Friday night saw Rhythm Section and Ruf Kutz team up to bring Mood Hut’s Pender Street Steppers from the Canadian Riviera to the banks of Manchester’s only slightly less glamorous River Irwell. Listening to Bradley Zero’s promo mix for the dance earlier in the week – composed of tracks exclusively from the three labels involved – it’s striking how easily each can be distinguished, despite sharing so much common ground: a loose grounding in house music that pushes over and outside the genre’s edges, a Janus-like ability to sit at the forefront of contemporary sound while evoking a nostalgic sense of the genealogies that culminate within them.
In keeping with the ideology of Rhythm Section and Ruf Dug’s Dancer’s Wanted party, it was a night of back-to-back selection, with Mancunian Rhythm Section affiliates Contours and Hidden Spheres warming up the top floor of the aptly named Hidden with some jazzy, percussion-led, down-tempo jams that sat somewhere in the cross-section between house, hip-hop and boogie. Spectacular broken beat from The Sure Co. was incorporated with the exuberantly-received sounds of Moodymann’s ‘Technologystolemyvinyle’, before we joined Bradley and Ruffy in the basement for a London-Manchester free-for-all. Pender Street Steppers dug deep, expertly guiding the vibe through Mr Flagio’s Italo classic, ‘Take a Chance’, jazzy beats from Dego & the 2000 Black Family, and 90s US house like KC Flightt’s ‘Let’s Get Jazzy’. The b2b2b2b downstairs showcased new Ste Spandex on Tusk Wax and forthcoming material from Peckham house wizard Medlar, as well as current favourites like Tom Blip’s ‘Wrong Guanco’. The night brought together three incredible labels and some of the best selectors around, and as expected, it was a pretty special one.