Friday 21st February Leeds
O2 Academy, Leeds
Hospitality came to Leeds once again on the 21st of February; the O2 Academy was flooded with the drum and bass heads of Leeds. As always they presented a flawless lineup, with High Contrast headlining, Friction, Fred v Grafix, Sigma, Zed Bias, and Fabio, amongst many others, making up the rest of the lineup.
Lincoln Barret’s (AKA High Contrast) music could be described as some of the most uplifting drum and bass around, his contribution to the scene has been massive, showing everyone that drum and bass doesn’t just have to be dark serious bass in a black room. You can take the sounds of disco and some essence of house, mixed with the ever heart raising beat of classic drum and bass and make brilliant music. His remixes proved his talent and adventurous side even more when he dropped the epic remix of Kanye west’s- Bound 2. High Contrast – Twilights last gleaming VIP was one of my highlights of his set, the brilliant breaks of twinkling keyboard sounds brought a refreshing feel to the air. His music is inspiring and lifts your spirits more than I could ever imagine when listen to drum and bass. What I love about High Contrast’s sets is you know you will always be blessed with his classics too. If We Ever was a brilliant blast from the past and the crowd loved it. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke – Show Me Love (High Contrast remix) and High Contrast – The Road Goes On Forever were some of the closing tracks that really stayed with me.
Next to wow us on the decks was Friction; earning his stripes through DJing alone his skills justified his place up there. With the beginning of his set starting light, the drum and bass mix of Route 94 – My Love ft Jess Glynne was just what we wanted. I had started to wonder whether drum and bass had started to lose the darker deeper side to it but it was through Friction’s set that he gradually guided us back down to the roots bringing in mixes of Chase and Status originals and Dr Meaker – Fighter (Unreal Remix).
This lead brilliantly on to S.P.Y who took over with a powerful set, opening with the epic By Your Side running straight into a mix of Chase and Status – Flashing Lights. S.P.Y’s ability to deftly flip between the deep and dark to uplifting and explosive anthems often caught us off-guard but as it was nearly 4am and exactly what the crowd needed to keep going.
If there was a reason to keep going then the next act was definitely it. The legend Fabio has been around for over 2 decades. Starting his career as a pirate radio DJ in the mid 80’s his style has evolved through dub, rare groove, hip hop, disco to early house, jungle and drum and bass. Still at the top of his game he is always the one to watch when on a Hospitality line up. He pulled out some of his best liquid drum and bass, still with a heavy beat, yet it was such easy listening. Again the decision was made to depart on another journey, taking us deeper into the genre more than ever before on the night, pulling out all the stops Fabio threw out the entrancing Manmpi Swift – Soldiers.
The end of Fabio spiraled us into the final act, Royalston, who pushed the dub vibe further leaving us sweaty and in ore of what a great night it had really been.
Review by Becky Stringer
Images courtesy of Daniel Parkinson