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The smoky depths of Mansion were brought to life once again for Herbal Mafia’s 9th birthday, a crowded, energetic event featuring UK hiphop legend Skinnyman alongside Benny Page and Ritchie Ruftone, among an extensive and eclectic line up of hip hop, drum and bass, dub and electronic music.

The basement was divided into two ‘rooms’, a difficult arrangement well pulled off, though the speaker coverage could have been better. Slipping into the crowd assembled in front of the main hip hop stage, we were bathed in purple light as the hypnotic beats of Double Deuce shook out of the speakers. The room had a gritty, underground feel which was equally pleasing and surprising for a York based club night. The addition of local break dancers the Concrete Crooks Crew. Skinnyman graced the stage accompanied by the bobbing heads of young and old fans. His punchy lyrics and smooth flow entranced the crowd, a veteran of hip hop who deserved the respect he garnered.

Over in the other corner of the basement, a faster-paced vibe was at work with the frantic drum and bass tunes of Benny Page pumping out. An enthusiastic crowd was gathered here throughout the night, the bpm drawing in those who seemed a little lost in the darker corners of the basement. The Irie Vibes supports also impressed, keeping the clubbers engaged and the music flowing effortlessly. A nod to the decor must also be made, a nice touch with the bunting and flags across the stage and dance area.

Above ground in the stately front room, Nez Perce took control of the electronic room, a mellower space. Although popular, it lacked the magnetic appeal of the underground area, a compelling, dreamy den full of tuned-in people. The night was easily danced away and heads could effortlessly be lost in the pulse of the crowd. Mansion was shown in the unique light of Herbal Mafia, transforming the space into its very own underground wonderland. A job well done.

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