APE resurfaced at the Albert Hall this weekend after being homeless for the past two years; since its previous success at the Apollo it has merely flirted with birthdays at Manchester’s acclaimed Warehouse Project. Showcasing artists such as Redlight and Melé, who both fall deeply under the wing of the establishing genre of Annie Mac- dance music pioneer and general fly honey. APE proceeded to exhibit an eclectic mix of DJs and producers that firmly grasped all bases of the electronic music spectrum.
Melé and Slick Don unofficially opened the evening’s proceedings with a set that left many unfulfilled. With trap taking off and thriving in Britain in 2012, there was an air of excitement for Melé’s onus to deliver in moving away from the predominance of house music in the scene. However, a mixture of dull tracks and Slick Don’s incompetence in inspiring an eager crowd, lead to a somewhat subdued atmosphere. This midlands MC’s brummy twang simply did not lay well over Melé’s stateside influenced tracks. In fact, he was a bit of a nuisance. Yet, redemption came in the form of a flavor of old school garage including tracks such as Double 99’s ‘Rip Groove’ and T2’s ‘Heartbroken’.
David Rodigan achieved what Melé and Slick Don did not. His set consisted of numerous heartwarming family favourites such as Toots and the Maytals’ ‘54-46’. The reggae veteran triumphed in creating an especially contented crowd. Rodigan showcased what he’s done for many years through combining antique reggae and dancehall tracks with the new wave of contemporary dance music. Be that as it may, having viewed Rodigan in the past; this set was similar and predictable. Damien Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ was all too expected.
Hats off to Annie Mac, with a shrewd selection of mainstream music, she catered to this Manchester audience. The set was not expected to delve into the dark corners of the house music genre yet presented an assortment of producers that have established themselves at the top of the game this year such as Route 94 and Duke Dumont. However, Annie mixed it up with a few Hip hop and rap remixes ranging from Biggie’s ‘Hypnotize’ to ‘Bound 2’ and closed the set with the jungle anthem, ‘Original Nuttah’.
Given the job of closing the night Redlight and Dread MC failed to give the punters a winning finale to the evening. The set was fairly uninspiring, Redlight seemed to be clutching onto his most crowd-pleasing productions and the audience thinned as people decided to call it a day. Dread MC, clearly unhappy with his transition in genre, held a look of discontent throughout the set. Redlight took the opportunity to unveil his new EP, ‘36’ which is to be released on the 10th of March.
As a venue The Albert Hall continues to be an amazing spectacle- its Amphitheatre style arena, lighting and visuals were truly mesmerizing. As the masses dispersed from the venue, two things became clear; everyone had a good time and Rodigan is still firmly deserving of his throne in the kingdom of selector royalty.
Words: Charlie Fyfe and Ewan Campbell