For a good number, 2011 could be remembered as the return of Jacques Lu Cont to the tables.
The Grammy award-winning DJ’s work, which may also be known by fans under Les Rhythmes Digitales and the Bowie-inspired ‘Thin White Duke’, is unknowingly listened to by millions through his production work on countless pop artists. Jacques Lu Cont (JLC), real name Stuart Price and actually from Reading despite his French moniker, has worked with everyone from Madonna and Kylie Minogue to Take That and The Killers.
Some of his shows at Fabric have gone down in clubbing folklore and the hype around his return to DJing has been bubbling under the surface for some time, with JLC choosing a few select dates including Electric Picnic and Scandalism to strut his, very new, stuff. Luckily for us Mancunians, The Warehouse Project was one of them.
Without wanting to resort to pure sycophancy and adulation, even with how much we here at MM had built it up, it didn’t disappoint. Even WHP themselves dubbed it the ‘extremely rare set’ as ‘one of the most highly anticipated moments of the series’.
We’re talking over an hour of the most seamless, sweat-inducing mixing you’ve ever heard, from French house to electro-drenched 80’s synthpop, with enough epic hands-in-the-air moments to keep even the most gurning trance fiends happy – though the builds were kept short and succinct, and many drops were laced with a fist-pumping intensity we haven’t heard elsewhere this year. The set sounded ‘kraft’-ed with Manchester in mind, and many a moment seemed straight from the Hacienda’s heyday sound.
You had to forgive the crowd for going all out too early, as often it felt like we were watching the headline act. It was hard to believe that the night still had more to offer. But before the top of the bill was reached, Erol Alkan took charge and the audience were left in no uncertain terms who was on the decks. No, unfortunately we don’t mean his music.
The words ‘Erol Alkan’ flashed and throbbed on the screen behind him from the get go, which usually goes down well when the likes of Armin, Van Dyk or Ferry do the same, but after the understated stage show of JLC in comparison to his epic set, it seemed a little tacky. This was exacerbated by him playing ‘hide and seek’ behind the decks. You couldn’t help feeling this was all to hide the fact that the music wasn’t delivering on its own.
We’re probably being too harsh on one of Britain’s brightest DJ acts of the last couple of years, but perhaps it was his positioning between two of the most anticipated sets of the WHP series this year that meant Erol was left tasting like a slightly disappointing filling in an otherwise excellent sandwich.
It was well-gone 2am by the time the man of the moment came to the stage. Having brought with him his Blood Music label recruits Bowski and Clouds, it would have felt like it was Fake Blood’s night from the start had it not been for Lu Cont’s sidestep.
And Fake Blood’s one hour and ten minute set did force the audience to step it up a gear despite their (and our) exhaustion. It brought in all his usual elements of rave, techno, house and electro, stuck them in a blender to create an audio soup as fresh as they come.
By the time I Think I Like It came around, the crowd were ready to burst into a frenzy for the disco-laced tune that has become a bit of an anthem in certain circles and there was enough pogoing for a Buzzcocks gig.
But the pinnacle had to be the track that made his (for so long faceless) name – Mars. A playful but down-right filthy original mix that bleeps and squeaks its way through grimy fidget house beats before opening into the catchiest of the evening’s melodies. Glorious.
The MM office would like to put in a request right now – Jacques Lu Cont needs to put his evening’s performance to disc. For now, all we can find is this grotty i-phone recorded two minutes of poor quality. But those two minutes are oh so beautiful…
All we can say is keep the good times coming WHP!
If anyone has links to recordings of the evening, send them to mancunianmatters (at) newsassociates.co.uk!
Photo courtesy of sebastian matthes and Warehouse Project, with thanks.