If you’ve been in and around the city centre or on socials at all in the last few weeks, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have stumbled across the fluorescent orange Size? Sessions Festival poster. I’m unsure whether or not my Instagram algorithm has been thoroughly gamed by the marketing team over at Size?, but best believe I knew this event was happening long before Saturday 20th August… And, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t even mad about it.
Sponsored by industry heavyweights Complex UK, Jumpman, Mixtape Madness and Berghaus, the likes of AJ Tracey, Nines and Knucks headed up the main stage in Room One; M1llionz topped the board in Room Two; and additional artists such as Kenny Allstar, Kwengface, Miraa May, Clavish and Backroad Gee all provided warm up sets to set the mood off right. Forget missing out on the new Jordan 1’s, the real L you don’t want to hold is to have missed out on this festival.
Surprisingly enough there was no sign of a long, snaking queue at the entrance. Instead it was a simple QR code scan and waltz straight in. I’d not eaten prior to arriving and read online that there was supposed to be food available on site courtesy of Triple B and Eat New York Street. Naturally, this was the first thing on my mind upon entering the venue. I searched high and I searched low. I searched far and I searched wide, and yet, much to my disappointment, no food was to be found. *sad face*
Not to be deterred by the lack of deliciousness on offer, I thought it’d be wise to fill up at the bar instead. It had been a while since I was last at Victoria Warehouse – 7th September 2019 to be precise; I went to Sankeys 25th Anniversary party and just before we left to get in the taxi, the news of Mac Miller’s death broke. He’s still my favourite artist and so, the night was pretty dull after that. However, I digress. My point is that I could not for the life of me remember what they had on tap. I love nothing more than a good pint, and so I made my way through the crowd and queued up at the bar just outside Room One, trying to get a glimpse of the pumps to see the selection I was working with. Surely they’ll have some Brewdog, maybe a couple from local breweries — a Shindigger, maybe? Or even a Cloudwater? A staple Punk IPA at least? It’s the new modern standard…
Sadly, dismay struck. All to be found was Carlsberg, San Miguel and Shipyard APA.
Could be worse, could be better, much better, but you have to work with what you’ve got. I’d arrived at a pint of Shipyard – something I have frequented at Wetherspoon’s with the Father-in-Law and, for the most part, enjoyed. I glanced up at the price list above and quickly bent down to retrieve my jaw from the floor.
- Carlsberg: £6.20
- San Miguel: £6.80
- Shipyard APA: £6.80
Thanks, but no thanks! I was half expecting them to run a credit check and mortgage application before I could buy one. Outraged, I settled on the most expensive Carlsberg I have ever purchased and, of course, it was served in a plastic cup. Begrudgingly sipping on the liquid gold in my cup, I headed back through each room to figure out the lay of the land. It went something a little like this:
Room Three sponsored by Berghaus
Somewhat in keeping with the gritty, industrial vibe of Victoria Warehouse, Room Three was adorned with glossy metal pipes hanging from the ceiling, and pillars emblazoned with Berghaus branding. I can’t honestly say I stayed for long in Room Three, I was far too fixated on the heavyweights over on the mainstage in Room One, but for the purpose of this article I gave it a fair chance and poked my head in for a good 15 minutes between sets to see what was popping. The DJs that were playing (Styxlo, Slowpo, AK Gramm, G33 and Skinny Macho) brought through some heaters on the decks to be fair to them and kept the place bouncing day through to night.
Room Two sponsored by Jumpman & Mixtape Madness
Room Two was as high energy as expected, and despite the acoustics not sounding all that great, Radio 1Xtra DJ and Mixtape Madness host, Kenny Allstar, had the crowd jumping from early. The likes of South London’s Kwengface and North London’s Clavish followed up with some serious drill tunes and in true Alex from Glasto fashion, Kwengface grabbed a fan on stage to spit a quick few bars with him. It was also no surprise that Room Two headliner, M1llionz, got the whole of Manny gassed too; his performance of ‘LAGGA’ and ‘Y PREE’ shut it down properly.
Room One sponsored by Complex UK
The mainstage in Room One was without a doubt the place to be and it’s where I was pretty much all night. Manchester native Comfy set the tone, followed up by notoriously intense Backroad Gee – who smashed ‘My Family’, exactly as anticipated. Algerian-born and Tottenham based Miraa May put on a stellar performance doing fellow North-London and headlining artist AJ Tracey proud.
Recently releasing his top-quality second studio album, Alpha House, Knucks came to deliver, and he did not disappoint. Performing ‘Leon the Professional’, ‘Send Nudes’ and, of course, ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ – which went off exactly as you’d expect it to – the man from North West London was arguably the highlight of the night.
Nina with the nina, fresh home from HMP Wormwood Scrubs, well and truly killed his set – so much so, he’s forgiven for the fact he forgot some of his own bars. Performing ‘Oh My’, ‘NIC’, ‘All I Know’, ‘Trapper of the Year’ and ‘Gangsteritus’, Nines continued to bring the energy from Church Road to Victoria Warehouse, London stand up and represent.
Straight out of Ladbroke Grove, AJ Tracey made sure Manchester knew what was up. Both Knucks and Nines were tough acts to follow, but AJ did it in style. Treating the crowd to both old and new hits, ‘Reasonable’, ‘LO(V/S)ER’, ‘Rain’ (unfortunately with no guest appearance from Moston’s very own Aitch), ‘Fashion Week’, ‘Ladbroke Grove’ and even ‘Thiago Silva’ got spun to an eagerly anticipating crowd.
The night was undoubtedly one for the books, every artist met and exceeded expectations, both lighting and sound was bang on too, particularly in Room One. It would have been nice to have been able to see the North Face VIP area, although from what I’ve seen on Instagram there wasn’t all that much to be desired apart from repurposed TNF bags that were turned into seats and a tent stuck to the wall… It would have been nice to have found some food and I’d have appreciated the London artists on the line up leaving the beer prices at home! All in all though, it didn’t take anything away from the night, I’m poking holes in it for the sake of poking holes. Thank you Size?, I most certainly will be attending the next one!
P.S. @Kwengface on Insta, Manchester is not the new London, we’re much better. As Mancunian legend Tony Wilson said, “We do things differently here.”