Following Tony Wilson’s death in August of last year, interest in the Hacienda nightclub and all things Madchester has swelled.
What was once a shambolically run, zeitgeist shaping den of hedonism is now an internationally recognised brand, featured on record compilations, club tours, T-shirts and countless other pieces of merchandise. Peter Hook owns the rights to both the Hacienda name and its accompanying Factory catalogue number, FAC 51, which is probably the shrewdest investment that he’s ever made. However, there lies a danger that every time the Hacienda bandwagon is rolled out that it edges ever closer to becoming a diluted nostalgia tour. Music, clubbing and Manchester itself are all virtually indistinguishable from what existed in the Late ’80s/Early ’90s, so what’s to be gained from re-visiting a club that hasn’t even been open for eleven years? The answer, as ably illustrated by tonight’s warehouse party, is a bloody good time for all.
Located in a cavernous underground car park, beneath Piccadilly train station, the Hacienda Warehouse Party is a riotous one off celebration that adopts the carefree rebellious attitude of the original venue and successfully marries it to contemporary club culture. Relics from a bygone age – drapes, video footage, projections, the infamous yellow and black colour scheme – are all displayed throughout the venue, as is a giant glitter ball hanging from the roof, further adding to the twisted cabaret atmosphere. Thankfully, the sound system is far superior to that ever found on Whitworth Street West, while security is notably less intimidating. The line-up, meanwhile, represents the best of the era, with Peter Hook, Shaun Ryder, A Guy Call Gerald, 808 State, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering all on board to faithfully recreate the period.
The highlight of the night has to be 808 State making their first full live appearance in Manchester for over five years. Playing a seamless set of techno and more break-beat orientated material they raise the roof with classics like In Yer Face, Timebomb, Cubik and a euphoric run through Pacific State. A preceding live performance by A Guy Called Gerald also manages to sets pulses racing, with the man repeatedly teasing punters by dropping the vocal from Voodoo Ray only to return to a tech-heavy acid house set.
Manning the decks when we arrive around eleven, Peter Hook also proves himself to be more than up to the task, playing a crowd-pleasing mix of floor fillers in an endearing punk fashion, similar in style to how he plays bass. Highlights include a heart-stopping remix of Atmosphere by Joy Division, Underworld’s Born Slippy and a totally expected, but no less enjoyable for it, Blue Monday.
Shaun Ryder’s live PA performance predictably verges on rock and roll parody, with the man – complete with what appears to be a freshly shaved Mohican – incoherently mumbling the lyrics to a selection of Happy Mondays and Black Grape songs as he snorts poppers, borrowed from the crowd. All of which just leaves former Hac residents Graeme Park and Mike Pickering to bring the night to a euphoric, sweaty close with a selection of Hacienda classics and some lesser-known tunes from the club’s heyday.
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