Nestled in between a seemingly unending stream of outdoor street and terrace parties, the return of Acetate looked set to offer Leeds something of an alternative clubbing experience over the festive jubilee weekend. Set up by (the then) Ramadanman in late 2010, Acetate was founded upon a set of purist principles: DJ sets must be 100% vinyl-only, the chosen mixer is a restored Bozak Rotary from the 1970s and under no circumstances are photographers allowed inside.
The irregularity of Acetate events (eight in three years), coupled with its niche approach, has meant that it has become one of the city's most eagerly anticipated parties. Invited to play alongside (the now) Pearson Sound was Yorkshire boy Blawan, an artist whose dark acid techno roots have progressively revealed themselves to be the dominant and defining feature of his output. Taking this into account, Pearson Sound opted for the tougher records in his box on warm up duty, teasing the packed crowd with bold, punchy slices of Detroit and Berlin techno, interrupted by the occasional trademark foray into tribal, afro rhythms.
The handover was as subtle as could be expected; Blawan marked his territory with nothing but a pounding 130 BPM kick drum. What followed was little short of an onslaught; hard, driving techno mixed quickly and with intent, with Blawan's own "Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage" and Green Velvet's "I Want to Leave My Body" sending the hardcore dance floor into regular fits of frenzy. As the night wore on and the crowd thinned, the acid crept in, with Blawan diligently layering each track to raucous and devastating effect.
The sudden and unexpected introduction of Tyree's "Nuthin Wrong" injected a rare dose of soul into proceedings; the warm, timeless vocals working to reinvigorate the energy in what was becoming a slightly fatigued crowd. Blawan used that as a springboard for further forays into his twisted sonic past, pushing the boundaries between acid techno and straight-up UK rave, by which point all memories of summer and feel-good celebration had well and truly faded into sweaty obscurity. Sticking wholly to their mandate, Acetate delivered yet another night of refined electronic music, ignoring proceedings centred anywhere other than on the dance floor.