Alex M.O.R.P.H, Craig Connelly & Andy Moor @ Rong, Venus – April 27

By David Keane

Venus is steadily making a name for itself as one of Manchester’s finest trance venues, and nights like this only prove why.

Following on from a hugely successful evening with W&W in February, Rong returned with another impressive line-up, this time including the larger-than-life Alex M.O.R.P.H. and the North West’s own trance legend Andy Moor… not to mention Garuda’s rising star, Craig Connelly.

Connelly was scheduled for an hour long set, but from what MM understand, a late in the day laptop malfunction with James Rigby meant Connelly was required to fill an extra 30 minutes or so. It was a shame to lose Rigby from the night, as here at MM we had been enthralled by his set at the last Rong event, however Connelly was not to disappoint with the extra time.

Playing some of the finest trance around at the moment, including Mat Zo’s supremely cool ‘Synapse Dynamics’, Connelly also managed to effortlessly blend some unexpected house into the mix – dropping Basement Jaxx’s ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ brought a surprise change in tempo.

Whether or not Gareth Emery’s surprise appearance to the venue had anything to do with it, we’re unsure, but the young Manchester-based DJ managed to find a space for his label-owner’s own ‘Concrete Angel’ – to the crowd’s sheer delight. It certainly looked to bring a smile to Emery’s face, as he was mobbed by adoring fans.

With Connelly producing such fine tracks as ‘Manchester AM’, we are expecting huge things from him this year.

When asked whether the inspiration behind the track was possibly due to a few too many late nights around the city, Connelly told MM: “Yes I have spent many a late night in Manchester over the years, haha. I guess wanted to produce a piece of music which demonstrated that electronic music in Manchester has moved on since the days of the Hacienda.

“Although that period in history was very significant for the development of the city’s nightlife I don’t believe it should be the only reference point people refer to when talking about nightlife in Manchester. There are now and have been many successful and significant cub nights in Manchester so I guess it’s dedicated to them all.”

And the Garuda DJ, quite rightly, has high hopes for what 2012 will bring. “I want to start touring abroad by the end of the year and playing to new crowds in other countries,” he said.

“Making the international step is always a big one for any musician but hopefully with the right tracks and exposure I can make it soon.”

Following Connelly’s extended set, the Venus crowd were treated to the unsettling ‘Star Wars’ themed intro to Alex M.O.R.P.H’s time on stage – complete with Darth Vader vocals.

Bringing some of the most interesting remixes around, including some of his already legendary ones of Armada tracks, M.O.R.P.H proves he is one of the most engaging DJs around.

But it is his own production, ‘An Angel’s Love’, which really makes us excited. This is the kind of track that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck no matter how many times you hear it – and in the live setting it certainly didn’t disappoint. Soaring female vocals, epic build-ups and exquisite melodies. Easily the pinnacle of the night.

And if that wasn’t enough euphoria, Andy Moor’s Grammy-award nominated tracks were sure to send even the most seasoned trance-addict off into a Saturday morning feeling very pleased with themselves for having bought a ticket.

Rong proved once again that Venus is the best place in Manchester to get your regular dose of trance music. And here at MM, we cannot wait for Aly & Fila to visit in May, along with MM’s own columnist, Jordan Suckley. It promises to be epic.

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