Last Friday, Hold It Down brought one of house music’s best female DJs to the Phoenix and her bass shock the whole of Exeter. Hannah Wants is known, both at home in the UK and in the clubbing capital of Ibiza, for tearing up venues with her hard-hitting sound; we got a taste of why on Friday.
The Phoenix was packed; all tiers of tickets sold out within two weeks of general release, which is unheard of in Exeter, just showing the appeal of Wants. The crowd was a very obvious mix of locals and students, creating a very lively atmosphere, all ready for a good time. We were treated to four rooms of DJs, with the local talent on show made up of almost all students, who brought their best house sets to the night to get us in the mood for Wants. With the music blasting out from all over the venue, the crowd was getting very hyped up for the main act and the main room was filling up very quickly after midnight. I have to confess, I didn’t get the name of the DJ before the headliner (olive-skinned guy in a white T-shirt with a blue pattern), but he was working the crowd (in my opinion, better than Wants did).
At 1am, Hannah Wants came on and the Phoenix went off. The speakers really couldn’t handle the bass she was throwing out and I was fairly convinced they were going to explode at various times throughout the set. She really is a great DJ; she comes in, drops her tracks, and can mix the phenomenally well - but so can a lot of other people. She isn’t very different to a lot of DJs and producers in the house scene right now. She blows the bass up a lot more than most, but sometimes during the night this actually took away from the tracks and overall experience.
Rhymes (with Chris Lorenzo) is a great song, and well worth the exposure it has got. Personally though, I prefer Rude Boy (again with Chris Lorenzo), featuring a sample from Dizzee Rascal - but that is just my taste. She is a good artist and has done exceedingly well for herself, but when put into context she isn’t actually as good as the hype around her. She played for an hour, a terribly short set from a headline DJ, especially with no other advertised acts on the bill. However, my only real complaint, which I have had before about the Exeter Phoenix, is the bar. The queues are appalling. I understand they can’t change the layout, yet there has got to be a better way of serving alcohol to a rowdy crowd.
Nevertheless, with dilated pupils the crowd dispersed at 2am after a very satisfying night out - if a little expensive for what you actually got. When Meghan Trainor wrote All About That Bass she must have got the inspiration from a Hannah Wants gig as I was expecting it to be low and loud, but nothing on what she actually brought.