- If you're not particularly vigilant in your search for a good night out, you might find yourself deciding between the stool of a suburban wine bar and the back of a queue to a multi-story superclub. Conveniently, for Manchester, taking your friends to the most understated venue in the city does not involve complex menus, urban trekking or negotiating with po-faced bouncers. Hop off the bus where the main road meets the train tracks and avail yourself to Joshua Brooks, a modest brick-walled basement with six club nights a week.
The starting gun for the most recent Limbo party was fired by the relatively fresh-faced 5eighty6, who laid out some cast-iron techno punctuated with smooth, well-organised drops. This was a heavy start for a half-filled dance floor, but the act gradually settled into a more persuasive ushering-along kind of rhythm that seemed to catch the crowd's attention beat by beat. By the time Fran Fitzgerald and Matt Henshaw strolled onto the scene, people were looking bright eyed and ready for action. The pair were not afraid to be liberal with the bass, using it as an emergency exit to stage presence. The basement that housed them could be ten times as big for the atmosphere being provided, yet the night remained exquisitely intimate.
The sound system was surprisingly clear and bright for its size, capable of providing us with a full-spectrum ethereal blast, just before our hosts took to the decks, Limbo founders Tez Perez and Danny Hevingham of H2. They provided a set that was measured, relaxed and intentional. They clearly had fans in the crowd, because they were greeted by whoops and cheers. It was then time for Edu Imbernon, who was visiting from Valencia and playing the role of hero-in-waiting for those who've come to hear the latest Iberian export. He lived up to his publicity; there was an aura of dark intensity about him and his dead set eyes hardly left the screens he'd assigned himself to. A pair of CDJs sat unused while Imbernon worked on a laptop, touch screen tablet and mixer. For a long time the crowd was unified, and there was a harmony that flowed around the room while the Spanish jock made use of well-timed bass and surgical yet artistic samples.
Then disaster struck—Imbernon's set crashed not once but three times in succession. The crowd looked on in a silent prayer, desperate for salvation. Some looked around at the increasingly odd scene emerging from a full, but silent dance floor. Then, after sympathetically working up cheers and clapping to fill an uncanny valley in the set, the audience were bathed once again in rhythm for the final half hour, Imbernon finishing with his progressive remix of The xx's "Crystalised." There's nothing quite like a happy ending.