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Liv Stroud on Nottingham’s Detonate

Liv Stroud on Nottingham’s Detonate
24 May, 2011

We asked renowned drum & bass writer Liv Stroud to give us the lowdown on the Detonate Indoor Festival that blew up in May with some sharp track IDs and surprisingly clear-headed insights straight from the floor to the Drum&BassArena blog. Check out here site at duracelldnb.blogspot.com.

Detonate’s yearly Indoor Festival is as big as New Years Eve for Nottingham. With a line up that boasted over 50 of the biggest DJs across 4 arenas all within walking distance, the night was something not to be missed. The fifth instalment included rooms hosted by Cult, Rinse vs FWD, Digital Soundboy and Basslaced, to name a few.

We entered the basement of Rock City to be greeted with the sounds of Critical Music label owner, Kasra, dropping the filthy rumbling beats of Icicle’s Dreadnaught. SP:MC’s “If you focus, you can see the speaker pulsate” lyric seemed highly appropriate as the towering stack of speakers ground the bass right through my muscles. The predatory bassline of Vicious Circle and Jubei’s Cloak and Dagger echoed through the truly excited crowd. Towards the end of the set, the bouncing rhythm of Enei’s forthcoming ‘Stonehead’ filtered trough the room as everyone who knew what it was had the “Trust me” refrain on their lips.

Exit Records boss, D-Bridge, was up next and brought a spectrum of tunes that packed the room out, including the VIP of Alix Perez and Spectrasoul’s classic Forsaken and D-Bridge’s own jingly True Romance. The whole room, including the DJs who were due to play that room for the rest of the night, visibly appreciated his selection. The whole atmosphere was pretty alight as the dark swirls of Fierce and Vicious Circle’s Section dropped, before the veteran immersed the audience in his soulful, chromatic masterpiece, Inner Disbelief.

Collateral collaborators, Die and Break, took over the next hour in a back-to-back set that they were clearly enjoying as much as the crowd. The duo took it in turns to spin their impressive collection of vinyl that included Die’s own Ghet’to Bizness and their fresh VIP of Slow Down, which had Ruthless MC demanding a rewind for before the room erupted again.

I took a “brief” trip upstairs to see what chaos Andy C was causing, which kept me skanking for quite a while. Callide’s disgusting annihilator Supreme had the huge Rock City room pulling bassfaces and stomping in unison as he mixed it into Hazard’s mighty Killers Don’t Die. The uproar was ridiculous as Andy double dropped tracks including Fresh’s Cylon and new Gatekeeper into the early hours of the morning. The whole swarm of people were almost hanging off the walls as he flaunted his majestic skills. The lights were quite intense in the room, causing quite a reaction from the crowd.

S.P.Y was up next in the basement and had ravers pouring into the room to sing along to Calibre and MC Fat’s Drop it down. One of the highlights of the night was witnessing S.P.Y dropping his mesmerising By Your Side followed by the notorious Gangsta VIP. Truly Incredible. S.P.Y played a strong eclectic set that kept a loyal crowd there for the whole hour.

Over in the Rig, hosted by UKF, DC Breaks played a robust set littered with dance floor anthems and thread-tight mixes. The Funcktion One soundsystem washed a wave of Spor’s Aztec into DC Breaks’ own Mankind VIP over the crowd, which was joining in dancing with Script MC. Definitely one of the best sets of the night, DC Breaks just dropped tune after tune, whilst Script found the fine balance of letting the music breathe, but hyping the crowd nicely. Sub Zero’s cheeky, recently released Poon signalled the last couple of tracks as we headed back to catch Icicle.

Having just released the marvellous Under the Ice LP, Icicle was set to be something special indeed. Armed with huge tracks including his new re-rub of Friction and K-Tee’s Set it off, the room was proving difficult to navigate through the army of excited ravers. More Shogun classics reverberated through the speakers; accompanied by the legendary DRS. Icicle’s new Redemption went down a treat as he brought the set to a great close.

Rockwell had the last hour and dropped plenty of treats for those who had the energy to stay, including Phace’s Strange Science. The peak of his set had to be his mixing of Phace and his tune ‘No’, into Misanthrop’s Sidereel and then into Rob F and Impulse’s Ultraviolet. Stamina MC kept the flow going until the lights came on, and everyone either went home or filtered upstairs into the main room, where Icicle had taken over from Friction, who had broken down and was unable to play.

Indoor Festival was an excellent night that summed up the whole spectrum of d&b, catering for everyone. Having attended Detonate’s Indoor Festival for three years running, I can honestly say it is worth of a yearly tradition, though it’ll be pretty damn hard to beat this year’s!