Ital & Aurora Halal @ The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester, 24 May

Review by Martin Guttridge-Hewitt | 03 Jun 2013

Arriving at this ballet school turned venue on Oxford Road, you can’t help but feel a sense of disservice. The art deco-inspired, 1930s rough diamond that is the Dancehouse is overlooked in favour of so many other, less charming spaces, yet it’s one of the more interesting places to see performances in the city, despite half the population thinking it’s closed, left to rack, ruin, and the spirits that apparently haunt the theatre.

As such, Aurora Halal’s live set is particularly fitting. Following an hour or so of inspired 80s footage in PPU Video Party 2 – montages crafted from archive footage, old adverts, post-effects and animation – the Brooklyn-based VJ and producer opens with plenty of mystery and leftfield tones; quickly, all heads in sight are bobbing to her dubby, minimalistic, heavy electronics. She makes the synths and sequencers seem easy to manipulate, as does her collaborator, 100% Silk’s Ital, who goes one better by melding raw and upfront 4/4 beats with more immersive, deeper accents, carving out acid noises that won’t do him any disservice among fans of Objekt and the like.

Of course, at 10pm on a Friday night, in one of the most unusual non-clubs around, it’s difficult to imagine the level of mayhem this could cause a few hours later, in a room a few metres underground – but it’s not impossible, given the power of these dance mutations that are targeted at the feet, not just the mind. Impressive stuff. [Martin Guttridge-Hewitt]