Words by Ian Pennington / Photos by Megan Collett
It turns out that What Hannah Wants is a sold out show. The giddily exuberant revellers at Albert Hall on Friday all obliged. In the Grade II-listed climes, the scene was set akin to the unmitigated hedonism of futuristic parties depicted in old sci-fi flicks; new age fun with a retro feel.
Mick Jagger once sang that “You can’t always get what you want,” but if you’re busting the groove-shaping building blocks of high-tempo house and bleeding beats into crescendos, then you can turn his pessimism on its head. And that’s what sets Hannah Wants apart from the crowd of DIY DJs whose skills and appeal she’s been bidding since the age of 17 to surpass – optimism washes over her assembled congregation, be it via steady, tinny percussion, womping metronomes or pulsing basslines.
Prior to her arrival, Bram Fidder dropped his beats in all the right places, then Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s Monki serenaded the swathes of sidestepping silhouettes with an assortment of old and new, from The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ and ‘Free’ by Ultra Naté to Riton’s ‘Rinse & Repeat’ and ‘Ambience’ by Melé. There’s also time for her mix of Eats Everything’s ‘Dancing (Again!)’, which earns a repeat rendition in the subsequent set – a powerful display of beat manipulation by the tour’s eponymous headliner.
Even Hannah Wants’ trainers claim the gold award as she strides onto the stage, greeted by camera phones, raised instinctively like fireflies across a night sky. It’s the assured entrance of a confident exhibition of groove-worthy pop and dance classics. With a countdown of her trademark pistol fingers, we’re blasted into 90 minutes of musical marathon that feels like a sprint, supplemented on the right side of the garage and house tracks by ‘Flowers’ (Sweet Female Attitude), ‘Benediction’ (Hot Natured & Ali Love), ‘Freed From Desire’ (Gala), and a particularly rousing version of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’.
Her insertion of Daniel Bedingfield’s ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ may seem to carry with it an air of ennui, but Hannah Wants’ fluid jockeying was never either rushed or laboured across her four CDJs, and a medley of UK garage hits permeating her tubthumping beats saw punters romp through the final furlong.
Hannah Wants’ show at Albert Hall was on Friday 19th February. The What Hannah Wants tour continues through February and March before the festival season kicks in, when she’ll return to Manchester for Parklife 2016 on Sunday 12th June.