Detonate Presents RAM Records
Saturday 22nd November
Canal Mills, Leeds
Before Detonate presents: RAM, I had only been to Canal Mills once before. I'd had a good night, but the layout of the venue had grated on me a bit. I thought the venue itself was cool, but the layout didn't make much sense to me, since it funnelled everyone into a cramped corridor-esque space. Since then, I'd heard that they'd thankfully adjusted the room, and after entering the building on Saturday, I was relieved to see I'd heard correctly. Having removed one of room 1's walls and moving the stage to (what would have originally been) the room's right side, Canal Mills has made the space far more spacious and open. The sound in room 1 has improved too; whether its due to the new acoustics, new speakers or both, it's made a big difference for me and immediately set the night to a good start.
After getting in and admiring the new scenery, I got stuck into the last part of Wilkinson's set which seemed to run on about half an hour longer than the set list said (not that I'm complaining). He came through with a solid set full of your standard "big-room" Drum & Bass such as Chase & Status' No Problem and TC's Tap Ho, both songs imprinted in my head alongside happy memories from raves of years past. These were of course accompanied by some of Wilkinson's own biggest or most high-profile tracks, most notably his recent single with P Money & Arlissa Heartbeat as well as the slightly less recent Afterglow which has - in the last few years - become a bit of an anthem at festivals and Hospitality events up and down the country.
Up next however was the main event. Andy C; RAM label boss, one of. if not the. hardest working DJs in the scene and arguably the most technically skilled. I honestly hype up a lot of the DJs I see at these nights, but out of all of them (across the genres), Andy C is likely the most accomplished in terms of DJing as a career. All you have to do is follow his posts on Facebook to see how he'll be playing in London on a Friday then off to somewhere like Hong Kong for the Saturday. It's also rare these days to see him play anything less than 2 hours behind the decks, and this occasion was no different. He took to the stage with the same amount of energy he exhibits every time I see him; regardless of whether the night is-or-isn't a major entry in the wall of bookings that is his calendar, he always steps up and I never feel like I may have seen him "on a bad night". A whole host of styles were shown off over his two hours, from the classic jungle track Stalker by Aphrodite to Drum and Bass classics like High Contrast's If We Ever, at other points the crowd was treated to everything from jump-up (Hazard's Bricks Don't Roll, Air Guitar and of course Mr Happy all made an appearance) to a showcase of the recent years' RAM catalogue: Troglodyte, Mind Vortex's Hotbox and Wilkinson's Take You Higher to be specific. And of course it wouldn't be an Andy C set without some of the songs he plays which have stayed constant over the years, namely the Pendulum remix of Voodoo People. He rounded up the selection with some of his own productions, the most recent being Heartbeat Loud, as well as Workout and his remix of Count On You. At some points, I was struggling to type songs I recognised on my phone's notes at the rate they were getting mixed, but that's what you're getting in for with Andy C and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Calyx & Teebee took the reins for the final slot of the night, and though following on from Andy C is not an easy act, Calyx & Teebee are themselves far from strangers to DJing. The duo have been steadily pumping out tracks since before a lot of the genre's new wave of producers existed, and they are still as relevant as ever, potentially more so. They opened with their new remix of Spor's Aztec which seemed as if they virtually made it solely to use as an intro - a job which it did well. They went on to take the night into a series of techy rollers, making the room rumble under the crowds' moving feet: Ed Rush & Optical's seminal track Chubrub was probably the high point for me alongside Mefjus's track Surrounded (off his newly released album Emulation), likewise the Calyx & Teebee remix of Kingpin plus their track Elevate This Sound - which at the time of release really confirmed the duo's status a top producers - were played to great effect , rounding off the night with a bit of depth and a bit of darkness.
Overall , this edition of Detonate presents: RAM was a lot of fun, especially with the all-new-and-improved club layout. But I digress: Any chance to see Andy C is one that cannot fail to disappoint. Especially given the fact that he'll likely be bringing the RAM records crew in force alongside him, unless of course he decides to play all night (which does happen from time to time). I'm not sure what else there is to say on the matter: if you like Drum and Bass go to the next one, if you don't like Drum and Bass, go anyway. You'll probably like it.
Words by Arthur Seaward
Images courtesy of Samuel Kirby