‘Larry Tiger’ and ‘David Woods’ (hmm) have built an international reputation based on their disco-digging extended edits. Considering the dearth of classic house albums released in the last few years, it’s surprising that their sublime debut Through the Green didn’t attract more attention. Two years later, following the release of lab edits album Wiki & Leaks and the new Banana Balls EP, the (fairly) anonymous duo have returned to the UK.
On Friday, the whistle-stop tour hit Manchester’s newest live venue, Gorilla. With support from John Dimas and Claptone, the Under team had arranged a stellar line up, but in the end the night fell a little flat. A surprisingly young crowd seemed fairly reserved throughout and all in all the party never quite got off the ground.
When we arrived the room was surprisingly full, and the first thing we saw was a man in a terrifying golden bird mask…however, the eccentric garb actually provided a welcome distraction from a largely run-of-the-mill set. Building his melancholic deep house around subtle strings, Claptone has been making big waves in the last year, particularly with ‘Cream’, and the crowd were obviously pleased to witness his Manchester debut, but I was personally hoping for something a little different – especially considering the disco sensibilities of the headliners.
Having said that, when the duo arrived at 0130, the night began to move through the gears. While not on a par with their incendiary Sonar set (see at the end) , the duo played a largely fan-friendly collection from the shadows. Favourites ‘Gin Nation’, ‘Kissmetellme’ and ‘Love in Cambodgia’ from their debut all made an appearance, as did a number of tracks from Wiki & Leaks.
Whilst their incessant looping of joyous disco hooks can be a touch clinical on record, they certainly amped up these tracks for what was by this point a livelier crowd. Touching on classic elements of disco and boogie, the set built and built but didn’t quite hit the crescendo I had hoped it would. While the crowd around me seemed very happy, perhaps I had anticipated a slightly less po-faced experience, particularly since the source material includes classics such as Imagination’s ‘Music & Lights’ and ‘Love’s Coming at You’, by Melba Moore.
While it is no surprise that the night took on a ‘deeper’ turn – given the current house climate – to be honest it all left me a bit nonplussed. The absence of ‘Time’ and the imperious edit of ‘Love Come Down’ by Evelyn King, in favour of more reserved material didn’t fit the Friday night party atmosphere I suspect the promoters would have wanted. Having said all this, Tiger & Woods are clearly a couple of very talented producers, who remain at the forefront of their beloved disco scene and Gorilla is definietly one of Manchester’s more interesting spaces with plenty of potential for interesting events in the future. Their releases have set them apart from the countless re-mixers currently clogging up the blogosphere, and perhaps it was my own expectations which gave a slightly anti-climactic feel to what was a strong set. In a different setting, on a different night, I’m sure I could have been swept along. As it was, it all left me a little cold.
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