People seemed to be travelling from far and wide for the special Easter Saturday event, funny then that the drive from Crewe was probably quicker than the queue to get into the purpose built venue. As with most things like this, sheer excitement for what was set to be a big day kept us going, plus it didn’t seem so bad when I heard the three street, two hour queue horror stories from people later in the day (and even the odd complaint the day after on Facebook of people with advance tickets being turned away due to overselling).
Once in we were greeted with a token system for drinks which looked at least to speed things up later in the day, I don’t think anyone was happy to find it was one token – £3.50 value – to put a coat in the cloakroom, especially when the venue had urged us to bring coats as a cold evening was predicted. But back to the afternoon: Luna City Express and The Martinez Brothers were the first we caught at the smaller stage and they’d read what the crowd wanted perfectly, house music that a babies bum would be jealous of and enough turns in the setlist to keep it fresh and exciting.
Now if I continue in chronological order you’re going to get as bored as I did of queues, so I’m just letting it all out now: There were queues for everything, a queue for the main room which you had to leave if you needed the toilet or more tokens, a queue for the bar, and I mean a big dirty half an hour queue, and finally the last queue for the afterparty proved to be the last straw on the camel’s back, standing for an hour in confusion to what’s going on really dampened the mood. And if I’m honest the mood that led up this point really hadn’t justified the sixty odd pound price tag, there are small festivals around Europe for that price.
The main arena was a little disappointing, the visual mapping on the railway arches was a nice touch but the stage and arena failed to hide the drudgery of a seemingly industrial part of the city. Kerry Chandler’s old school vibes had everyone moving but it lacked that certain something that other venues have, three quarters into Jamie Jones’ set, which was smooth but for his recent accolades a little lacking at points, we left for a nicer time with some questionable locals in a nearby pub.
Reenergised we decided to push on and brave the afterparty, and what a good choice that was. How Circo Loco calculated their pricing I don’t know, as the afterparty ticket was considerably cheaper and also considerably better. Robert James played what was for me the set of the night, dark and melodic afterparty tech house that had people cutting holes in the wall to sneak in for a glimpse. It meant enough for many to carry on partying with Hot Natured until the tender hour of 7am.
It was nice that a series of unorganised events eventually led to a cat being pulled out of the bag, it was a siamese cat with an ugly, unorganised twin attached to it but at least it was a cat. Sadly I couldn’t help but feel like there another fat cat laughing somewhere in a bath tub full of cash though.