Friday 19th April
O2 Academy Leeds
At the last Drum & Bass Arena Awards, Hospitality yet again won the “Best Club Night” category and from the get-go last Friday it was evident why.
One aspect I love about the Hospitality brand is the fact that each event feels like the real deal, regardless of the city it’s in. Of course the Hospitality Brixton event tends to be on the largest scale but you never feel as if the smaller cities get the short straw. The trademark Hospitality lightshow is always there along with their colossal stage centrepiece – a huge Hospital Records logo embedded with light bulbs – usually towering behind the DJ for extra emphasis. All this comes together to mean, that from the moment you walk in, you can already feel the anticipation and restless hype of the crowd.
I made it in for the last half hour of Wilkinson’s set and the night was already heating up. He didn’t waste any time and was dropping certified bangers, which at many other nights would have been saved for post 1am. Commix – Be True double dropped with Sub Focus’s Out of the Blue, followed by DJ Hazard’s Air Guitar to name a few.
Fast forward to 12am and High Contrast Stepped up, who played plenty of crowd pleaser’s from his old and new repertoire; ranging from his opener – Spectrum Analyser to classics, such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Twilight’s Last Gleaming. He brought a few surprises to the plate as well; TC’s bootleg of Au Seve got the crowd going with a pleasant twist on the original, which - as we all know - has been rinsed globally. “Contrasting” this, the man whose CV ranges from Hospital Records to the London Olympics opening ceremony pulled out some jungle for a welcome switch up.
Danny Byrd gave me a big surprise when he took the reigns next. He always pulls off a good set when I’ve seen him in the past, but this time round, he mixed his trademark upbeat, unmistakeable sound with some aggy tunes, not to mention some trap and even some hip-hop classics. He opened with a song, which I couldn’t ID, but it seemed to sample or remix Intergalactic by The Beastie Boys. Continuing on the theme of remixes, he brought out everything from crowd-favourite DJ Hype’s remix of the Fugee’s classic – Ready Or Not to a drum and bass refix of Disclosure’s White Noise. Given that these days, I’ve heard White Noise played everywhere from Capital FM’s lunchtime show to supermarkets, this was a welcome departure.
As mentioned earlier, Danny Byrd also brought out some trap as well as Hip-Hop. Special mention goes to the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight which, however out of place it seemed with the Drum and Bass nature of the event, was totally in line with the vibes. The same goes for House of Pain’s Jump Around, which sent the crowd to tipping point before getting a well deserved reload.
One thing I have to say was that it was great to see Danny Byrd going as nuts to the songs as the crowd. You could see him jumping and shouting along to the songs, creating an infectious energy which made everyone feel that little bit more part of the night.
Sub Focus followed on next with some of his better-known songs. Rock It, Out of the Blue and some of his new material all got a nod. It was good to hear some of the newer Hospital Records releases get played, since this was of course, their night. Fred V & Grafix’s feel-good tune Major Happy went down well in particular. Sub Focus also took a leaf out of Danny Byrd’s set and dropped Higher Ground: A tune which, may be rinsed, but is still massive.
Camo & Krooked took on the 3-4am slot with a vengeance and, judging from some of the almost unintelligible notes I took on my phone, I was enjoying it to say the least. They had a massive mashup of their song Breezeblock with the vocals from Justice’s We Are Your Friends and played a nice variety of tracks. It was great to hear some of their greatest songs (Climax in particular) along with their newer bangers (Watch it Burn & their remix of Bungle’s The Siren). That’s not to say, however, that the set was confined to liquid vibes. Classics of the genre along with some of the big songs of the past year were prevalent throughout: DJ Hazard’s Mr Happy, Demo & Cease’s Ladies Night VIP and Calyx & Teebee’s Elevate this Sound will give you an idea of the range of songs they blasted at us.
I could have written much more in this review since everything was so on point, but it would’ve probably turned it into a glorified tracklist. However, it’s safe to say that an awesome night was had by all involved. It was certainly one to remember.
Review by Arthur Seaward
Images courtesy of Andrew Attah