Gareth Emery, one of the UK's biggest electronic music exports of the last few years, returned to Sankeys to celebrate his Garuda label's third birthday.
Following an epic five hour set during Boxing Day’s Warehouse Project, Gareth Emery’s return to Manchester was always going to draw in the numbers – particularly when it was announced ahead of schedule that this was to be his only visit to Sankeys of 2012.
Combine this with it being Garuda’s third birthday (Emery’s label) and you have a recipe for a packed, and very excitable, crowd.
Bringing with him some of the region’s rising talent, including Mark Eteson and Garuda’s own Craig Connelly (named by Emery as his breakthrough DJ of 2011), as well as some of trance’s hottest names such as Ireland’s John O’Callaghan and the Dutchman Jochen Miller, the night had a lot to offer. And it certainly delivered.
Emery opened his hour-and-a-half set as he meant to go on – taking the crowd by the scruff of the neck with the energetic Tokyo, and setting a pace to the night that didn’t really let up.
From the outset Emery proved he has an impressively strong Manchester fanbase, with the crowd even trying to voice Tokyo’s catchy, if undecipherable, vocal hooks. Emery was clearly what the crowd were here to hear.
This was reinforced after the show when he was literally mobbed by adoring fans while trying to make from the decks to backstage. Bouncers had their work cut out holding people back while for a moment it felt like panic may ensue.
Emery proved he’s a big fan of the mash-up again, yet instead of his now well-established crowd-favourite Rolling in Sweet Dreams (Arrival vs Adele vs Eurythmics), he brought a melody-laden mix of Robert Miles’ Children, with his own Into the Light.
Vocal heavy Concrete Angel provided a welcome break as the temperature had soared with the tempo. The song took on anthemic proportions as the entire venue sang along, and you could have been forgiven for thinking you were at a pop concert rather than club night.
It’s astoundingly accessible tracks like this that surely make Emery set for some serious mainstream success – David Guetta watch your back – and his unbelievably catchy collaboration with Ashley Wallbridge, Mansion, must surely be making Swedish House Mafia fans sit up and take notice.
An impressive set was rounded-off with another fan-favourite – Sanctuary. Front half of the venue were a sea of waving hands. Back half sang while dancing in a sweaty frenzy among the laser lights.
You could sense the frustration that Manchester is only going to get an hour and a half of Gareth Emery (at least at Sankeys) this year as he finished – most of this crowd had bathed in five hours of trance on his last set in the city – but when John O Callaghan was the man coming on to replace him, the frustration couldn’t last long.
An impressive show from Emery which, when combined with his December WHP appearance, makes you wonder if there is any limit to where this man could be this time next year.