All eyes in Leeds were on Mint Warehouse this weekend as they re-opened their doors once again. Having undergone an extensive transformation over the past few months, the team at Mint had done a great job of keeping the details of this renovation under wraps in the weeks leading up to their grand re-opening hosted by System. Party-goers were promised a major visual and audible upgrade, with a revised aesthetic to the main room and brand-new outdoor space for daytime parties. Upon arrival to the newly curated venue, one thing immediately stood out; that amongst all the change going on at Mint, some things always stay the same. Such consistency is delivered by the immense flock of people, all eager in anticipation for the re-opening of this mainstay of Leeds nightlife.
Upon setting foot in the venue, you are immediately hit by a wall of sound courtesy of the bespoke Funktion Ono Evo 7: a sound system used in conjunction with the main Glade Arena at Glastonbury. I walk in as Mint residents Bobby O’ Donnell and Annie Errez set the tone for the night perfectly with their respective sets. In an almost trance-like state, I follow the sound and head straight towards the Soundsystem that towers over the Mint faithful. As I move further in, it quickly becomes apparent just how much the architecture of the club has changed. You no longer have to veer round the entrance and cut through the crowds for a good view. Instead, you are propelled straight into the heart of the party, with a view of the Soundsystem, bar and DJ Booth all in sight. Such a practical change has a profound effect on the atmosphere of the club; the crowd, the lighting, the unmistakable sound all consolidate to give you a clubbing experience like no other. I eventually settle into the club, composing myself from what was a truly overwhelming first hour. As I compose myself, I start to become more aware of my surroundings, hearing fragments of conversations to the backdrop of Dyed Soundorom’s distinct sound that seamlessly unleashes a blare of intoxicating electro upon the ever-growing crowd.
Above: Dyed Soundorom
Now that I have a pulse on the setting and sound of the club, the surrounding conversations grows even louder. Whilst there is the odd mention of drinks orders and set times the conversations are all dominated by one topic: the lights. ‘When are the lights coming on?’, 'we’ll go for a fag after the lights?’; It’s all anyone is talking about. I take these conversations as a cue to move into the crowd for a view, pocketing myself into an elevated spot at the back that resembles a crows-nest, with a full-scale view of the bedlam below. To my left is Stuart Forsyth (Foz), part of the team at Mint who have worked tirelessly to put on this spectacle of a night. His eyes are transfixed upon the ceiling, glaring in anticipation at the unlit surface with a camera clutched nervously in his hands, ready to capture the moment everyone has been waiting for.
Above: The moment the lights went off for the first time in Mint Warehouse
Dyed Soundorom bows out to the room with a onslaught of driving techno, accompanied with a plethora of colour that floods over a dazzled and delirious crowd. Amongst the chaos I briefly glance across to see Foz breathing a sigh of relief, as an overwhelming feeling of euphoria spills out into the masses. The iconic lights of Mint Club have been resurrected, maintaining the intimacy their whilst expanding their presence in the crowd. Resident Bobby O’ Donnell tried to put the moment into words, saying “When the lights came on for the first time it was genuinely choking. Like the guy says (turn it up) twice on this video - "We're back in business"
Above: Ricardo Villalobos delivering his headline set
Once the lights were in full motion, the flamboyant Chilean DJ Ricardo Villalobos hailed the stage, welcoming in the crowd with an edit of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ to mirror his eccentric demeanour. He gyrates up and down the stage, flaunting an established sound that features much of his own productions, with tracks like ‘Fizheuer Zieheuer’ and ‘Peculiar’ occupying the latter stages the set. Whilst the majority of the set pushed a dark and punchy sound, classics like Depeche Mode’s ‘The Sinner’ were a warming reminder to the crowd of Villalobos’ personable side in a performance that went on till the early hours of the morning.
The reaction of people on the night as well as on social media the following day was astounding, The execution of their revised vision is second to none, Mint Warehouse without doubt makes Leeds a contender for Party Capital of the UK.
We play at Mint Warehouse on the 25th of March, supporting Garage legend Artful Dodger. Click HERE For Tickets.