A staple of Mancunian identity is The Hacienda. From the 1980's to the early 1990's the venue was a star attraction for people who were mad about new music, new experiences and new gear. Under the ownership of Factory Records, the place hosted music from live acts such as The Smiths, Joy Division (later New Order) and even Madonna then turned its gaze to the infamous tunes of Acid House which swept the North-West. It's legacy is highly revered in the rainy city and clubs have often tried to follow its structure (with some success), However, nothing quite pins what The Hacienda was even with today's fabulous . Thus with its 40 years knocking on the door, the ravers of the past are still here to crash the party, making sure The Hac will never be forgotten - This is Warehouse's homage to the club.
Suzanne Atkinson on the Hac 40:
Waiting to board the sold-out sound-train back to the glory days of Manchester’s musical iconoclast – the Hac, were 10,000 ravers. Party-eds of all denominations: from Gen Xers on a back glance buzz, scanning the horizon for a glimpse of their long-lost youth, to Millennials hitching a ride on the magic carpet of pop culture legend to experience a blast of what they have spent their whole lives hearing about. The Warehouse Project at Mayfield Depot welcomed them all.
We kicked off early doors with homespun stalwarts of the industrial sound - 808 State. Classic set. Unmistakeable style. Barely a shade over year since original Spinmaster Andy Barker crossed the heavenly strobe line, it was good to see the State back in action. Manc through and through.
Quick swerve to the Plant Room to catch an absolute smash, hardcore breakbeat set by cross-genre shape-shifter Justin Robertson, whose diligence on the decks treated us to what we would later declare to be the true highlight of the event. Robertsons' mix was stuffed with tracks from the darker side of Hacienda legend. Classics like Joey Beltram’s "Energy Flash" were chopped with the bleeps of KLFs 1990 chart topper "What Time is Love?" AND Expansions "Move your Body" -simultaneously – minus their pop-friendly punchlines – several strokes of genius right there. Uplifting piano breaks were served up with Zero Bs classic floor filler 'Lock Up'. Best-in-show by an after-party mile.
In fact, I’d say Mr Robinson most successfully sorted and served the perfect mix of underground sound and recognisable riff – a feat tried and failed by a couple of the headliners on the night. I mean, I get it – they’re playing to a mixed crowd and although a 40 year anniversary party is essentially a ticketed nostalgia-fest – they don’t want to simply provide pulsating pastiche, but let’s face it, the vast majority in attendance were seasoned ravers and, seriously, if you’re going to go to the trouble of getting togged up for a (mental) 6.30pm last entry, AND (potentially) get a full charge on your mobility scooter, you’re not out to hear the same old tunes. What you’re NOT after is 90’s supermarket compilation fodder – you want to hear the tracks you loved then but are sadly forgotten now – white labels the name of which you never knew to begin with – NOT "I’m Raving I’m Raving" (A Guy called Gerald) or "Lola’s Theme" (Todd Terry). Though not to be too harsh, AGCGs mix of MI 7s Rockin Down the House did exactly that. A quick dash of Oldhams’ finest Lisa Stansfield’s vocal on Coldcut’s ’89 smash "People Hold On" was too, a nice touch to an otherwise standard deep house set.
The Mondays were, as ever, ‘appy. All as expected – though minus Paul, poignant moments. RIP. Rowetta rocked it with a voice which only seems to get bigger, earthier, evermore rich with age. Opening with "Kinky Afro" and diving straight back in with guitar heavy "Gods Cop", Black Grape’s Mikey Shine once again stepped in to fill Horses’ legendary boots. Bez bounced around, ever the loon, the original balloon, more spangled than Ro’s red, white, and blue sequin ensemble. Sean William Ryder, as always, ad-libbed and updated as he lyricised… Loved it.
K Class were on point for all the piano lovers out there - standard set of sing along dance chart classix - all firm favourites enjoyed by the oldskool whistle posse.
On the whole a top night – head and shoulders above any of the previous Hacienda nights I have been to. Kudos to the lighting team who managed to reference the hazard stripes of the original venue to set the vibe. Some MCs, the odd siren, or fog-horn would have laid on a throwback bonus!