Now celebrating its 15th year, Sankeys has had its fair share of bad press from all directions recently (and rightly so) mainly due to its new design, poor line-ups and the Sankeys-Spektrum divide, but tonight there was a feeling that things could change, if only for one night.
Three massive names were on the bill with Jamie Jones, Clive Henry and Paul Ritch all playing their part. It would be my first encounter with Paul Ritch, but after seeing Jones several times at different events across Europe and Clive Henry showcasing at all kinds of Circo Loco parties, my expectations were high.
The early presence of headliner Jones meant that by 11 PM the bar was filling up nicely and by midnight the basement was near bursting point. The atmosphere was one which would take even the most extreme Sankeys naysayer back to "the good old days" and showed that all may not be lost for the former house music Mecca of Manchester.
When the moment arrived for Jones to get behind the decks, the expectation of what was about to come was incredible. The familiar crowd of sun-bed abusing, accessory-mad fashionistas and their oversize sunglasses had (fortunately) been heavily diluted by some real appreciators of quality house music.
A short but cheeky remix of MGMT's "Electric Feel" got things moving and allowed a cool-as-ever Jones to take things a little deeper, building up to the moment that so many were waiting for: His latest release, "Summertime." Meanwhile upstairs, Peace Division's Clive Henry was being his usual self, playing enjoyable, yet frustratingly predictable deep house; a set which many, including myself, swiftly left in favour of the increasingly over-crowded basement.
Despite the fuss surrounding Jones, for me, the real star of the show was Paul Ritch. An incredibly focused Ritch seemed intent on proving why he's worked with the likes of Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Sven Väth and has featured in some of the biggest line-ups in the world of techno. He did it ably. A massive over-use of the strobe, a small group of over-excited first timers and the usual 60-70 glory-hunting nobodies behind the booth were the only real dampening to what was one of the most enjoyable sets I've witnessed in a long time. By 4:30, though, the aforementioned fashionistas and the tank-top wearing muscle-men began to slither their way back into dance floor dominance; a perfect time to call it a night.