Review: Hard Times w/ David Morales
David Morales (6 Hour Set)
The Leeds Warehouse
Bank Holiday Sunday 3rd June 2012
Having never had the opportunity (or a passable fake ID) to experience one of the iconic Hard Times parties before I was revelling in excitement to see what they had in store for us all. Upon arrival at the club at just gone midnight I was greeted by what was a very enthusiastic Steve Raine (creator of Hard Times) which in my head meant only one thing, the Hard Times party was well underway. As I entered the legendary Leeds venue the bass from the impeccable Funktion One sound system hit me as they pumped out the sounds of resident DJ Jason Shaw. Manoeuvring my way through the animated crowd I took spot to the right of the dance floor and admired what was a flawless warm up set from Jason who had the crowd eating out the palms of his hands.
To avoid missing the opening of David Morales’ set I headed up to The Loft to quickly investigate what direction they had chosen to take the second room in, and I wasn’t disappointed. Dr Bob Jones and Jason Boardman were holding down the room exquisitely well producing more alternative down tempo sounds compared to that of the main room. With a more relaxed atmosphere this was most certainly somewhere where you could come, close your eyes and enjoy every last beat – a brilliant little second room.
Having gotten caught up in my enjoyment of The Loft I didn’t have time to dash downstairs in time for Morales’ opening song so instead chose to view the action from the VIP balcony overlooking the main room. All that can be said is WOW – Morales’ stormed into action with Kings of Tomorrow’s Finally and there was undoubtedly no clubber in that venue who didn’t have their hands in the air singing along word for word for the entirety of this stone cold classic. Having been a Hard Times virgin I hadn’t known exactly what to expect – a venue combined with veteran clubbers, new school ravers and one mesmeric atmosphere was what was dished up.
I headed back down to the main room to join a crowd in full swing and some friends in the centre of the dance floor. The Def Mix Productions owner continued to steal the show as he progressed his set dropping musical bomb after bomb with the likes of vocal house big hitters Nuyorican Soul’s It’s Alright I Feel It, Deeper Love by C&C Music Factory and a personal favourite The Bucketheads’s The Bomb. The ovation coming from the Hard Times family was truly breathtaking and a scene that was impossible not to get caught up in.
Armed with an array of technical toys Morales was smashing drops left, right and centre and appeared to be having a great time, discarding his shirt in the madness and throwing out shapes and grooves along with the rest of The Warehouse. Claps, whistles and cheers couldn’t help but force you to enjoy this extended 6 hour set with nothing but a smile cemented onto your face, especially when he played his own track Needin’ You, which drew nothing short of an epic response. The effort put in by Morales to maintain such a high energy set for that period of time was truly outstanding and further highlighted why he was, and arguably still is such vanguard in the world of dance music.
Thanks to the club’s fine selection of spirits I am unable to remember Morales’ final few songs. However if the rest of his performance was anything to go by I have no doubt in saying it could have had the potential to leave any clubber with goosebumps. Anyone else who attended this monumental event will surely agree that David Morales’ (and the residents) firmly placed Hard Times back in the Leeds clubbing calendar allowing them to live up to the phrase ‘The Original and still the best’.
I for one am eagerly anticipating round two with one half of Masters at Work Louie Vega headlining for their 19th Birthday on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th August – a party I won’t be missing.
Words: Danny Harrison
Photo: Marc Cruickshank & Dave Lockwood