It’s All Gone Pete Tong – Control, Leeds
A dark November night and Jack Frost is almost out to join the local electronic music fanatics as they gather in a frenzy to paint the town.
In amongst its settled location ‘Cardigan Fields’ (an appropriately dressed name considering the bitter Northern climate), lies Control, a nightclub which recognises itself as “the biggest purpose-built, multi-million pound event space in the North of England”.
With a maximum capacity of 3100 people, a young crowd of excited faces huddled by the door. Regular queue formality was naturally established which surprisingly did not appear as large as you would expect considering A. the line-up and B. the website’s self-description (as above). – As for its reputation, being a northerner myself, it was only by chance we happened to be in the area, research local events and discover this venue.
After a swift entry with minimal security check we headed from the smoothly generated cloakroom straight to the bar where the drinks were reasonably priced. The first room we entered was the Geodome, which to first time visitors appeared to be the main room due to its literal straight-forward access. We later found this was not the case as we ventured further and discovered the Dancefloor.
The layout of the Gedome was open-plan and spacious with various levels throughout the floor. It appeared to be the shape of what you would envision a large scale empty hot tub filled with puppets, swimming around under the flooding bright northern lights that filled the room. Guided by their master, the heads bobbed up and down from the strings of heavy beats and basslines surrounding them. Unfortunately, there was no way of identifying who was playing in that room at the time.
Waifs and Strays were first in Dancefloor (the main room) to warm up the night. Throwing some spicy flavours into the mix, a steady crowd began to build. The deep red lights were blazing across the room much in contrast to the Gedome where the cooler blue colours reflected an eerie aquatic tone.
Passing over Control (excuse the pun!) to Tensnake, the room almost appeared to be packing out. The unique and reputable taste of disco- house and electronica that the snake slides into his production, was being released across the paths of vibrating soundwaves. As ‘Coma Cat’ was dropped, the room erupted into a fierce fire, bodies bouncing around on shoulders like flames in the heat of a smoke filled room. The warmth on the faces showed through this infamous dance anthem which ceases to die within the music world. And so be it as the crowd certainly put it to rights by their participation into what some would describe a mad compilation of enthusiastic ravers.
Next in line, Booka Shade, a German duo with an established reputation, were supported by the many gatherers on the Dancefloor. Keeping the journey through the night intact, Booka Shade’s’ format contrasted nicely with the bright light over silhouetted figurines which were appropriately reacting via non-verbal communication only, dancing to the eminent track of ‘Body Language’. The added addition to this minimal tech house set was the live drum kit which was embedded into the production. With a high quality sound system compared to that of the Gedome, this added a distinctive imprint to the experience.
As Booka Shade drew their set to a finish preparing for a handover, they successfully selected their most recent track with a more refined softer touch, ‘Love Inc’. As the track came to a finish the lights dimmed and the room slowed, almost coming to a halt as the sound level dipped. There was almost a point where a common question came about: had it actually ‘’All Gone Pete Tong?” The crowd hung in suspense on the Dancefloor…. Within moments later, the lighting picked up and the music followed behind. The confused expressions and startled faces drew an image of cats eyes in a set of bright headlights. It did not take long for them these relax and synch in with the more commercial tones that had been created one of Britain’s most recognised DJ’s Mr. Pete Tong himself. As the night grew darker the bass grew harder and back into play. The crowd was off on its feet again.
Concluding the night Knee Deep DJ’s brought a more funky-disco house vibe to the scene. The surrounding party seemed to be absorbing the rhythm and bass as the event drew to a close. Despite the appreciated delivery of the entertaining collective, it seemed the crowd were pleasantly drained from the ‘Knee-Deep’ down! The room became more deserted and the DJ box appeared more vivid. A heavy night of partying had clearly taken its toll.
The bar was orderly operated, the toilet and smoking area queues smoothly directed and the security team well in-check. Overall the event was well run and suitably placed. Not only was the venue Control by name, it was also Control by its nature.
Photographs: Justin Gardner