Kenny Dope in Manchester – Luv Dancin’ @ Gorilla

Luv Dancin’ presents Kenny Dope review

Gwen Angood headed over to Gorilla, Manchester, to indulge in some house classics courtesy of none other than Kenny Dope.

Images:Jack Kirwin

The weather may have been a force to be reckoned with last Friday night, however Storm Desmond was nothing in comparison to the frenzy whipped up by Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez underneath the glorious disco archways of Gorilla in Manchester.

The venue’s bar, lit up by industrial inspired fairy lights and candles on every table, was warm and welcoming, the perfect place to meet up with friends and discuss what we’d like to hear Kenny play tonight.

Straight inside the club, the atmosphere was friendly, familiar, typical of the organic house music crowd. Everyone wore a smile and proceeded to dance immediately upon entry. It was hard not to considering we walked straight into a set by the Stevie Wonderland DJs playing the saxophone-oozing classic ‘I’m the Baddest Bitch (In the Room)’ by Norma Jean Bell (below).

Continuing on their mission for an eighties groove, they played ‘She Can’t Love You’ by Chemise, whilst the glitter balls dazzled, illuminating the dancers below.

With the atmosphere getting warmer, and the crowd providing the energy, we were exposed to the intro of ‘Phreaky MF’ by Mike Dunn presents Mr 69 and yes, they did drop the whole tune.

Having experienced a wealth of forgotten classics – such as ‘From Disco to Disco’ by Whirlpool Productions, dancing feet were already beginning to feel the burn. After a freshen up with fellow revellers (some having travelled as far as Sweden), we were ready to go again.

It was clear to see there were an array of house music connoisseurs in the room, sporting sparkly disco costumes, Larry Levan and Southport Weekender t-shirts, and some adorned with slogans only those in the know would get – our favourite being ‘David, Nicky, Frankie & Larry’.

Kenny Dope took over the decks at 12:30am. It was the set of dreams – a seamless collaboration of elegantly mixed house and disco classics, bringing back flashbacks of our teenage years digging through vinyl crates for records that had been well-worn by the previous generation, but were the foundations of our musical education.

It was up there with the best Dope sets, even rivaling his work at Southport Weekender 50 in the Connoisseur’s Corner, where like in this instance, every track was a surprise – none were predictable, each tune made you dance even harder.

To name but a few (every single tune was a masterpiece), the ones that stood out were those involving deep funky riffs such as the West End Records classic ‘Is It All Over My Face’ by Loose Joints (below).

We sang our hearts out so some of the finest vocal disco tracks, including the Dimitri From Paris re-edit of “The Boss” by Diana Ross, Dan Hartman’s ‘Relight My Fire’, and Eddie Amador’s ‘House Music’ to which everyone sang together like some sort of lifestyle hymn.

We all wanted to hear ‘The Bomb’, Kenny’s Bucketheads classic from 1995, and when the intro dropped in, the room erupted. But Kenny actually went one better than dropping it (far too predictable for this delectable set), but actually let Chicago’s “Street Player” play in it’s beautiful entire form – the 1979 original which provided the famous trumpet sample for Kenny’s later creation.

Similarly, educating the new and young to the scene, Kenny played Rare Pleasure’s ‘Let Me Down Easy’, which most will have heard sampled as the catchy, summertime piano house anthem ‘Needin’ U’ by David Morales.

It was more than worth it, coming out and braving the storm to experience what can sometimes be a rarity on the dancefloor – an education, a musical journey, friendly faces, energy like you would not believe.

To quote Luv Dancin’s mantra – “Dance like nobody’s watching”. Well, we did just that. And we didn’t want to stop. Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez was a true Master at Work


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