Soul Out @ Mint Lounge, Friday 18th April 2008 - Review 1
Review - T2 Bad
After attending the previous Soul Out event at the Mint Lounge back in February, I was eagerly anticipating the April offering just to experience that oh so rare Soul atmosphere once again!!
I’m not going to baffle you with superlatives, Friday was flippin’ freezing and the parking situation near the Mint Lounge was back to its usual frustrating best, as the only space available for miles around was just about big enough to fit a mountain bike in!!!!
You should have seen the crowd I attracted as I spent the best part of 10 minutes trying to park…..well as they say everyone is famous for 15 minutes, I just didn’t reckon I’d use up two thirds of my “famous time” trying to park a car!!!!!
On entering the Mint Lounge I was greeted by Mike Stephens who seemed a little stressed; he had that “Promoter’s Look” about him!!! He was getting his head pecked by Michelle a mutual friend of ours, I don’t know what it was all about, but being a “true” friend I didn’t hang about to share his head pecking and just left them both to it!!! The first thing to hit me when I arrived was that the venue wasn’t as full as the February event. There was a good enough atmosphere though, and the Mint Lounge was filling up nicely all the same. I found myself a good vantage point whilst I acclimatised to Soul Out and immediately got into the Manchester Head Nod mode!!!!
It was fast approaching 1am and I was starting to feel a little restless. Soul Out just seemed to be ambling along aimlessly and the feeling of restlessness wasn’t just confined to me as you could just feel it in the air. A change is as good as a rest so I went outside for a change of scenery and spent 10 minutes talking to Trevor an old friend of mine. During the time I was out there, I saw at least 15 people leaving the venue which only confirmed the feeling of malaise that I was experiencing. When the cold had sunk through to my bones, I decided to go back inside and it was only then that my mate Trevor revealed that he and the four friends he had come with were actually leaving too and he’d only stopped to speak to me!!! This was not the night I was expecting whatsoever!!!
When I got back to the main arena I tried to analyse what was wrong with the night and then it suddenly dawned on me. Alex Badass was still playing and throughout most of his set he was playing late 80’s - early 90’s remixes of early 80’s classic Rare Grooves. For example imagine the Jones Girls “All Night Long” classic being played but with the Hi-Tempo drum pattern from Alyson Williams’ “Sleep Talk” over the top of it, well this and tens of tracks like it were being played back-to-back non-stop since I’d arrived!!! To be honest it was doing a lot of people’s collective heads in, so much so that I spotted a friend of mine called Tiffany leaving with the party of nine that she was with and it wasn’t even 1.30am. She stated that it was the torrent of “Snide” remixes (as she called it) that had made them all decide to leave early and call it a night!!! I fully understood what she meant, maybe one or two of the remixes would have been appropriate, but not an endless stream of them!!!!
I then spotted Mike Stephens who had been seemingly released from his door strife, moving through the crowd and toward the stage. He duly took to the turntables and immediately turned what had now become a tiresome night into something like we were all expecting when we first arrived. Mike played a near flawless set of Soul classics old and new which put the night back on track for most but not for some as sometimes it’s difficult to drag yourself from the brink!!!
Anyway I busied myself by gauging people’s reactions to the night so far and whilst doing so, I had the great pleasure of finally meeting Soul Control's intrepid reviewer Neil and Mrs Neil too!!! We spoke at length on all things Soul and I'm glad to say that with such a knowledgeable fella contributing to the nations favourite information & entertainment website, the future of Manchester's Soul scene will be safe in his hands!!!! It was also great to meet up with my good friends Sonia and Susan and also Rebecca, Tina and Joanne. I'm also glad to report that I finally bump into "Uncle Festa" the Mint Lounge’s resident sound engineer and was able to put the shine to the name!! And oh before I forget, the sound system sounded heavy-weight again!!!!
With half an hour or so to go, Alex returned to the fray and at least he kept to the pace which had been set by Mike. There were no more endless streams of remixes in his final set, but any damage which had been done earlier was now consigned to history and the night ebbed away to its conclusion.
Soul Control Verdict:
Whilst Soul Out wasn’t as full as the February event there were still more than enough people to make a proper party out of it. Don’t get me wrong, the dance floor was full most of the night, but I feel that this was in spite of the music being played earlier and not because of it. The Soul Out team are experienced enough to know how this night progressed and don’t need me to tell them, but I think in future Mike Stephens would be best advised to leave the door to someone he can trust and do what he does best and concentrate on entertaining the people who have turned out to experience Soul Out Mint Lounge!!
Soul Control Rating:
Soul Out @ Mint Lounge, Friday 18th April 2008 - Review 2
Review - Neil
It’s been a long week at work but fortunately there was something to look forward to. Yep it’s Soul Out at the Mint Lounge on a Friday night. The Mint Lounge at the moment is probably one of coolest clubs in Manchester, there are many nights held here from Jazz to Reggae, Hip-Hop, House and of course Soul. I personally love this venue because of its cool intimate ambience. The Mint Lounge is dark brown everywhere which gives the venue a touch of Soul class. It also has a decent sized dance-floor and large bar area as well.
It was a chilly but thankfully dry Friday night and me and my girlfriend set off on the Metro in search of Soul Nirvana. I always look forward to the Soul Out nights, especially at the moment because they have the two most in-form DJ’s in Alex Badass and Mike Stephens. I arrived early just after 11pm. I always get there early to get the complimentary CD at the door which usually contains a very good mix, but there are only limited copies available so that’s why you gotta get there early!!!
It was quiet early doors and most of the seats were taken up in the dance-floor area by female Soul-Heads. Mike Stephens was on rotation first and he put on a good and solid but somewhat predictable performance which consisted of mainly 90’s and Y2K grooves. There were only a few revellers to begin with, but by midnight the dance floor was becoming quite full. Alex badass took over about 12.30-ish and for me he played a slightly different set to his usual fare which included more of an 80’s underground set. It was a bit too mellow for me but it was still good and the crowd enjoyed it. By 1am the venue was mostly full and I would estimate there were approximately 400 hundred ravers in there by now. The crowd on dance-floor were mainly Manchester Soul-Heads but with a mixture of the cosmopolitan Northern Quarter clubbers.
During Alex’s set I went walkabout to see who else might be at the Mint Lounge, and after getting through his security men and passing all the safety checks, I finally managed to meet Soul Control's Mr T2 Bad for the first time, the highlight of my evening for sure!! Would these nights in Manchester be possible without his hard graft in the 80’s and 90’s, who knows? I must remember to ask him what goes on near the bar area!! Social networking or are the people there just too scared to dance ha-ha!! It’s all good.
Mike Stephens took over for the Last hour and started to bring the tempo right back up with some classic dance-floor fillers. Then the last rotation took place and Alex Badass took over and brought Soul Out to a good finale. My Personal favourite track played throughout the evening was ‘I can’t get no sleep’ by Master’s at Work (MAW). Ironically MAW were at Mint Lounge earlier this year. I went to this night thinking they would play some of their Soulful classics but alas to my deep disappointment they didn’t.
Soul Out is now well established at the Mint Lounge and personally for me the night was good, but just didn’t hit me full flow, but this could be due to the long night shift I did the night before. I’d like to commend Alex Badass on trying something a bit more risky on his main set whilst still keeping dance-floor flowing. I’d like to see the boys go a bit more underground with their 90s selection instead of the Wifey’s, Georgey Porgey’s, Faith Evans, 112’s etc. Remember Soul Nation’s infamous 90’s selections? But I guess what was played on this night is what a lot of the ladies love.
Soul Control Verdict:
All the same, I have no real complaints because this night is well worth the money and so far, no knob-heads are there and the Soul Out Ravers just wanna dance. For all those Soul-heads who are doubtful of the Mint Lounge, you should give it at least one shot – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This night is not to be missed, well done to the promoters!!!
Soul Control Rating: