Review: Hacienda Classical
Hacienda Classical is the sort of ludicrous concoction that emerges at 6am after a ‘mad one’: mix the acid house tunes once played in Manchester’s legendary Hacienda night club with a 70 piece orchestra and gospel choir. Usually these ideas rarely come into fruition, which is what makes a Hacienda Classical concert a particularly unique experience! Last Friday promised the usual catch up with friends and bottle of wine but, at the last minute, my evening was transformed into what can only be described as an acid trip minus the drugs after I somehow ended up with tickets to a Hacienda Classical concert at the SSE Hydro!
As a rock music fan with experience playing classical music in an orchestra as a teenager, I did not know what to expect. To be honest, I was completely baffled by the idea of it alone! However, I was pleasantly surprised by what was an entertaining and infectious performance.
The experience is defined by a cultural clash between the Manchester Camerata, conducted by Tim Crooks, and original Hacienda DJs Mike Pickering and Graeme Park.
Against all odds this ‘clash’ created a high enjoyable music entertainment experience. Something that should never have worked somehow did and the Glasgow crowds responded with rife enthusiasm.
The crowd was eased into the euphoric rave with Carnio and I’ll Be Your Friend but excitement did not peak until Voodoo Ray was dropped half an hour in. This crowd pleaser was swiftly followed up by an array of popular club classics such as Pacific State by 808 State and Derrick May’s Strings of Life.
Unfortunately during certain tracks, such as Candi Staton’s You Got the Love, teething problems in the acoustics emerged, and often the orchestra and choir were drowned out by the drum and base beats.
Nevertheless, the acoustics did not seem to faze the audience as fans continued to dance and sing along. For a moment, many forgot about the irregularity of the live orchestral dance mash up…. that was until Bez of the Happy Monday’s appeared to freaky dance up and down the stage. What’s more, intermittent encouragement to "get your rave on” by the evening's host, MC Tunes only emphasized the cringe worthy contrast and added to the messy night club feel.
However, towards the end the cheesy chants of MC Tunes were replaced by popular dance anthems. The highlight was undoubtedly the cover of New Order’s epic Blue Monday featuring their ex-bassist Peter Hook as this was the magic song that immediately transported crowds back to the Hacienda glory days.
Hacienda Classical - The Verdict
Hacienda Classical is still a relatively new act and is clearly a work in progress. However, the act promises a musical experience like no other and I would recommend it to any open minded music fan- whether you like classical, dance, both or neither. What’s more, the mixture of strings and the ragged glory days makes for a party atmosphere worthy of the famous Hacienda name.