Excitement gripped me upon first hearing of this event. Chicago’s own Paul Johnson is a renowned legend of house music in almost every circle of the vast genre, and it was to be my first time seeing him play. Similarly, Parris Mitchell is another name steeped in the history of ghetto house. With him I knew what to expect, having been in attendance at his electrifying performance as part of a recent Chow Down night at Soup Kitchen.
The residents in Spektrum for the night, Oli Furness and Angus Jefford, the guys behind Manchester’s own Music is Love label, are also DJs I was familiar with. By all means, this should have been a highly enjoyable night for me and my friends. So, where did it all go wrong?
Sankeys as a whole has fallen far in the five or so years I have been attending. The process has only accelerated since its reopening last year. We were greeted by heavy handed security on arrival and funnelled to the entrance. Once inside, it was hard to breathe, let alone dance. Obviously they had sold over capacity. The bar staff were rude but I don’t blame them entirely, as a vast majority of the evening’s clientèle were vapid. At every turn you were caught in someone else’s selfie. The amount of times I was asked about pills reached double figures by the end of the night. Constant annoyances like this kept taking me out of the moment.
The only enjoyment I can actually salvage from the whole debacle is the music itself, with all DJs previously mentioned playing great sets. However, it was apparent that the floor staff weren’t aware that Paul Johnson had been wheelchair bound since 1987. I watched him lifted over and into the DJ booth, a cringeworthy display, in which he could not reach the height of the decks and mixer to play. It was another half-hour before he began.
The main message here is that a stellar line-up is only a small factor in putting together a great club night.