It's (nearly) Christmas, as Noddy Holder endlessly bellows each and every year, and Manchester is keeping it classy right until the big day, with a perhaps unseasonal but very welcome dollop of offbeat and techno music over the weekend, from the wintry ressurection of cult night SMS, meandyou at its brain-frying best and fresh electronics from new night, Grey Area.
After seven years of Thursdays, Stop Making Sense, Common’s former weekly seance of electronic and alternative music from all corners, came to an end this summer. Fortunately, two of the team behind SMS - Seb Valentine and Benatronic - still reappear with their golden bags of wax discs and hastily burned CDs when the occasion arises. And what greater occasion than Christmas, when ‘the lads’ (perhaps even including the mysterious DJ 100%) will be seeing off the working season with five hours of recently purchased soundtracks to revelry and some stone gold SMS classics.
The Meandyou Christmas Party - Friday, Soup Kitchen, Stevenson Square, £7
After several years settled in the basement of Soup Kitchen (bar the occasional excursion to, say, the basement of a Greek restaurant), meandyou remains one of the finest techno and house nights in the UK, and their annual Christmas party is always worth a visit. Eschewing the usual guest format to focus on the team of residents - Alexander Taber, Herron, Juniper, Andrew Lyster and some bloke called Joy Orbison - expect uncompromising cuts from techno’s true underground, both atmospheric and acidic. For a taste of what to expect, you can listen to the latest edition of their monthly radio show on London’s cult NTS here.
Grey Area - Saturday, Joshua Brooks, Princess Street, £10
Deep, minimal techno is the order of the evening at new techno event Grey Area, the latest promoter to take full advantage of Joshua Brooks’ relentless and thumping Void soundsystem. Hailing from Frankfurt, Monoloc’s music is often laced with dark vocal elements and has found favour and popularity through Chris Leibing’s acclaimed and highly sought label, CLR. He’s joined by former Manchester resident Cleric, who has spent this year cracking the Berlin scene, having played in both Tresor and Berghain, so expect a huge homecoming reaction for this singularly focused artist. Sheffield duo Tandem will warm up the floor, joined by Grey Area resident Josh O’Donovan.