Mano Le Tough @ La Belle Angèle, Edinburgh, 31 Mar
At the heart of any club night lies a good sound system, and (optionally) a lighting rig to boost it. Since relocating to La Belle Angèle, local promoters Tweak_ seem to have put these two values at the core of their ethos. Picture the scene – half past midnight on Friday night, and a steady stream of dancers ebbing back to the lower bar of the club. White strobes illuminate streams into the crowd, reflecting off the resident DJ and onto the camo-netting cutting off part of the dancefloor.
Edinburgh’s club scene really has pulled out all the stops tonight – Legowelt, Optimo, Move D and Joseph Capriati are all playing in venues across town. A sizable chunk of the punters, however, have turned out in force to see Irish stalwart Mano Le Tough grace the Tweak_ decks for the second time in a year.
Come quarter to one, Le Tough takes the reins with his customary selections of trance-esque house which he, and his labelmates on Maeve, have become known for. Teasing in hi-hats to compliment tracks already playing he maintains a solid selection of mid-tempo 4/4 throughout his whole set. Denis Sulta’s Nein Fortiate unexpectedly bobs in close to 2am, resulting in raucous cheers amidst the pounding 808s.
Between more tenacious tracks, Le Tough drops in spacey synth-led builders, allowing for a brief respite before rolling back in with the punches. Henrik Schwarz’s Not Also You stands out as a firm highlight – the powerful riff and rasping vocals sounding better than ever on La Belle's speakers.
Some big name bookings leave clubbers crammed like sardines, queuing for 20 minutes for lukewarm Red Stripes before pushing their way towards a near-crushing experience at the front left. This isn't the case tonight, and whilst it was by no means quiet, it proves that less is often more in this kind of scenario. The luxury of having space to dance is one that is often forgotten about in club culture – and combined with over two hours of Mano Le Tough behind the decks, it made for a welcome addition to an already stellar night.