By Oscar Mortimer
The 27th of September saw me commence the academic year with the first rave of the autumn term (may it not be the last). However, unlike previous times, no home fixture; as my itchy feet had taken me a couple of miles up the M1 for a highly anticipated away day in Nottingham. A city I don’t typically visit until at least the middle of October, when flu has left the bodies of freshers and dignity has returned to mine.
Admittedly, this was my first visit to a Square One event, but rave reviews (get it) and fond words from friends had lead me to believe that I was in for a treat. This is an event that his been making waves in the midlands DnB scene, famous for its notorious roof top raves of which I was about to become an attendee.
After a short stint in the queue and a run in with possibly the friendliest bouncer I’ve ever met, I entered the venue as it was at just over half capacity. The sceptic in me had concerns when hearing that the rave is held in a bar/restaurant inside a leisure complex, but I’m happy to report that I was wrong to have my doubts. I walked out, past the indoor bar area, onto a large decked roof terrace with a clear and crisp sound system on show. Bcee was commanding the decks, playing ‘Looking for diversion’ by Technimatic, a solid start to the evening.
His set rolled on as he treated us to some minimalistic tunes that had the crowd, and myself, swaying in rhythm; and also some great melodic liquid DnB that worked to perfectly raise the tempo into the set that followed. Bcee also provided me with the opportunity to see Temza provide vocal talent to the event. I’m a firm believer that MC’s have the power to enhance the energy within a rave and provide and ever so sweet cherry atop a set. Tempza was no exception to this notion and put on a stellar performance.
With the tempo raised, Whiney took to the decks. Straight out of Medschool, and it showed. He introduced the crowd to a selection of real bass face inducing tunes, most notably his new single Flashlight. Taking us through periods of dark knee droppers, into light liquid, and then brief stints of jump up that cut through the crowd like a scalpel. The venue had filled to full capacity by that point and the heavens had opened, but that did not deter the crowd in any way. As all loyal DnB skankers know, rain is atmospheric.
Dossa and Locuzzed then took their turn as the clock struck 8, a set that was a stark contrast to its predecessors and showcased an eclectic mix of high-octane dance floor DnB and Jungle. They kept the crowd moving and shaking as the rain poured above our heads, and gave us an energetic thrill ride for the hour.
Jayfor then stepped up to play what was my hands down set of the evening! This set could only be described as beat alchemy. I love the classics and the floor fillers of the DnB world, but I had never quite heard them in this way. Jayfor managed to cram the entire subgenre list of DnB into a round hour. But unlike me vigorously finishing a marketing exam with 10 minutes to go, it was well structured, rich in content, and worthy of the highest honour. I heard everything from Blood Sugar to Dr. Kink, to Buffalo, to If we ever and more. At one point N*ggas in Paris began to play, I thought that an angry Hip Hop fan had plugged their Iphone in, but then it dropped seamlessly into Tentacles by Noisia and it worked, oh how it worked. Jayfor also gave me my favourite moment of the evening, mixing Gambino (DC Breaks) into Blind Faith (Chase and Status, Loadstar remix), into Badass (Aphrodite); scrawling an expression across my face that much concerned my on looking girlfriend.
Wearing a Metalheadz T-shirt, and with a beard full of glitter, Mova then brought the evening to a close in spectacular fashion with a stonking blend of Jump up and rollers. A personal favourite of mine was when we dropped Serum’s innovative remix of Hardrive – Deep inside.
11pm crept up on me too soon and it was time to depart. Sadly, due to commitments with work, the after party at the hallowed ground of Stealth was not on the cards for me. I have no doubt I will be at the next. Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the calibre of talent being showcased at Square one. With all genres covered (yes I even heard some Neurofunk), the evening was a veritable infusion of everything great that the genre has to offer. And with tickets costing you just a little bit more than an average club night, I would recommend it to any electronic music fan whether you love DnB, or want a reasonably priced dabble in another genre.
Most importantly though, Square One gave me a sense of pride and comfort that DnB still has a firm foothold in a city that Tech House and Bassline would seek to conquer.
See you in October.