Since it’s inception in 2013, Nottingham’s Brickworks has established itself as a venue in which punters can escape the predictability of city centre nights out. It’s reputation precedes itself as a place that is happy to push forward thinking, cutting edge electronic music. It only seems natural then, that Wigflex, the self proclaimed “region’s most buzzed about crew”, have made it their home. As a venue it is simple; one room, a decent system, reasonable bar and some quality lighting (it doesn’t take a genius to guess that the decor is mainly exposed brick).
For their first party of 2017, Wigflex chose to go full techno with a trio of kingpins. Randomer, Powell and the much revered Helena Hauff made up the headline slots, with Tusk and resident Lukas Wigflex putting in a 3 hour support shift.
It was towards the end of this shift that we made our, admittedly later than planned, entry into the venue. As we clambered down the steep stairs and wandered past the bar, with it’s enticing “The Brickworks” projection on it’s back wall, we were treated to a selection of 80’s sounding, synth pop inspired jams. With laser-esque stabs pinging around the room I could not help but be reminded of the “Drive” soundtrack. Soon after, an infamous set of piano chords rang out over the system, the mood change was almost palpable as people recognised the unmistakable ’92 classic “Sweet Harmony”. This set a clear tone for the final 20 minutes of the set, with Lukas Wigflex and Tusk trading hardcore heavy hitters in front of an encapsulated crowd.
Powell was the next to take up the mantle, and was the only artist on the night to be playing a fully live set. He showed no fear in flitting between tempos as he brought different elements in and out, masterfully controlling the mood of the room. His unique brand of post-punk techno went down a treat, the entire crowd was entranced for an hour, with everybody itching to see what he was going to do next. His set was peppered with classic Roland 303 acidy goodness, combined with complex drums and angular synth lines. The journey it took us on is perhaps best illustrated by his need to remove layers of clothing throughout as the energy built.
A brief silence followed the culmination of Powell’s set, the tension in the room grew as the crowd waited for Randomer to step up. On he came, and my word did he deliver a blinder of a set. It began on more of a house flavoured vibe, with four to the floor kicks and synth-based arpeggios hammering out of the system. As time ticked on he gradually got heavier and heavier, throwing out classic bangers such as The Prodigy’s Full Throttle. The true highlight though was the Ben UFO pushed Rectum, by Fango. The cowbell pierced through the room and put a smile on everyone’s face, creating a feeling of complete euphoria. The entire room was dancing throughout the set, as Randomer took us on a gradual journey through his tastes. Throwing in mad, half-time clangers and enormous heavy hitting stompers, he truly delivered on the night.
The crowning jewel of the night was the queen of techno, Helena Hauff. She began at pace, delivering her signature brand of energetic industrial techno. It was the kind of set that you just could not draw yourself away from, even fetching a drink seemed like an utter waste of time. She truly is an exemplary DJ, incredibly adept at reading a crowd. The highlight of her set, for me anyway, came in the form of MPIA3’s Acid Badger, the R&S released track had a significant effect and didn’t fail to make anyone move.
I will always maintain that the mark of a genuinely excellent night is the room being packed all the way through, from entry until our bleary eyed, drunken stumble out of the venue, this was completely true. At no point did we get the impression that the crowd wasn’t on board with what the artists were doing. Swinging jaws and wide eyes were abound, but the atmosphere was pretty special. For a few hours early on a Saturday morning it was completely possible to forget the world for a while, and revel in exactly what we love about dance music.
Information on Wigflex's next event with Max Cooper can be found HERE
© All images courtesy of Tom Comery