Laurent Garnier

Circus @ Invisible Wind Factory 28/8/21

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As superstar DJs go, LAURENT GARNIER is up there as one of the more intriguing. Having moved to Manchester from France in the 80s, he became immersed in the club scene, DJing at the legendary Haçienda alongside other luminaries Mike Pickering and Dave Haslam. Time subsequently spent playing in Chicago, New York and Paris led to an eclectic style and a loyal following which has seen his sets attracting massive audiences across the globe. Garnier has strong links to Liverpool through his time at Quadrant Park in the 80s and his association with Circus. Tonight sees him play a three-hour set at the Invisible Wind Factory.

The multi-generational crowd brought together through a love of good music reflects his appeal through the decades – the younger folk in fluorescent outfits and shades ready to let lose after the restraints of the last 18 months and older dancers, whose memories of their halcyon clubbing days may be hazy but whose moves are there in muscle memory, some of whom loiter near a make-do pew in order to catch their breath. The night is all the better for this mix.

Garnier said recently that he wants his sets to be like a “roller coaster”, where he judges the mood of the room and uses crescendos to reach peaks through the night. He reads the room perfectly, orchestrating the crowd and whipping them up into a fervour right up until the final throbbing note at 4am: at points tonight the concrete floor pulses under your feet.

"He reads the room perfectly, orchestrating the crowd and whipping them up into a fer-vour right up until the final throbbing note at 4am: at points tonight the concrete floor pulses under your feet”

All the elements are there for it to be a fantastic night: a world-renowned and respected DJ whose skill means he works as an alchemist, and an innovative space and lighting system in a city known for its love of a party. But in some impalpable way the night misses the mark. The charged atmosphere is a great setting for the eclectic music but it’s a little odd at times and towards the back of the room it lacks the energy that a night of this kind should have.

For DJ aristocracy, it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been.  A trip out to the back of the building finds the missing revellers as people gather in groups to enjoy the outside space where the set can still be heard. Back inside, with groups of friends traipsing through the dancing crowd numerous times, it feels a little disjointed. However, in the melée at the front there’s more energy.

Although the crowd thins out as Garnier reaches the end of the set, there are still plenty there to give him the praise he deserves. He remains an enigmatic presence through the night, shrouded behind the Invisible Wind Factory’s celebrated light show. This seems to suit him. It’s all about the music rather than the adoration and it’s clear he’s passionate about what he does. The main lights come on at the end to the sound of cheers and he’s revealed, a master of his craft, basking in the adulation of the crowd with his hands together, his enthusiasm and enjoyment evident. He’s had as good a time as those of us who’ve danced through the night.

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