Wax On is a club night with humble roots that started in 2004 at World Headquarters in Newcastle; a club that is held affectionately in the hearts of many a Toon dweller. The unstoppable juggernaut that it is kept on going and its dominion over all things Northern and Electro continued – they expanded to Leeds in 2006. Boasting rather impressive residents likes Annie Mac and Erol Alkan, it was a fail safe fix for me when I was twitching for a bit of rowdy electro in my days of yore as a student in Leeds.
So, revisiting this night I felt a mixture of nostalgia and excitement. The excitement was derived from the line-up, which was juicy and plump with such inimitable acts as Digitalism, Annie Mac, Switch, Plastician and Brodinsky. The live music was to come from Ladyhawke - the blonde, fringed songstress. Bracing ourselves from the biting cold, we watered ourselves amply in the local Working Man's club nearby and set off.The organisers announced some last minute tickets to the venue and I couldn't help but feel slightly cheated out of some breathing space/any space to move or dance. Gripes aside the venue is excellent and stands tall in the face of competitors of the same ilk.
Ladyhawke played in the Stylus which is the largest room in the venue. She seemed unfazed by the swell of people - mostly students in front of her, which resembled some sort of apocalyptic mass from the safety of the tier above the pit (from where I cowardly watched). Her laid back, slouchy warbling did not come across as morose and she held her own in front of the packed venue. Many pieces of her Peaches backed LP My Delirium were performed with panache. The infectious Paris is Burning was pretty rousing and of course got a good sing-a-long from the crowd. It was a top notch start to the evening.
We made the transition from Stylus to the smaller, more intimate Mine Bar and got an ear full of dub-step that was given the Plastician treatment. Back to Stylus for Annie Mac who gave us a signature mash up – that type that makes you wonder "where did that sample come from?"... which was both unpredictable and predictable. We were then treated to some more aural treats by Switch as the night drew on and then Brodinsky let rip with some pretty heavy I'm going to beat your ear drums into submission techno.
The night had come and gone without anything too untoward occurring. Of course everyone was a bit dishevelled and misty-eyed, but you wouldn't expect anything less. I was having a drink at the bar with my partner in crime, something happened that put a cherry on top of the waxy cake. This guy – a bouncer who for legal reasons will remain unnamed had some kind of Arnie complex. He wanted to flex, god damn, for anyone who would watch (that would be me then). First he gave us a preview on his Nokia of what was lurching beneath his bulging polo shirt. Then before we knew it we were holed up in a disabled toilet having an impromptu photo shoot. Er what? I'm not sure either, but Bouncy Boy aka Muscle Mary seemed to have a great time and so did we.
Photography: Jonangelo Molinari