Baltic Block Party: Blu Haus, The Hub, The Garage, The Blade Factory, Liverpool

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Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle sees a mass electronic dance movement takeover, Getintothis’ Laurie Cheeseman and Nathaniel Courage reflect on the mania that unfolded across the city’s warehouses.


Months of planning, weeks of build up, thousands of tickets sold. The Baltic Block Party proudly raises its head above the competition on an enormous weekend for Liverpool electronic music, with Polka, Abandon Silence and Chibuku all selling out their respective events.
Taking over the Baltic Triangle for a full day of festivities running the full gamut of electronic music at the end of the academic year is an inspired idea; it should have been done long before. But still, this is the first installation of (hopefully) many more to come. Some people have been looking forward to this day for a long time, more excited about the evening and night time antics than a four-year-old at Christmas. With a line up that only got more exciting with each wave of announcements, how could you not be?
It’s surprisingly busy at 5pm considering none of the big names were due to start until 6. But, as is the standard we guess when trying to co-ordinate a large amount of DJs with tight schedules and no sound checks, nothing quite goes to plan as Congo Natty arrives late. However, all is forgiven as with even just one working deck he manages to get the part started in fine style, even if he is down-pressed by Babylon for doing that thing Rastas do after dropping Bob Marley.
However, it gets a little too much very quickly – the Blade Factory is close and muggy at the best of times, and when old school jungle drops everyone looks like they’ve just walked out of a shower, which is cool at 5am but not half 7 in the evening.
Manchester’s Lone‘s new album is out next week, and the promo trail has deservedly elevated him towards the echelons of UK producers this year. His set falls at 8.30pm in the flagship Blu Haus venue, giving those early revellers at least a fighting chance of following those warped, WTF rhythms of his production with a mercifully sober mindset. It’s very much a 4/4 affair early on though with a steady, grooving set, until the astonishing 2013 single Airglow Fires turns those hands into fists and those gurns into grins with one of the best hooks UK electronic music has produced this decade.
Fellow Mancunian, and new Release resident Mushy gets things going in The Garage, building on his impressive collection of recent appearances In Liverpool with a confident early set. It’s easy to see why this city has taken him on as their own, and why it’s going to be increasingly difficult to hold onto him as the year progresses.
it was always going to be hard to chose between Boddika and My Nu Leng. This is one beastly timetabling clash, but following Mushy‘s set, it becomes clear that much of the night was going to be spent in the Garage – not just to avoid the monstrous queues outside but the sheer strength of the line up in there. The fact Moony/Benton and Newham Generals/Stanton Warriors are either side of My Nu Leng decides for many people where they are to spend the night.
Meanwhile on some other planet, handbags broke out in a smoking area, with some lad literally being bulldozed out one of the warehouses’ doors by a group of lads who had woken up on the wrong side of their overpriced bag of sherbet. In the grand scheme of things though these incidents do appear to be somewhat isolated. And with such a diverse crowd on an even more diverse selection of extra curricular substances, you have to give credit to the door staff and the volunteer stewards for managing to keep the peace.
Meanwhile, the techno one-two of Ben Klock and Boddika in Haus prompts some inevitable overcrowding, with girls fluttering their eyes at the bouncers in an attempt to get in on the action. And with a rider that reportedly includes several bottles of champagne, Ben Klock lives up to the label of techno royalty like a man who treats every song like driving a vintage Rolls Royce, carefully steering and caressing each beat match and segue as if they are a series of Leonard Cohen songs and not, you know, absolutely face bending techno.
It becomes difficult to tell where one DJ’s set ends and the next begins – not out of inertia or lack of identity but because the stage has such a common theme running through it the segues are seamless. Which also means the dancing never stops.
Nonetheless, My Nu Leng do remain one of the standout highlights of the night; Masterplan and Knowing (more or less) bookending their set is a stroke of genius and rarely is someone so totally in control of the crowd. Especially with the estimable Preditah x Newham Generals following them, with the ensuing chaos that everyone knows is coming and everyone wants to happen.
Boddika clearly loves Liverpool, and with at least four appearances over the last twelve months, those ‘Boddika is a scouser‘ chants make much more sense than they ought to. The original mix of Mercy makes an interesting change, with the Nonplus producer experimenting a little and going uncharacteristically deep, wary of repeating himself with his recent Nye set on these very decks undoubtedly still fresh in his mind.
It’s impossible to imagine an event like this taking place in Liverpool twelve months ago.
With the Baltic Block Party, the boys at Waxxx have unified the various factions of Liverpool electronic music – the drum & bass heads, the techno warriors, the jungle enthusiasts – and proved once more that there is a sense of community and collaboration that runs deep within this thriving scene.
The success of Baltic Block Party tonight can be traced back throughout the last two years since Waxxx moved into the Baltic Triangle, which has seen them build a dedicated following and an excellent brand through an impeccably maintained relationship with their audience.

Picture courtesy of BBP Facebook.
Further reading on Getintothis‘:
Gottwood x RBMA x Waxxx: Haus, Liverpool
Cold Booded present Randomer, Allen and Hutch, Greg Farley, Josh Hewitt: HAUS, Liverpool
Liverpool X and Getintothis presents: Baltic Fleet, Nadine Carina, Bantam Lions, Kalax: HAUS, Liverpool
Summercamp with Mount Kimbie, Martha Wainwright, Ghostpoet and more comes to Baltic Triangle
Getintothis’ albums of 2014 so far: Half term report from Liverpool’s writers on the block.
Liverpool Music Week 2014: Caribou, Mogwai, Wild Beasts headline city spectacular
Liverpool bands line up for Brazil World Cup 2014.
Forest Swords: From Norse sacrifices to Smooth FM and making the follow up to Engravings.
Twilight Sad to play cult debut album in full in Liverpool.
LIMF 2014: By The Sea, Baltic Fleet & more set for Getintothis & Bido Lito! stage in Sefton Park.
LightNight Liverpool 2014: Cathedral, Black-E, FACT, St Luke’s Churchpicture gallery.

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