Manchester Madness
21 st May 2005
Phillips Park Hall

It's been a long time since Illusion hosted a multi arena event, as it's been over 6 months since the 5 th Birthday celebrations at Keele. Tonight's event saw Illusion moving away from their home in Stoke-On-Trent, to a new venue Philips Park Hall in Manchester. This was my first trip up to the North West for a rave, as the furthest I've travelled up north, has to be to Stoke for previous Illusion parties.

Phillips Park Hall is situated in the leafy suburbs of greater Manchester, Whitefields. Allowing a night of madness with no sound restrictions across the venue. The venue itself is situated within the parklands of Whitefileds as we had to travel across a bridge along with M60 to get to the venue itself.

We arrived at the venue just before 8, having parked up in the car park we made our way to Phillips Park Hall. The venue itself is quite impressive from outside and you could hear the noise as the Illusion team were abusing the fact there was no sound restrictions for tonight's event. There was a short queue at the door, as it split into two one for ticket holders and another for those paying on the door. Once having our guest list place confirmed and a pat down from security we were in.

Managed to locate the Oldskool room and DJ Ventura was finishing up, the Oldskool room was quite small with sofa's to chill out in the back, there wasn't as much dance space as I expected. The sound system in this arena was loud, with dark mellow lighting giving it that warehouse vibe.

I had a wander round and found the Techno and UKScene room, as these were located upstairs along with the cloakroom, it felt like venturing into an attic.

Back downstairs and DJ Harvey of Shelly's fame was playing a club classics set with nice underground vibe to it. He played 'Papua New Ginuea', 'Rocking down the house', 'String of Life', along with the classic from Shades Of Rhythm 'Sweet Sensation' and 'Jam the bass' an absolute tune which doesn't get played enough. This was a blinder of set as he also played a lot of unknown tunes from '90 era.

After Harvey it was the turn of Warehouse Wax's Vinlyjunkie, Illusions very own MC Energy was MCing for this set. Vinyljunkie started the set with the classic from Moby 'Go' he played the Rainforest remix of this infamous track, which is an absolute corker. Vinyljunkie continued to play 'Beyond Control', 'Tribal Base', 'Loverman' and 'Sounds of Eden' which got the crowd singing. Vinyljunkie started to play a lot of nu-skool breaks for the latter part of his set that included material featured off his album.

Right then, time for some Oldskool Happy Hardcore in the main arena, from Vinylgroover and MC Freestyle. The Hardcore arena was situated in the main hall of the venue with a low ceiling and numerous pillars. The main arena was really packed as the northwest does have a massive Hardcore following. Vinylgroover started the set with his remix of Baby D's - 'I need your Lovin', during this set Alex Energy stepped up on the mic to thank everyone for turning up and supporting Illusion, and united the Stoke massive with the Manchester crew. Vinylgroover played numerous vocally Hardcore tunes as he played 'Eternity', 'My Way' and 'Age of stomp'. He played a classic bouncy techno tune, which has the 'Reach out to me' vocal. Vinylgroover ended the set with Raveheart.

After Vinylgroover it was the turn of Convulsion featuring DJ's S1 and ASA. S1 and Asa are responsible for one of the biggest anthems in Hardcore at the moment, 'Making me wanna dance' which they played along with a remix of an old rave classic from Snap' Rhythm is a dancer'.

Next up was Manchester's finest Stu Allan along with Maximum Impact's DJ Seduction showcasing material from the Hardcore Nation album. Rude was meant to MC for this set though unfortunately he didn't show up. For the first half of the set Futurevibe's very own MC Mental was on mic duty. This was the first time that I've heard him MC Mental and thought he done a good job of keeping the crowd going especially at this hour. Stu Allan and Seduciton played a couple of remixes of some Hardcore classics such as Kick your legs and Fly away along with 'Make 'em bounce' and the massive tune from Raver Baby 'Slide Away'. Near the end of the set saw the arrival of MC Storm.

Time for the awesome two some, Hixxy and Storm. What an amazing set this was, lots of new material from the Raver Baby camp was being played. Hixxy played 'Slide away', his remix of 'Come with me', 'Crazy Love' and 'Futuristic Entertainer' featuring MC Storm. Half way through the set saw the arrival of Whizzkid MC, as Storm handed the mic over to him and Whizzkid took full control hyping the crowd to an utter frenzy, with his beat boxing and uplifting lyrics

The combination of Hixxy smashing up the place and the lack of sound restrictions, started to take its toll on the sound system as the system cut out. Hixxy your too bloody dark man!!! Whilst the system was being sorted I decided to pop back into the Oldskool arena and the midlands scratch master was on, DJ Ratty along with MC Connie. Ratty was playing a dark '92-93 set as he played 'Cutter mix' and 'Uptempo'.

Back to the main arena and the system was sorted and ready for the turn of the Quosh trio Sy, Unknown and Storm. This was an amazing set from the Quosh boys showcasing their scratching skills along with their new material. MC Storm was taking the crowd into another level hyping up the crowd with his lyrics with plenty of participation from the crowd. Watching these guys scratch is unbelievable, as they were using both CD's and of course Vinyl. They played 'Only your love', along with their remix of 'Makin me wanna Dance' and 'Neckbreaker'. Sy and Unknown ended the night with 'You're my angel'.

I really did enjoy tonight as the crowd and atmosphere was electric, they really know how to party up here in the North. Originally when I first heard of the venue I did think it was going to be a grand estate in the countryside, like a Stately home. Though it was on a smaller scale than anticipated more like a place you would hold a wedding reception.

I felt that the Oldskool arena did take a bit of back seat compared to previous Illusions that I've been to. I hope that this will not be the case, as I do believe Illusion is the biggest Oldskool event in the midlands.

The night was really busy even though this was the week after the successful Hardcore weekender, and I thought that there might have been a low turn out.

I can't see this venue replacing Keele University due to the size and location of Keele, fear not Illusion shall be returning to its native home in Stoke, for the fourth coming 6 th Birthday celebrations.

Massive Respects to: Alex Stacie and the Illusion Crew, Storm, Hixxy, Sy and Unknown, Whizzkid, Vinylgroover and Freestyle, Ratty, Glenn Aston, Vinyljunkie, Seduction, Stu Allen, Man Parris and Connie.

Big shouts to my Sister and Joanne, Andy Techno, The Dancing crew, Lucy, Mini Smither's from USH, Jim and Damo and the UKScene crew Andrea, Kelglow MC Darkside and Mrs Darkside, Dave, Smash, MC Mental also to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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