Manchester AfterDark

Manchester AfterDark

Roger Sanchez at Venus - July 19th 2013

We last wrote a review on Venus over two and a half years ago. A lot can change in clubland during that length of time. Entire music policies can be put in place, be scrapped and replaced. Venus is owned and managed by dedicated club industry personnel with a long-vested interest in presenting entertainment to a loyal Saturday night crowd. Friday nights are a different story though. They can be notoriously hard to fill. For any club, including popular venues.

So this summer we are seeing promoters staging parties at Venus that are designed to bring in the crowds. Big time. One of the immediate points we noticed is that an A-list star behind the decks translated to a rise in the ticket and door prices compared to what Venus regulars might be accustomed to. Would this impact the attendance?

Arriving shortly after midnight, we found the usual buzz around the street-level entrance. The promoter, the door staff, the people waiting to enter, the smokers in their yard - all contributing to the atmosphere. Once in, any doubts about ticket costs driving down numbers were dispelled. The place is heaving in the summer night's heat. Despite this, we get dealt with at the bar fairly swiftly. Venus has three bars that ensure the queue is never more than two deep. If it gets that way, move to another bar, preferably the one in the back room.

To the back room, and the focus in which is verbal rather than physical, but that doesn't dissuade a good few from making their own dance space in front of the booth. The reliable run of classic, funky, vocal house remixes provided the soundtrack, in case anybody was concerned that the main room's tracks might be out of their comfort zone. But there's no denying quality and if you love a rich-bodied, slightly fruity house set, Roger S has literally decades of experience to draw on and make sure the demand is supplied.

Over to the main room. Find your space, claim it, get comfortable. It can be irritating just how restless and fidgety clubbers can get. We often wonder, just where are some people going to and from, seemingly constantly?. We've always preferred to find a good spot, not too loud, or quiet, with enough room to dance and to own it for a couple of hours or more. Smart thing to do? Find a spot that doesn't attract traffic. Maybe against a wall. Avoid Danceus Interruptus and try not to be the cause of any. At little care and respect goes a long way to ensuring that everyone has a good night.

The Roger Sanchez event attracts more of a mixed crowd than we've seen in the club before. Music aficionados in their funky print t-shirts, glamour pusses in their heels, gym addicts with their vests and tans. It's a good mix, because a variety of styles means an interesting mix of personalities. And plenty of people-watching opportunities.

The headliner begins his set at 2am, and there's pretty much a stampede, as much as hundreds can stampede when they're already shoulder to shoulder, for the main room. If there's one thing we could wish for at an event this big, it's that Venus' main room and its dancefloor were bigger. Roger's sets can go one of two ways. They can be quite European, very Ibiza-styled like his set in August 2012 at Sankeys was. Or, they can be filled with tracks that fit a classic house imprint, but are a bit tech, a little deep, a touch tribal and are tough and lean in places. Thankfully, and bearing in mind that the former isn't what we'd expect to hear at Venus, he goes for the latter, drumming up the best atmosphere we've witnessed in a Mancunian club this summer so far. On leaving we get the smoking area again, and it's a social scene all of its own. Too loud in the club to chat? Hit the smoking area, or the back room.

We hope for more of the same from Venus. Variations in house music styles? Big name guests? Evolution through musical experimentation? Yes please. It'll spread the word about the venue, shatter a few old conceptions and keep things dynamic. As a bonus - no ringing in the ears later that Saturday, even after standing near the speakers. Seems the sound is optimised for clarity and not to simply blow your eardrums.


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