Finishing university has me feeling pretty apocalyptic: There’s been the slog of dissertation and exam season, and now the bleakness of unemployment and job searching is on the horizon. A chunk of celebratory time off is in order first, though, so it’s fitting that my last ever Pangaea is themed around a party taking place whilst the world crumbles. A night of hedonism to ignore reality—a disco during the apocalypse.
Pangaea delivered on its promise of escapism, with the high production value transforming the Union into an unrecognisable backdrop of art installations and decorations. A square disco floor flashed in Club Academy, banners displaying end of days warnings hung menacingly from walls—it’s these details that make Pangaea such a special event.
An excited atmosphere pervaded every corner of the festival as new discoveries were found in every area by revellers who matched the production effort with their own costumes: Saturday Night Fever-clad zombies danced alongside a nuclear fallout-infected Disco Stu. The line-up providing the music on the night was the strongest it’s ever been. Teaming up with a host of promoters, Pangaea pulled in some seriously big hitters.
Selective Hearing took over Academy 2, with Leon Vynehall kicking off the headline slots. He delighted the crowd with soulful house selections, drawing on a number of his own productions including ‘Butterflies’ and ‘It’s Just (House Of Dupree)’, as well as Sound Stream’s grooving ‘Makin’ Love’.
The biggest pull of the night was Sister Sledge over in Academy 1. The venue was packed to the absolute brim before they came onstage, leaving a number of stragglers disappointed as security were forced to halt further entry to the full capacity room. Those who made it inside were treated to a whirlwind of euphoria and uplifting classics from the disco legends. Faces were fixed with grins and vocal chords exercised with mass sing-alongs to the likes of ‘We Are Family’ and ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’. The energy in the room reached a climax when the sister act also delved into the catalogue of fellow disco pioneers Chic, ‘Good Times’ and ‘I Want Your Love’ receiving rapturous receptions.
Back over in A2, New York techno don Levon Vincent led the room into murkier territory with a number of woody percussive tracks. Album cut ‘Launch Ramp to the Sky’ was a highlight, however his set was hampered somewhat by the lacklustre sound system.
Thankfully, downstairs in Club Academy the rotary mixer Floating Point employed ensured the crispest sound of the night. Funk, soul and disco dominated his expertly crafted set: Tom & Dito’s ‘Obrigado Corcovado’ flooded the room with chanting and Latin guitar licks before Mary Clark’s ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ induced jubilant jigging in the packed crowd.
Whilst Floating Points brought the disco, Boddika brought the apocalypse. Upstairs he closed the night in stark contrast with more pounding techno, capturing the indulgent mood of the assembled partyers with Radioslave’s ‘Don’t Stop No Sleep’, and hitting the spot expertly by unleashing Randomer’s eerie belter ‘Bring’.
The timing, musical diversity and setting of Pangaea combined to make it the most vital event of every Manchester student’s calendar.