The clubbing landscape in Leeds is quite different now than it was ten years ago. Nowadays there are umpteen established parties every Friday and Saturday night in the city, as well as various one-off events and smaller newbie promotions. Back when Asylum started things were much simpler, but still the night run by Tom Thorpe carved out such a strong niche for itself that for years there was no party like it, where disco and house co-exist so happily.
As such, it’s a same that after a hiatus Asylum comes together but one more time to celebrate ten years since the first event, but also to mark the end. Surely part of the reason the party is officially coming to a close is Thorpe’s own ever-increasing stock as a DJ and producer and one half of PBR Streetgang, so you might argue that the spirit of the party will live on forever.
The line-up of the final party perfectly sums up the night’s MO over the last decade – pure cosmic funk from local disco divas Crazy P, timeless house and disco from New Jersey master Kerri Chandler and the legendary Maurice Fulton, plus much more besides from Maxxi Soundsystem, Futureboogie, Acid Mondays and, of course, PBR Streetgang.
Despite taking place at one of Leeds’ largest underground clubs in the Mint Warehouse, the place was at comfortable capacity from early on. There were people in the crowd who had clearly been at the very first event, but also a selection of younger, fresher looking faces who were ruing this being their first and last ever Asylum experience.
Mint’s large main room felt suitably atmospheric right from the off, no doubt at least in part to thank for that was Hypercolour associate Maxxi Soundsystem, who’s moody brew of big basslined house and vocal tech sure got people going. From that point on there was very little let up all night long - the next two hours were a blur of emotive vocals from Danielle Moore, infectious percussion and celestial, funked-up melody patterns with various peaks along the way, including when Crazy P dropped their own ubiquitous hit, ‘Stop, Space, Return’. After that, the never more en vogue Kerri Chandler stepped up with a meticulous house selection that took us up, down and round around through the ages, before PBR Streetgang were allowed to rightfully revel in the electric atmosphere by serving up a genre-defiant set of Asylum classics old and new.
Whilst Leeds sure does still have plenty to offer in the wake of Asylum’s passing, it will always leave a little gap in the hearts of the older clubber because the night was always about community as much as anything else – something often lacking in today’s grab for the biggest headliners and most attention seeking line-ups.