- Kieran Collingwood
A Formidable Return: Detroit Swindle's blistering set at Freedom Mills
You would be hard-pressed in finding a more dynamic live act than Detroit Swindle at the moment. Now bathing in the glow of an utterly formidable rise, their return to Leeds resulted in a pulsating but nevertheless measured set which seemingly propelled them into the electronic stratosphere.
With a swell of acclaimed releases under their belt, Swindle have been able to dominate the decks at clubs as iconic as London’s very own Fabric in recent years. Yet on their return to Leeds it was clear that they had traded glitz and glam for intimacy; the duo instead opted for the warm cobblestones of Freedom Mills, a hidden gem of the city’s nightlife - and a venue that always seems capable of conjuring a sense of occasion.
As Swindle’s set time drew closer, the excitement surrounding the reconditioned Victorian mill was contagious. I saw multiple groups deftly attempting to manage the hustle and bustle at the front to ensure they were primed with a drink for when they took centre stage. When the twosome eventually did appear, they seemed completely unflustered with the spike in energy levels garnered through DJ TamTam’s feverish supporting set, and a chilled four on the floor groove was their first offering of the night.
It wasn’t long however before the percussive electronic tinges of faster grooves began to resonate around the brick walls, and the crowd in turn began to move in tandem with the crystal sounds emanating from the speakers. I definitely recognised an attempt to expand horizons during their three-hour set, yet nevertheless there was undoubtedly a flock of renowned tracks littered throughout their set; Mella Dee’s funky ‘Techno Disco Tool’ fitted in perfectly with their vast palette of sounds, whilst their very own ‘The Break Up’ easily secured the largest audience response to any track dropped that night.
Over the course of the night genres from Chicago house to African and Samba-infused grooves were explored. However, disco house ultimately began to take centre stage, accompanied by lucid blue light beginning to creep in around the room via the scenic backdrop and almost ushering in this new wave of sound. Feeding off the unmistakable energy surrounding the venue, offbeat piano chords and soaring vocals began to blast out the mammoth speakers and resulted in an infectious drive and vitality permeating the dance floor. Overseeing this controlled chaos stood the stark silhouettes of Dales and Smeets in front of the ethereal backdrop.
Their primal grooves continued to thump through the room and funnily enough even lifted the spirits of a bar tender who assured me as I bought a drink that "these two have made work pretty easy tonight". On my return to the dance floor it became evident that he was telling the truth, and what was even clearer was the blissful atmosphere the duo’s grooves had infected the venue with. The two simply never seemed to lose this control even over the lengthy three-hour set as they playfully zigzagged their way through the night
As the night began to draw to a close I looked around at a venue definitely less dense than a few hours previous, but not to the extent with the archetypal 'graveyard shift'. The ‘Freedom Mills Faithful’ had continued well into the night and it was Swindle’s electric set that had kept them there; and as the final sound waves of their closing track began to fade out amongst the brick laden pillars screams of joy that had reverberated round the room slowly turned into utters of wonder and amazement - and thoughts of where to continue the night.