“WHATUPDOE? WHATUPDOE? What’s happening Manchester?” asks an upbeat Kenny Dixon Jnr. aka Moodymann as he takes to the booth in Sankeys’s main room, the alias proving to be a misnomer. Despite being covered in a thick black hoody and sporting a black eye mask on his face, there’s no mistaking this man from that famous voice.
“I want y’all to know I’m bar tending tonight” he announces, raising a bottle of Grey Goose above his head, “I’ve got some liquor for y’all up here. Every now and then I’ll pour a shot for whoever love with me here – hey I hope you’re all having a good time.” On the second installment of Music Is Love’s monthly residency at the club, Moodymann really encapsulates the mindset of the promoter.
This theme carries right through his set. The opening track, Isaac Hayes’s ‘Zeke The Freak’, sets the tone for what continues to be a gloriously funk & soul driven set. The crowd groove to the abounding rousing trumpets and rhythmic bass lines as Moodymann spins – somehow expertly mixing with what looks like iPod headphones – the likes of Supertramp’s ‘Cannonball’. Those at the front receive the added bonus of the occasional shot of premium vodka from the man behind the decks. An unfortunate programming overlap means it’s almost a struggle to pull myself away up to Spectrum to watch another American house and techno master – Levon Vincent.
Upon entering the intimate Spectrum, and immediately getting lost in the mind-bending sounds he constructs from his records and mixer, all qualms over the decision are washed away. Displaying a strong focus on thudding kick drums and snares, Vincent justified his cult status (I’ve never seen anyone scribble their autograph on a begging crowd member’s shirt mid-mix before) with a pounding set that triggered relentless dancing.
Tonight proves Music Is Love’s nights are the pinnacle of the Sankeys calendar this year.