FutureEverything, to quote themselves: “An award-winning, world-class organisation using mass participation in creativity and social innovation to bring the future into the present.” Their annual festival has, over the past 11 years, become a big name on Manchester's festival calendar as an all encompassing collection of the very-latest Art, Music and Technology.
Centred primarily around conferences covering digital technology and media innovation along with their application in a modern society, the Festival also promotes a number of art & music events throughout Manchester. In the past they have brought performances from musical visionaries such as Digital Mystiks, Kode9, L-Vis 1990 and Roska.
The first act I get to see is hip-hop collective, Das Racist, performing for the first time in the UK, at the Roadhouse. The group came to prominence with a YouTube viral 'Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell' and have since upped their game, and production, with much better songs over a couple of mix-tape releases. They hit a packed Roadhouse with a storming show. The only thing heavier than the bass is the three MC's onstage drinking, and their collective flow is smoother than a lot of hip hop performances I have seen. The highlight for me was 'Who's That Brown?' which went off! Check it out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP322FWfJWQ)
On Saturday afternoon, I ventured to the recently refurbished Victoria Baths for some arts and crafts. ‘Handmade’ was a day of contemporary craft, digital hacking, interactivities and DIY culture where people were given opportunities to view, and interact with art and installations to create music, jewellery and generally smiles all round. There were also interesting displays of practical combinations of design and technology. Such as Jo Hodge's 'Pigeon Post' project which allowed children and parents to communicate with online social media- using methods which require little or no technological abilities, a truly noble use of technological innovation.
We got back on a music tip with the festival's climax on Saturday night. All-female band 'Warpaint' are hotly tipped for 2011 and surely the largest name on the bill. One of the organisers told me they had struggled to find a venue in time for this gig, so it’s a good job they managed to talk 'The Ritz' into hosting as anywhere smaller would be full to bursting!
Warpaint’s music is a very ethereal and atmospheric blend of reverb guitars and harmonic vocals and the LA quartet certainly live up to the hype. Their sonic sound-scape fills The Ritz (no mean feat) and popular singles 'Undertow' and 'Elephants' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOFxb0F2F2A) even get the stoic crowd head-nodding and toe-tapping for a time.
As good as Warpaint are, they were lacking an energy which is essential to a Saturday night out. Here at Example, we have an affinity to all things 'Bass', and luckily enough our friends at DrumClinic & Selective Hearing are curators for the last event of the festival and have rammed 500 odd people into Jabez Clegg (-is that about-500? or 500 unusual punters? Ed.) to witness some groundbreaking electronica; Kyle Hall, Martyn & Daedelus. All played out in front of a superb visual show (the best I have seen in Jabez Clegg) to a very adoring crowd. While all this was going on the 2nd room had a line-up which would qualify for a good night just on its own! Great work from all involved!
FutureEverything is finished now for another year, although a few of the exhibitions are running for a little longer, and what a spectacle it has been. A truly great festival at the forefront of innovation and novel presentation, and will be welcome back in Manchester for as long as you'd like! (Gary Brown)