fledgling garage scene in the late 90s attract those looking for garage classics. Another blast from the past comes in the form of singer, Shola Ama, for those who fondly remember garage’s pop breakthrough into the UK mainstream charts. Those present for the contemporary side of the night might know Oscar Luweez better as D1, a prominent producer of the dubstep scene who has since moved into house under his new moniker. The other newcomer of the night is wildcard producer Moony, who switches styles like a pair of shoes. Along with big name in the current garage scene, Elephino, you can see why these artists have been picked.
As amazing as intimate sets as Antwerp can be, tonight is an exception. The beating heart of the venue clogs up with the cholesterol of a packed out club. There’s any barely room to move and it’s sweatier than a nun teaching sex education. But things pick up as Roy Davis Jr plays garage classic ‘Gabriel’ (getting an underwhelming response for such an important tune) and Sticky takes the stage. The space opens up a bit and something amazing happens. As Sticky drops ’21 Seconds to Go’, the wild reaction shows it has jumped from the in-the-moment poppy kitsch zone it once occupied and right into the pantheon of music history. Sums up garage pretty well.