Event review- Last Night On Earth @ Albert Hall, Manchester


And on this Easter Sunday, we rejoiced as the saviour was returned to us.

That saviour is, of course, Sasha, the inimitable prophet of DJ Culture (or “Son of God”, if you will Mixmag) as he ascended up north to bless the ears of his Mancunion believers with his divine mixing skills for a Last Night On Earth showcase. 

And where better for this than a converted chapel too? In association with Warehouse Project, the recently opened Albert Hall has already held several Late Night Sessions, which have been celebrated for their relaxed feel and back-to-basics rave atmosphere. Until tonight.

Dogs, a significant police presence, harassing security and a sobering minimum half-an-hour queue in the cold can’t escape comparison with WHP’s troubled last season. Those who managed to catch the closing bars of Midland’s bizarrely early set or see Ejeca at all (thanks in part to his mystifying omission from the mounted set-times) had done very well it would seem. 

For most then, only the biggest names on the bill offered any hope of salvation.

Swiss connoisseur of funk-laden techno, Deetron, offers up 90minutes of immersive bassy drops to the crowd, as the Starblazer man cracks-out the foot-stepping groove of Paul Woolford’s 2013 smash Untitled, ensuring the adrenaline pumps right through the climactic final half-hour.

Looking cool, collected and surprisingly formal in a white collared shirt, George Fitzgerald then immediately seizes the crowd’s attention with a glowering garage-infused remix of Moderat’s Bad Kingdom, before getting down to the proto-trance masterpiece of Laurent Garnier’s The Man with the Red Face. Live, the DJ’s skill becomes truly apparent as he shape-shifts through genres seamlessly, scattering entrancing rhythms at every turn and manipulating tracks frenetically as one. Exhilarating stuff.

Hard act to follow? Yup. As legendary and as relevant as Sasha still is, the headliner initially seems to lose the masses. Admittedly, Sasha isn’t all about big club bangers, but after Fitzgerald charged an electrifying current through the audience a skilled but slow build-up follows via an ill-advised selection of several pedestrian four-to-the-floor flops, which fail to sustain the tempo.

 Nevertheless, it was a marathon four hours, rather than a sprint, and the closing sections saw revived revellers home to the sound of those electronic corkscrews, textured synth-waves and plummeting drops that comprise the maestro’s stratified soundscapes. Whilst Sasha recently admitted that he often feels reluctant to include too many “golden oldies” in his set, the Photek remix of Zero 7’s Destiny and a fitting tribute to the late Frankie Knuckles with a euphoric outing of Your Love, were unexpected gems.

Some problems, but far from the end of the world, it turns out flocking to church at the first hint of the apocalyptic isn’t such a bad idea after all.