Freeze Liverpool is one of the city’s success stories, with it’s rise in prominence from such a humble beginning in the intimate ‘Lemon Lounge’ where they declared ‘..they literally had to drag their mates there’. I bet their mates are thankful now because over the years Freeze has thrown some incredible parties in some truly iconic places with echoing base ringing through the Williamson Tunnels to then creating a perfect clubbers church as they worshipped the house alter in the historic Anglican Cathedral. Freeze pushed the boundaries even further turning the stunning St Georges Hall (originally created for ballroom dancing) into a stunning hall for ravers to dance feeling privileged.
Now for this event the Freeze team turned to one of Liverpool’s most creative and vibrant places ‘The Camp and Furnace’. This is a change from Freezes previous venues that were known for shaping Liverpool’s heritage as it is in the more grounded venue located in the heart of Liverpool’s fashionable ‘Baltic Triangle’. The ‘Baltic Triangle’ itself oozes with the word ‘cool’ as these once crumbling derelict warehouse have now been transformed into a haven for photographers, music producers, fashion designers, entrepreneurs and architects to all thrive in while keeping that raw feel.
Freeze teamed with Bedrock for the ‘Bedrock Party’ that headlined one of the icons in music ‘John Digweed’ and an impressive diverse supporting cast with Leftfield, Mark E, Friendly Fires, Jemmy, Greg Wilson and a crop of the best up and coming musical talent in Liverpool. As soon as the event was announced, the line up intrigued me and in the back of my mind I knew I would be attending.
Over to the night itself in Liverpool with the city seeming rather quiet for a Saturday night and in essence, it felt like the calm before the storm, as my compatriot and I had a few drinks before heading over to the laden Baltic Triangle with many revellers already descending upon the Camp and Furnace. Upon arrival we entered the queue and already could tell by the people around us that this night was going to have a proper old school vibe and had us both excited. People in the queue were telling tales of ‘back in the day’ and it felt like people from all corners and all ages had gathered to catch a glimpse of the talent being laid on display.
We entered the building and headed straight to the bar for a couple of bottles of beer priced at £3.50 each which is pretty standard for events like these. From the bar area you walk into Room 2 which was headed up by the excellent Wax. We took a glimpse of ‘Liverpool’s own’ ‘Mr Paul’ before heading on to explore the rest of the venue before getting settled. We headed up the stylish long white corridor which bought us to the main bar area which was also the room Greg Wilson was in charge of with Freeze giving the go ahead ‘to basically play whatever the hell he wants’
This was a great move as Greg Wilson kept us glued to his room setting the tone and creating a real ‘feel good’ vibe. With the crowd pleasing Chaka Khan- ‘Ain’t Nobody’ playing out to a delighted faithful. It didn’t stop there as Greg Wilson continued with his crowd pleasing house and disco with classics such as Luther Vandross- Never Too Much’ and 10.CC- Dreadlock Holiday that had us all singing and dancing. The room was full of smiles and then Greg Wilson dropped The Stone Roses- Fools Gold with a noise of approval from a surprised faced crowd.
We then decided to rush over and catch Mark E in action and were welcomed with some pure house music with anthems that had the busy 2nd room continually moving. I then had the sudden need to go to the toilet and rushed out so I could get back to Mark E’s set as soon as possible. This was where a problem was discovered as there was only seven portaloo toilets available for men and the queues were already huge. I knew in the queue I was missing out on something special so I went in search of somewhere else in hope there would be some other toilets. On walking past the girls toilets and their long queue, I noticed a girl waiting round the corner with a face that looked as if she was hiding something. I then saw a door and I filled with relief as there seemed to be a disabled toilet round the corner hidden that no one at the time knew about. I made a pact with the girl that it would be a secret and we amply named it the ‘Secret Toilet’. After I then looked over to the long queues with bursting faces with a wry smile (a bit cocky I know).
We then watched the brilliant Mark E till near the end of his set before heading off to see the last part of ‘Jemmy’ the epic start of Mr Digweed’s set. We walked over passing through Greg Wilson room of smiley faces as he dropped one of my favourite ever ‘ahead of it’s time’ tracks Daft Punk-Da Punk. As that continuing base thumps at the start of the track continually we were all roaring with approval.
We then entered the Main Room to hear the end of Jemmy’s set. The production and lighting was fantastic as Jemmy played some mellow techno with plenty of hands in the air to show for it. The main room is truly one to behold and Freeze had done an excellent job with the set up as the crowd waited n anticipation for the usual epic start to a John Digweed set.
The time was upon us and John Digweed had entered the building and the crowd started to cheer and whistle as John Digweed created one of those ‘hands in the air’ moments to start his set. John Digweed played some of his trade mark techno and tech house that had us all fist pumping in unison, it was a fantastic atmosphere and the lighting moved with the beat to perfection.
As John Digweed was playing a 5 hour set we decided to catch Neil Barnes (Leftfield) in action in what was a rare appearance. Leftfield was playing pure driving techno with plenty of scousers jumping around ‘off their barnets’. It was like a train keeping you moving continually without stopping. It was now that time to go to the toilets again and a nightmare came to reality as the ‘secret toilet’ was no longer a secret as a huge crowd gathered around it. We had now become one them ‘suckas’ joining the queue. We were in the queue for about half an hour and one thing I never understand is why people go in the portaloo together and take ages, its like, ‘We know what you’re doing so why not just do it in the club, geeze’.
After we went back to John Digweed who was rocking the main room with ravers in tech heaven. Looking around there was a mixture of culture from past and present within the room as glow sticks were on show and a person with full neon glasses and neon braces was there going wild. John Digweed had brought them all together with his iconic status and everyone was having an equally good time.
I was curious about seeing the Friendly Fires (DJ set) so we headed back over to room 2 where Friendly Fires was in full swing. He then dropped possibly the best tech house tune I had heard all night and started to properly feel the vibe in room 2. Suddenly though the music stopped and he looked out to the crowd to say ‘sorry it is out of my hands’.
We turned back in to the hall to be greeted with pandemonium as our fears were true, the night had come to an abrupt end in mid flow. We rushed to the cloak room in a queue full of people ‘coming up’ at the wrong time. Upon sadly leaving the building blue sirens flashed around outside and it seemed apparent that the police had shut the party down. I asked a policeman why and he explained that ‘they were called due to a member of staff being seriously threatened and it was best for all concerned that you leave the club’.
Before the incident the night was rocking and the atmosphere was perfect. Hands off to the people at Freeze as this was a truly memorable event with the only glitches being the toilet situation and the incident that was in fairness out of their hands. I am now looking forward to the next Freeze showcase now even more in the summer.
We had all bared witness to a proper Old School night, with proper Old School DJ’s, with a proper Old School vibe with a proper Old School ending as the party was shut down mid flow