Maiden Voyage: NTS Radio

Influential station NTS Radio held its first party outside of London in Manchester last month. Our intrepid clubber reports back

Review by Becca Kennedy | 30 Jul 2013

Without overstating it, NTS isn’t just a radio station: it's also one of the most successful outlets for independent music and culture in the whole of the UK. Founder Femi Adeyemi established the Dalston-based station back in April 2011 as a sort of spin-off of the Nuts To Soup blog – and the project's growth over the past two years has been prodigious, with the station not only reaching much further than the South but also accumulating legions of die-hard followers along the way. If you’re unaware, forget locking down your aerials and sitting through a lairy MC – this is NTS, and they do things differently. They even make Rinse sound almost 2009. (Sorry. Er, no, not sorry.)

Given the richness and diversity of music broadcast by the station, it would follow that any party NTS might throw would be of a similar calibre, and previous nights have boasted a roster of electronic connoisseurs, including Martelo, Moxie, Mamiko Motto and 92 Points, to name a few. With their date in Manchester on 13 July being their first party outside of London, NTS couldn’t have picked a better spot in Soup Kitchen.

Hoya:Hoya resident, Fat City affiliate and general don Jon K was the first to take to the tables. Mr Kraus is well known for culling a plethora of wax to get the movers and shakers of this rainy city down, and tonight this was portrayed krystal klear – with or without the tall, awkward-looking guy (niche Manchester bass-scene joke alert!). As both a label and clubnight, Hoya:Hoya pride themselves on less talkin’ and more doin’, and tonight Jon K represented this vision 100%, his eclectic audio comprising a bit of disco, punk, new jack swing, kraut, dancehall and house, satisfying pretty much every last soul in the Spear Street basement.

The presence of the godfather of house, Marshall Jefferson – possibly the most influential and iconic man of 80s dance music – obviously promised a good evening. It's an overused term, but to call Jeff a godlike genius isn’t far wrong. With the sounds of Hot Mix 5 and Trax throughout his set, the crowd indulged in an abundance of Hacienda-fuelled dance moves; Move Your Body provided a piquant point of the evening, and went some way towards encapsulating the atmosphere – there was an echo of ‘gotta have house music, all night long’, followed by a disco clap and some 90s 2-step shuffle from the partygoers. Jefferson vs Noosa Heads' 1998 Airtight release Mushrooms also proved a crowd-pleaser.

Next up, Steve Tony Julien – more commonly known as FunkinEven – delivered a set completely on point, making him the hero of the evening; perhaps even upstaging Jefferson. Last year's Chips/Sweets, the follow-up to his first EP on his own Apron label, packed a punch – and tonight he impressed on a different scale, amalgamating his own distinctive sound with techno and analogue tracks.

Running 'til 6am, the eight-hour party atmosphere felt acidic and very 90s happy-hardcore: eyes were peeled for Ellesse trainers and inappropriately loud-coloured harems. Refreshing and efficacious, it was hopefully the first of many NTS appearances in the Northwest.