Review: Canal Mills hosts Ten Walls, KiNK + more
Fans of the tech-house scene flocked to Leeds’ Canal Mills, to spend their Saturday night serenaded by heavy weights Ten Walls (live), Simian Mobile Disco and KiNK (live), amongst others, hosted by Resident Advisor. Up until this point I was a virgin to the wonders of Canal Mills—and I couldn’t have asked for a better night to pop my cherry. Here’s my experience of the night.
Perhaps too early, we turned up at the end of the opening set, joining about 20 devoted fans of Canal Mills’ regulars, People Get Real. Awkwardly gravitating towards the bar, I got a chance to really appreciate the the venue itself, noticing the the quirky aesthetics giving character to an otherwise basic warehouse set up. Jasper James took the reigns and successfully attempted to get a reasonably static crowd moving. By the end of his set, the crowd was expanding, pupils were dilating and the subwoofers were vibrating.
At midnight, Oneman took over playing, armed with a diverse selection of dubstep, moderate drum and bass, garage, and house bangers. I wasn’t a huge fan to begin with, so took to the smoking area to escape the dubstep and grab a bit of fresh air. After a bit of friendly chit chat, the music was following at a more consistent beat and I found myself at the hands of Oneman’s upbeat and quick mixing techniques that got the crowd really going. An hour later, Magnetic Man member Artwork was keeping the full house animated and in high spirits. I found myself spending this hour bolting around the venue meeting some awesome people and immersing myself in the energy of the crowd.
When his set ended, the lights dimmed and the atmosphere was immediately engulfed in a somewhat tense moment of anticipation. We were primed and ready to admit ourselves to the mercy of Marijus Adomaitis— AKA—Ten Walls. From silence the legendary horns of Requiem roared unrestrained from the sound system, the visuals lit up, and the crowd followed—exploding in excitement. Serotonin was at its zenith, and the crowd was feasting upon the enchantment of a live performance. Requiem, Gotham and Walking with Elephants captured concertgoers in an hypnotic state of trance and dance. Adomaitis seemed to be enjoying his set and the crowd’s energy, creating extended build ups and teasing the crowd before unleashing heavy drums and bass lines. Ten Walls certainly lived up to expectations as number five on Resident Advisor’s Top Live Acts list.
Before I knew it, Ten Wall’s hour long performance ended and the boys who make up Simian Mobile Disco preserved the crazy atmosphere with the carefully selected DJ set, encompassing techno and house. Their bodies bounced in sync with the music, masterfully maintaining total authority over the room, setting a pace for us party goers to dance to. Most of the music they played was new to me, which created a completely different dynamic than my experience from Ten Walls’ set—music I was very familiar with. I was transfixed by the unusual sounds—tones that were at times ambient and at times powerful; finding myself with my eyes closed, I was seduced by the music. Throughout their set, the energy was highly kinetic and the room was alive—a perfect framework that paved a passage to the climax of the night, a live set by house royalty, KiNK.
The first thing I noticed when KiNK inherited the stage was a big smile on his face, and straight away I was confident this was going to be a fun, vibrant and well-received live performance. Within minutes he was engaging with the audience, meticulously commanding a range of electronic consoles, teasing us with sounds that were produced right in front of us. The upbeat chords mixed flawlessly with a beat, and the house was loving it. He was a maestro in electrifying the crowd through his musical and live techniques. The crowd was ignited by the high-octane rendition of house music that is unique to his performance; forget laptop producers, this was electronic music in its purest form. When 5am hit, and KiNK’s performance came to a climactic end, I (and I can confidently speak for the house), was left in a state of awe—greedy for more. KiNK lived up to expectations as Resident Advisor’s third top live act.
Apologies for the quality of the video.
My only criticism of the night is founded on the length of the acts. I felt—with particular attention to the live performances—that they deserved at least 2 hours each to fully develop a full live performance. I assume this came down to the last minute closure of the second room, for reasons I suspect come down to a lack of ticket sales that didn’t fulfil the 1200 capacity.
As a newcomer to Canal Mills, and—for the most part—a newcomer to live electronic performances, I was blown away. The venue was big enough to create the idea of a large rave like atmosphere while maintaining the intimacy to connect with the music. Superb night put on by Resident Advisor and Canal Mills. 5/5.
Here’s a recorded live set from KiNK at Moscow’s Boiler Room.