Drøne (TEST DEPT, CELLDÖD & IMPERIAL BLACK UNIT) – 22/02/19

Now I’m really feeling rough. I promised myself not to drink as much tonight, which I new in the back of my mind was always a lie. I have an addiction, an addiction of audible punishment and bodily beating. Therefore staying out after a night of Psych/Punk, to then move to The White Hotel for dark, industrial techno felt grim.

I wont pretend to know any of the acts on this bill, other than giving Test Dept’s newest single a listen a few days prior as I see they’re playing with Errant Monks at Band on The Wall in April. I also give Imperial Black Unit’s 2018 EP a few listens. From start to finish, you can’t help but lose yourself in the four-to-the-floor backbeat present on every song.

Anyway, I arrive. I can feel my eyes poking out of my head, as I approach the door people. I swiftly move round to the entrance, a fire door at the back of the building. The setting is grimly beautiful. I love the forgotten industrial wastelands of Greater Manchester; a true heritage to be proud of. The shadow of Strangeways lingers in the night sky, the smell of Victorian era death lingers in the air and the already pounding sound of Test Dept’s DJ set lingers from within The White Hotel.

Finally I enter, first move to the bar for two bottles of Becks, trying as best I can to withhold the inevitable hangover sweats that are headed my way. Then I move through the mist of the main room, faces only appearing when two feet away, everyone else is clouded mystery. The only break of light is an occasional red flicker, making this Faustian nightmare feel only too real. Everyone in this room is a synonym for the word freak. I do not feel outcast. If you want to dance, you can. If you want sit and immerse yourself, you can. If you need to stand-alone and bob your head, you can. Not being a person to miss out on an opportunity, I will be doing all of these.

I was a little disheartened when I saw Test Dept was only a DJ set, however, every disbelief vanished when I closed my eyes and lost control. When I opened my eyes again after a concerning amount of time, all I could see were trance like zombies, throbbing and gyrating to pulsing sounds, looking nothing more than inebriated. The setting suits the sound. A sound of pain and repetition. One that anyone of sound-mind can relate to.

Up next we have Stockholm’s Celldöd. A Berghainian veteran, who sees his Manchester debut. Now I’ve never been to the Berghain, but The White Hotel is more than enough. I refuse to accept anywhere in Europe can give you a better night. I can’t really say much about this set, due to lack of memory, and as this is the point of the night where I retreat to the back of the room. This is where I realise why you shouldn’t sit down in these frequencies. I can feel every vibration coarse through my body, rendering me paraplegic. I close my eyes and accept my fate. The lights create DMT-like visual show in my mind; I could feel every hit of dopamine run through my brain. Now I feel fucked up. I can feel my insides burning as my stomach has been twisted inside out from the inebriating noise that took hold. I have to fumble through a crowd of faces, feeling like a nose with eyes. I make it to the toilet where my head spins and I have to control myself. My body felt as though I was living a state of sleep-paralysis and that was wading through a sea of filth. I hear the pounding of dark-techno. Imperial Black Unit has taken to the stage.

I realise the only way I can feel safe again is move back to the room where the pain began. I stay towards the back of the room, as to give myself space to vomit if needed. Imperial Black Unit is in full swing. My head spins in perfect syncopation with the distorted beats, I start to let loose. Every time I attempt to open my eyes, any form of light forces them closed again. The White Hotel has turned me vampiric, sucking of the blood of industrial noise. There’s not much I can say about the night. It was shamanistic; a voodoo ritual where I return home as a changed man.

The past two nights I have bore witness to some of the most intriguing sounds possible. A tinnitus inducing dreamland. I have felt a religious experience of euphoria from these past few nights. These are the shows that matter, the small, intimate, cheap, fascinating, painful, creepy, twisted, loud, schizophrenic nights that test your self will. These past couple of nights have changed me.

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