Hospitality 18th Birthday
Friday 7th February 2014
Building Six, London
Matter, the second club by the men behind Fabric opened it's doors for the first time in 2008, when I was roughly 14. It was a little before my time as a legal adult and up until this weekend’s special edition of Hospitality, I had only been able to watch poorly shot phone videos of the huge parties it used to play host to. As a result you can imagine my excitement walking through the O2 (or the Millennium Dome as it was once known) to Building Six.
Building Six isn’t a club which is open every weekend however, instead it is a venue to rent (and I assume a very expensive one given the location and its size). As a result, it is really somewhere for special occasions and there aren’t many occasions near the same scale as Hospitality’s 18th Birthday Bash.
One of the current trends when it comes to an event’s birthday, is to return to one of the clubs or venues where the event first made its name; whether that be a small niche venue with intimate vibes or the sketchy warehouse which was the only place they could afford at the time. Hospitality however, is prestigious enough that they can call Matter one of their original homes. Featuring multiple levels of balconies, a walkway suspended over the dancefloor and a version of Fabric’s famous bass reactive floor, the venue certainly had a pretty awe-inspiring effect.
Being one of the most popular nights in the UK has its downsides however, as I discovered after I missed most of London Elektricity’s set after spending about half an hour in the cloakroom queue. Such problems can’t really be avoided unfortunately given the amount of ravers turning up at roughly the same time. I still managed to catch his last few minutes, but I was sorely disappointed to not be able to enjoy more of the set that I was potentially looking forward to the most. Such is life, but swiftly following on from London Elek was High Contrast, another stalwart of the Hospital brand. Following in line with London Electricity’s “Matter Classics Set”, High Contrast kept in line with a set permeated with some of his own classics that helped make his sounds as recognisable as his hair, “If We Ever”, his remix of “Hometown Glory” as well as some selections from his more recent album such as “The Road Goes on Forever” all got a good strong reception. For me though the highpoint was a drum and bass bootleg of “Hey Boy Hey Girl”, a Chemical Brothers track that – unless you’ve lived under a rock since the 90s – is always a dancefloor destroyer.
Camo & Krooked took to the decks with a vengeance and a set that was so full of last minute switchups and double drops that it was a real task to keep track of what they were playing. The duo weren’t interested in keeping with one style or vibe and punctuated their set with their own tracks (of course) from their new and old albums such as “Ruhepuls”, “Turn Up The Music” and “Climax” whilst unleashing a full spectrum of bangers ranging from Noisia’s “Dustup” to Hazard’s “Air Guitar”. They even played their remix of Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon” which due to some issues which the Canadian - who champions the debatable idea of “EDM” - took with the vocals, remains unreleased. The duo from Austria rounded off their music buffet with a nice dose of trap, Baauer’s remix of “Rollup” being my favourite as well as a few Flosstradamus numbers making the set overall a real showcase of the atmosphere Hospitality makes it’s livelihood from.
From one pair to another; Fred V & Grafix took to the front with their take on Hospitality. Like Camo & Krooked, Fred V & Grafix like to switch up the styles during their sets. Of course, some of the “Festival style DnB” which many characterise Hospitality by was present; Sub Focus’ “Out of the Blue”, Kove’s “Searching” and their own production “Major Happy”. But there was also a healthy dose of techy, jump-up and neuro, with songs you would likely hear at a Playaz or Critical night. They did a good job of pulling together the classics with the contemporary; “Be True” by Commix and Culture Shock’s “Rework” were high points, as was Danny Byrd’s “Bad Boy (Back Again)” and Rockwell’s “Detroit” – a track infamous for breaking some of Radio 1’s Bass Bins.
SPY came with a welcome change from the mostly high-energy hands-in-the-air tracks that had populated the night so far. The Brazilian - who has a varied legacy in Drum and Bass that spans longer than most of the other artists on the lineup - brought some serious sub-frequency heavy rollers for the ravers who still had stamina this far into the morning. The sounds he was bringing really worked well with the aforementioned bass-responsive floor of the main room: Nu:Logic’s “Tripping in Space” rumbled the crowd from the feet up and dBridge’s anthem “True Romance” felt seismic (and I use the word “felt” selectively). But for me, SPY in particular showed why Hopitality is still a force to be reckoned with. Although people like to typify the events as a “one trick pony” in terms of music, it is an unfair description. Yes, Hospital does feature a lot of the accessible “Festival DnB” which is easy to hate on, however one of the only reasons that Drum and Bass is at more festivals than ever before, is a lot to do with the good work Hospital does, and if you’ve been paying attention to some of the other tracks I mentioned that got played, it should be clear that “Festival DnB” is far from the only thing Hospital does well. With upcoming Hospitality’s featuring Friction, Fabio and dBridge: Hospitality is an ambassador and institution for Drum and Bass, and one that last Friday, was given the appreciation it deserves.
Review by Arthur Seaward
Images courtesy of Andrew Attah