Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hit & Run presents: Machinedrum @ NQ Live, 04.02.13

Machinedrum is one of those rare, sickeningly talented musicians who seem to be able to effortlessly churn out great work in any manner they see fit, which is fantastic for bass music fans. On 4th February it proved most beneficial to those attending Hit & Run, Manchester's long-standing stalwart of bass-heavy beats, where Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) came to town for a rare live set.

I travelled through incredibly torrential rain to reach the steps down to NQ Live. As can often be the case with cutting edge Manchester nights (and it pains me to say this), it was a bit of a disappointing turn-out – although I would bet they could have doubled the attendance had the heavens stayed closed. Fortunately enough, everyone in attendance was very much up for a dance.

I walked into the final funked-out tunes of Brunks and Naked Swing – these guys have been pushing boundaries with their night Heavy Rain and have big things planned for future months. Next up was Jonny Dub, Lord of Hoya:Hoya and arguably the most versatile DJ in Manchester – this man could make waves in a vacuum! He packed a full trip round the houses into his hour set, keeping a high level of energy throughout and with heavy hip hop beats lurking round every corner. Top, top stuff.

Before the main man was to step up it was the turn of Now Wave to take control. Manchester's boundary pushing gig promoters, as it transpired, aren't too shabby on the decks either; hammering it right from the start with the Mak & Pasteman remix of Disclosure's ‘What’s in your head’ and taking an 808 house-y slant to their set, with splashes of Swamp and a drizzle of Dusky.

By the time Machinedrum gets started the crowd is fevered and clustered around the barriers. It has to be noted that even if Hit & Run sell a night to 50 per cent capacity, you'll always find them crammed into the front 10 per cent of the venue. 808 kicks rang heavy on the Neuron Soundsystem in an attempt to force them back but the exhilaration was too much. Machinedrum's set piqued their excitement and had the floor bouncing. Playing out on an Akai MPC sampler and a midi keyboard, all linked up to Ableton, it allowed a seamless presentation of his music, from selections of his album Room(s) through to his more recent JETS collaboration with Jimmy Edgar. It’s always refreshing to see a producer whose ‘live performance’ is a little more than hunching over his laptop and appearing to check emails for an hour, and this ticked the right boxes; full of energy and interaction with the crowd.

I left sweaty and satisfied with what I had seen, Machinedrum has definitely been one of the top shows in recent months of Hit & Run, although they have much more to come in future months; including shows with Cyril Hahn. I'm definitely glad I braved the storms to get down.

Words & photography: Gary Brown, GB Multimedia.

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