With the UK’s nightclubs coming under renewed threat, Getintothis’ Ste Knight examines the underground dance scene centred in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle warehouse district and finds it thriving.
This week, a somewhat alarming report from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers stated that in the past 10 years, the UK on a whole has lost almost half of its nightclubs. It is obvious to all why this has happened – people have less money, can’t afford to go out drinking and can’t afford to pay their cover on the door. So they stay in. Simple.
However, despite this the whole underground dance music scene in Liverpool is rising like a Liver Bird from the ashes – and not in the manner or the location that you might expect. It certainly makes one question exactly what kind of club the AMLR is monitoring because the underground dance scene in Liverpool is booming.
The cyclical nature of clubbing and dance music in general has seen this resurgence happening not in the city centre as you may have thought, but on the outskirts in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle – what was once a run-down-desolate area full of abandoned warehouses and the like has now embraced the burgeoning dance community in what appears to have been a somewhat symbiotic relationship. These old warehouses are perfect places to hold club nights – they’re dark, grimy and sweaty and out-of-the-way. Similarly the music these nights play is perfectly suited to being played in big open rooms where audience members can feel surrounded by the sounds emanating from the powerful sound systems.
In recent years the Baltic Triangle has seen numerous venues pop up in various locations a mere stone’s throw from one another, breathing life into the area. It has become somewhat of a hub for ‘those in the know’ to socialize in countless colourful, vibrant spaces. On top of the coffee shops, breweries, bars and creative spaces, we’ve been treated to several venues primed to host dance music. We have Camp and Furnace, The Garage and Constellations on Greenland Street, New Bird Street Warehouse on (yep, you guessed it) New Bird Street, 24 Kitchen Street and District which itself has seen numerous reincarnations having previously been the venue for the infamous Picket.
It seems perfect that the Baltic scene has become what it is now. The nightlife of Liverpool is no longer restricted to the centralised area that holds the majority of the city’s venues. This almost ‘splinter’ scene attracts a diverse crowd which makes it an ideal place for those seeking to indulge themselves in something out of the ordinary. Enclosed outdoor spaces have become beer gardens where one can try out a multitude of real ales, or gin gardens where you can enjoy the old mother’s ruin in various connotations. Likewise the indoor locations play host to explosive parties and performances that, with only a couple of notable exceptions, simply wouldn’t feel the same anywhere else.
So we now know what the Baltic scene is all about, how the area has transformed into a real hipster hub and dancehead’s delight. Check out Getintothis’ comprehensive guide to the underground club nights on offer in the new jewel in Liverpool’s nightlife crown.
Freeze has become a name synonymous with holding some of the coolest underground dance events the city has to offer.
Bringing in DJs from all corners of the globe the night has hosted a variety of different house and techno acts, all of whom bring something a little different to the decks when they perform – the likes of Nina Kraviz, John Digweed and Friendly Fires have all graced the booth.
They regularly push the envelope where venues are concerned too, having seen shindigs in the Bombed Out Church and Newsham Park Asylum, although where the Baltic area is concerned they can be found knocking about in the New Bird Street Warehouse.
Held (most often) at Haus in Camp and Furnace, Waxxx is a club night which offers an incredible amount of variety in what they do.
Be it 90s parties featuring masked rave stalwarts Altern-8, or monster techno sets from the legend Jeff Mills, you can rest assured that a banging night is guaranteed.
The inviting thing about Waxxx is that they don’t take themselves too seriously, there’s definitely zero pretentiousness surrounding their events – everyone involved just wants to have a blast, and that’s what this clubbing game is all about.
Rubix started out at Camp and Furnace and has grown at an exponential rate since.
Best known for hosting some seriously low down and dirty club nights featuring the cream of the techier side of dance music’s underground, they’ve now moved their venue to District and they’ve been pulling in some fantastic names like &Me, Mark Fanciulli and Reset Robot.
Location hoppers 303 have hosted nights in all manner of spaces. Bringing us the best in techno, the 303 guys really know how to lift the roof no matter what the venue.
When they’re hosting nights in the Baltic area they are to be found at Constellations and forthcoming Halloween is set to be no different as they’ve befittingly secured techno and electroclash legend DJ Hell to play.
We recently did an extended review of Luna and Motion’s collaborative event at Constellations and The Garage which saw some top-notch DJing from all manner of different genres, and what a fantastic party it was.
With their roots in underground house, tech-house and techno, Luna really know how to pull an awesome roster together and program their nights to perfection.
Detlef, Stephan Bodzin and Luna Semara have all played here and pulled off some outstanding sets at Luna nights and there’ll undoubtedly be more to come.
The Wonder Pot
A brand new night which is hitting sixes from the off, The Wonder Pot is looking to set the decks at 24 Kitchen Street on fire.
Featuring some rather tasty looking underground electronic acts The Wonder Pot is definitely threatening to spill its contents all down your front. Upcoming sets from Warp Records’ finest electro-hop monger Jimmy Edgar, Pearson Sound and Pangaea and Kyle Hall means that The Wonder Pot are definitely one to keep a peeled eye on.
Wub-wub lovers everywhere can rejoice as Hot Plate are one of the few underground nights in Liverpool that concentrate their efforts on promoting the more bass-heavy side of dance music, blasting out brown sound from their home in 24 Kitchen Street.
Dubstep, dub, reggae, dancehall, jungle, drum and bass – you name it – if the bottom end is the main focus you can rest-assured that Hot Plate are going to get that bass right in your face.
Look out for their upcoming night featuring bass legend Zed Bias. There’ll be earthquakes across the city.
Techno is the order of the day when the Modu:lar crew are in town. Inhabiting Haus for their indoor events and Constellations for their outdoor events.
Built on a sense of community for people of like mind, Modu:lar brings some rather fine underground techno DJs to the Baltic area and there seems to be no stopping them as they bring D’Julz to the city in September.
If bass heavy Sundays are your cup of rum then head down to Constellations for Sessions Faction Sunday Session.
The Sessions boys and girls put a great emphasis on drum and bass, hip hop, garage and dub and they really know how to throw a thunderous party – perfect for spending a sunny Sunday afternoon.
The Sessions Faction parties always feature some immense local underground acts. Bass go boom!
Peach, held at The Garage in Liverpool, is coming up to its 4th birthday and its techno all the way for these guys.
Boasting a monster Function One sound system, The Garage shutters are regularly sent rattling by insanely heavy kick drums.
Past events have included Boris Werner, Pig & Dan and Reset Robot, but keep on the lookout for their aforementioned 4th Birthday as Nicole Moudaber and Carlo Lio are in the booth.
A trademark sound of quality house & techno has seen mUmU become a regular fixture in New Bird Street.
Anja Schneider, Pan-Pot and Ben Klock have all greased the wheels for mUmU and with their impressive programming the line-up for their fast approaching collaboration with Club Freeze, 48 hours in Liverpool, the mUmU crew are unstoppable right now.
So, there we have it – a comprehensive guide to where to go to dance your little pants off in the Baltic area. Never say Getintothis don’t give you nice things!
Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters.