Saturday, 8 February 2014

Pangaea @ Manchester Academy, 25.01.14

This was the ninth occurrence of Europe’s largest student-run festival contained within the Manchester student empire between the two founded venues of Academy 1 and 2. A rather appropriate setting for the misty northwest metropolis was constructed overnight in the form of the Lost City, Atlantis.

More elaborate constructions by Mad Ferret Productions included a mechanised tortoise clad pavilion and submarine hub DJ booth. The student hand was still apparent throughout, however, with reams of tissue paper bunting and hybrid-umbrella jellyfish decorating the Club Academy.

Fortunate enough to be given a site tour alongside a previous General Secretary of the University, and founder of the festival itself, I was lectured about the original bohemian ideals of the event. Ones, which to much disappointment, have been lost “among professional production staff and undesirable clientele”. I can’t say I share any such sentiment, as my experience of the event has been somewhat constant throughout its bi-annual lifetime, despite the ever-cultivating set list.

Amongst said line-up was Clean Bandit. I say Clean Bandit, however only three of the quartet were present, not including the additional vocalists. Unfortunately the absent member was none other than master of all traits Jack Patterson, the bass/sax/deck/keyboard player, with whom the soul of the band and arguably their success hinges. Perhaps this is a Clean Bandit lite version available at a fraction of the cost. They certainly sounded like it.

Across in Academy 2, at the helm of an illuminated plywood submarine, emerged Kidnap Kid. A man not unknown to Now Then’s pages, and one who has celebrated a more than deserved run of form over the past year. He began with a timid intro, unfamiliar in the age of crowd pleasing egocentric DJs, inferring his character as a perfectionist and fine purveyor of upcoming music, perhaps too delicate for the 5,000 fervent students who had made it to 2am.

Manchester’s Madam X was a particular highlight in Rubadub’s Academy 3. Her talents as a DJ were complemented by an onstage entourage of MCs and what can only be described as a harem of bedroom dancers. Her hybrid take on the brash scenes of garage and grime come out as a surprising delight.

Hot Chip was the festival’s headliner. However they failed to instil too much awe in a relatively laboured DJ set that did not parallel live acts for which they are known.

Words: Charles Veys
Photos: Harry Readhead.

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