The Liquid Room
Hannah Alicia Smith, better known as the house music favourite Hannah Wants, is poised to take the stage, at midnight on a Saturday in The Liquid Room in Edinburgh. The room is packed, sweaty and expectant following the support acts Shadow Child and Mak & Pasteman, as the dense sea of black and white Adidas trainers turns to face the impressive stage and sharp neon displays hovering above the decks.
The Liquid Room initially seemed to be a strange venue for the night, but the grand yet understated raised stage with simple and bold screens bordering and strengthening the atmosphere oddly suits the venue. The upper balconies towering over make it seem almost like a my-first-superclub starter kit; a make-it-at-home London club, despite itself.
The feeling of anticipation is clear – even though she is still a relatively new artist, Hannah Wants is, for anyyone who has ventured anywhere within a mile of the house music genre, likely the source of at least a few memories of a wireless speaker at a beach party. Fond memories and Liquid Room’s menu of discount shots make a powerful cocktail as it turns out, and it feels as though the room is ready to be pushed over the precipice.
The sonic force of the entrance of Hannah Wants is even more pronounced than I expected. The bass sends dangerous vibrations through the crowd as the air seems to thicken, the tension of the room released.
I’m not sure what the lethal dose of Calvin Klein aftershave is, but as the crowd raises their arms in unison, I am certain more than half-hour stints in the crowd here may be medically equivalent to a weekend at Chernobyl.
The set is relatively short but the whole scope of her repertoire is explored. Old and new tunes alike make for an interesting array of styles, with some exotic new ventures amid the classics.
However, while the set doesn’t let up, the tone is pretty boringly consistent throughout. Songs blend together disappointingly for an artist so known for creating atmosphere and iconicity. A bit of depth could have gone a long way for a headlining slot, and despite the consistent ferocity, the mood and energy of the crowd did start to waver as time went on, with hands dropping from the air and the once-dense crowd spreading out and weakening in conviction.
Hannah Wants is clearly a skilled DJ, so the lack of excitement does feel slightly like laziness at a point. Excitement early on and strong support acts made the night lively, but a little more structure could have made the night more memorable, particularly for acts that merit some people there scheduling a weekend away around. Less reliance on reputation and more on showmanship would achieve a legendary performance.