Editors’ Picks: Review of 2016

flex

To round off the year, your beloved music editors reflect on their best music moments of the last 12 months. Sophie talks up techno, Serena hypes up Open’er and Ben reflects on The Stone Roses turning the Etihad Stadium into a Mancunian Mecca.

Sophie Ahmed:

Techno. Kylie Jenner was right when she said that 2016 would be the year of realising stuff, as over the last 12 months I’ve realised that I can dance to this for endless hours. It all started in Vienna when I was crossing ‘interrailing’ off my student bucket list. Having no clue about the nightlife, we were directed to Flex, a grimy, graffitied basement club by the canal. It was here that I had my religious experience, downing pints of water in a sober, sweaty techno trance – I didn’t even need alcohol to have fun. Europeans appreciate techno and this is the number one reason why Brexit is a bad thing.

“let me into Berghain now”

I brought my obsession back to Newcastle, and Backdrop at WHQ is now my favourite night to attend if I need to shake my limbs around a bit to destress. When I went to see Flume at Warehouse Project recently, the techno DJs in the smaller rooms were so much better, but that was probably because the sinister sound suited the venue more than Aussie bae’s sexy single, ‘Say It’. Honestly, Techno > Tove Lo.

Like an intoxicated wise woman once said on a snapchat story – it’s a basic four by four beat so if you don’t have a primal instinct to enjoy techno you mustn’t be wired up right. Or maybe I’ve just listened to too much of it and the repetitiveness has hypnotised me. Either way, just let me into Berghain now.

Is this the sound of the future? I won’t tech-no for an answer.

Serena Bhardwaj:

One word to describe this festival: sweat. That’s the issue with festivals abroad. It’s hot. Scorching in fact. I naively imagined the weather in Poland to be like a Russia-induced winter with thick snow and a sharp breeze. But I can tell you that that’s not the case. However, this was compensated by the tranquil beach that lies close by where we retreated in the daytime in an attempt to cool our sizzling skin. Another compensation was the line-up. The acts at Open’er are always top-notch and this years featured Tame Impala, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and Kurt Vile – to name a few. It’s an intimate festival set on an old airfield which provides a surreal setting and a totally unique atmosphere. The back of the grounds is met by open fields – an ideal backdrop for a pristine sunset- the type that cameras can’t quite do justice of. In the airfield bunkers they have late night raves, and fashion shows and there’s even a cinema and a museum. Open’er is a celebration of the arts which was an incredible thing to be part of. Whats more, everyone seemed to be there for the music; it wasn’t just a massive piss-up in a field like Reading and Leeds – it was more respectable, more classy…if that can be said about camping in a field? All in all it was a weekend of good music, good food and good company and I suppose I’ll always have a soft spot Open’er (despite the ridiculous amount of rules and regulations – they do need to chill out a bit on that.)

opener

“a celebration of the arts”

Ben Grundy:

The second the infamous lemon posters were spotted around Manchester. I knew this was something I couldn’t miss. Stone Roses. Saturday Night. Manchester. From that alone, you know this was special. Never before had I got my hands on gig tickets already certain of the night which was in store – as long as there wasn’t ANOTHER feud – which thankfully there was not.

Support came from Public Enemy – absolute heroes themselves – and they brought along classics such as ‘Harder than you think’ and ‘Fight the power’. They also chucked in covers of ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ which really got the crowd excited.

“flares were out in force”

My heart leapt the moment the intro to ‘I wanna be adored’ kicked in and the band came on stage. For me, Stone Roses’ debut album is one of the best debut albums ever made and to see it played before my eyes was something else. The crowd responded with similar enthusiasm. As expected, flares were out in force. The crowd soon became a loud murky sea of yellow and blue as the band rolled effortlessly through timeless tracks such as ‘Sally Cinnamon’ and ‘Waterfall’. During ‘Fools Gold’, the band’s musicality shone through. The band remained as musically tight as ever. Even new songs, such as ‘All for one’ were welcomed alongside the likes of ‘Love Spreads’ and ‘Made of Stone’. In fact, this was the perfect environment for a song such as ‘All for One’. Though it may not be revolutionary musically, it just worked when you’ve got tens of thousands of people chanting the catchy chorus in unison.

The evening came to a close with ‘This is the one’ and ‘I am the resurrection’. These final songs sent the crowds into new levels of ecstasy. By this point, there wasn’t anyone in the audience without a dry throat – aside from those crazy enough to leave midway through to relinquish £5 in exchange for a small bottle of Heineken. The flares turned the Etihad Stadium into almost a canvas with Ian Brown as the artist. The atmosphere was unbeatable and unforgettable for everyone in attendance and one which I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

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