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Blog Club Review

The Rise Of The Phoenix – Sankeys, Manchester



The inevitable rainfall and the blistering breeze whirled around the Pole of the North in preparation for the magic of Christmas. 

The point in the earth where the North Pole is positioned divides the the inner core in two aixs. If we take the Sankeys logo: we can use it as a perfect metaphor to describe the world.  The earth, as a full globe, could be used to represent a regular way of life. In contrast, where the axis drift apart like tectonic plates it forms an offset circle in the shape of an ‘S’ perhaps symbolising the uneven more challenging journey. This ‘S’ is a significant symbol.  A symbol within the music world that we know better represents Sankeys.

The captivating sensation of release and euphoria that is experienced through the creative land of musicality has become a fundamental escape mechanism for coping with today’s routine busy and stressful lifestyles.  High demand and interest within the rave scene resulted in the opportune business venture for Sankeys, a hugely successful worldwide phenomenon.

This prominent brand was originally established as ‘Sankeys Soap’ and developed itself from an old soap mill in a run-down area of Ancoats, Manchester many moons ago. After various changes to ownership and numerous closes and re-openings, it quite simply today demonstrates success now the club has expanded its branches as far as Ibiza and New York.

Manchester Sankey’s closed its doors back in May. The popular underground venue was so hot it could almost be compared to a fire that then due its closure started burning out, destroying the routine rave behaviour amongst its fellow clubbers.

The transition of what we can call a creative movement, or journey within music, was flown over to Sankeys Ibiza and relocated, almost like a bird migrating to warmer climates and building its nest. After another successful season on The White Isle, this bird appeared more like a phoenix which had experienced a magical summer and could see the season dying out.  As a result of the phoenix’s death December 2013 brought us The Rise Of The Phoenix, back in Manchester, Sankey’s spiritual home.

Once again, the renowned underground techno, house and trance venue brought long queues of dynamic party goers huddling around in ruthless temperatures of the North Pole.

After a scurry and kerfuffle to get through the doors the landscape became familiar. A dingy space filled with sweaty bodies gliding past one another, low ceilings and mysterious lighting creating shadows and shapes in and around the night.  Any sensations of nostalgia had been cured, as the phoenix had been re-born.

The Basement was controlled by a line up consisting of Seb Zito & Rossko (back to back), Audiofly and Darius Syrossian while upstairs, Spektrum delivered Mosca, Winterson, Gerado & Hapson, Sian Bennett, El Eye Vee and Mora to the crowds.

Part Two brought to the Basement: Dyed Soundorom, Andrea Oliva and Chappell. DJ W!LD, Mind Against Mykel and The Element took over Spektrum.


The start of the night was about finding feet which brought us through the Basement that had began filling up. The bar was busy and there was always a flow of people heading upstairs to Spektrum. The vibes were upbeat with tracks like Der Alte by Kolsch mixed into to a more jazz-filled twist of Blow It by Lemos and SIS by Trompeta which added a little unexpected creative flair to the scene.

As for the usual with most events venue’s the smoking area added that extra social side to the night. This evening the queues could have been long enough, or at least slow enough, to almost smoke a packet of cigarettes before you reached the front! This wasn’t such a bad thing as it was an effective way of crowd control. Not only that, this naturally formed a union of like-minded individuals who shared their own encounters of the night surrounded by a display of graffiti daubed walls that added a new element with food for thought.

Further on into the night the beats became more brutal and rich in filth. Spektrum had been full and began overflowing to the Basement where the heads supported Darius Syrossian who dropped Todd Terje’s Inspector Norse. The mood was dark but the neon lights added fluctuating tones matching with the music which followed a journey across the night into a new dimension. – A breathing space for release and a realisation of harmony for the mind.

The build up and breakdowns that occurred prior to the drops generated a suspense leaving a reflection of the bass bouncing of the walls throughout the setting. The vibrations were felt and uplifted the crowds whose collective motion drifted over the sound waves as they gathered in awe.

For what seemed like a most pleasant eternity the night continued on. More unpredictable twists and turns through the music. An accumulation of devoted ravers reunited under one roof.

The story in question follows the ‘Seven Sankeys of the World’ enterprise that Dave Vincent, owner and director has been set on. In Ibiza seven nights of the week held various line-ups that individually established their own brands underneath the Sankey’s umbrella. Is it these that represent the ‘Seven Sankeys’ or is he sketching out plans to branch out to a further four cities other than the exisitng Manchester, New York and Ibiza outposts? …Only time will tell.

Judging by a successful turnout and positive feedback before, during and since ‘The Rise Of The Phoenix’, a continual and perhaps growing demand for this niche has gradually expanded the capacity in preparation for further future accomplishments.

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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