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DJs based in Manchester have set a new world record for the largest b2b relay, last Thursday 18th April.
An astonishing 182 local DJs took part, significantly higher than the 160 hoped for, each coming with one pre-selected track they had to declare before arriving to prevent duplicates. Each subsequent DJ then cued, mixed, and faded out their track. The DJs who participated include DJ Luke Unabomber, ex-snooker professional Steve Davis and Human Traffic actor Shaun Parkes.
The old soap factory in a once-forgotten corner of England’s former-industrial capital must be lauded for its longevity, charting the rise, fall, and resurgence of Manchester’s club culture since 1994. Spanning 22 years of parties, with closures, re-openings, and a few redesigns thrown in to the mix, over the last 12 months Sankeys has retained its reputation as a powerful weekly magnet for anyone who enjoys dark rooms, loud speakers, and grade-A bookings.
Which is no mean feat. Its hometown is currently in rude health when it comes to all-night options, from small basement sessions to newly opened, purpose-built venues. Nevertheless, there’s not a local resident who doesn’t have a story to tell about this particular spot, with more added every Friday and Saturday.
A refreshingly simple layout involves a low-ceilinged, brick clad main room neither too big nor too small, usually reserved for tougher rhythms, and a lighter upstairs typified by less muscular tones, albeit there are no hard and fast rules here. Other than the quality of guests; Surgeon, Todd Terry, MJ Cole, Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, Kerri Chandler, Nina Kraviz, Derrick May, and Huxley were amongst 2015’s highlights.
A conspicuous absence in last year's poll, Sankeys MCR is back where it belongs after re-opening its doors, after taking six months out towards the end of 2013. Since, the grubby old soap factory with booming sound and a cheerful crowd in the Northern Quarter has continued to do what it does best, bringing top-quality dance music to Manchester, since first opening its doors as Sankeys Soap all of 20 years ago. Tribal Sessions has re-emerged under the auspices of Darius Syrossian, while Music Is Love, with its associated label, has sought to attract only house and techno to the city.
Upstairs Spektrum, and its Watergate-inspired LED panelled ceiling, is as carefree as they get and Sankeys' notorious basement, with its overhead fluoro-strips and Phazon soundsystem, is still one of the UK's best loved rooms, by clubbers and DJs alike. Just ask Sante. “I totally love the vibe in the basement. The combination of that big soundsystem with a real energetic crowd is always a winner,” he says.
In a town where The Warehouse Project is flexing its muscles, Sankeys MCR has, thankfully, maintained a far more personal touch.
In what was one of the best PR campaigns we've seen in recent years, Levelz - a collective of MCs, DJs and producers hailing from Manchester - drove down to London in a stretch Hummer for a special 2 hour show on Rinse FM.