Now Then! Presents... Stanton Sessions FT Rack N Ruin
Friday 8th March
Mint Club, Leeds
This was an epic night of ‘raveology’ from the Now Then! Collective, showcasing some of the very best and brightest breakbeat has to offer. This was a night for the dedicated no nonsense raver; an insanely bouncy booty shaking extravaganza with more energetic bass than an extreme fishing programme featuring Robson Green. I was a big fan of the crowd that showed up purely because they all seemed to be insane. Every single drop that Mint’s crystal clear Funktion One sound system delivered had the crowd jumping around like kangaroo’s on red bull. The mint ceiling was as mind blowingly cool as ever, matching every tearing bass line with an intense, strobe heavy light show that was artistic in its absolute bad-assery. At times the combination of awesome Breakbeat, strobe lights and smoke machine made it feel like the actual room was skanking. I enjoyed every minute of this night; it was such a welcome alternative to the house music dominance that the Leeds clubbing scene is currently experiencing. Personally I find House music a drop-tease, it keeps making you think it’s going to drop and then it doesn’t, or it does it half-heartedly. Stanton Warriors, Rack N Ruin, Mafia Kiss and The Hustle and BreaksJunky on the other hand are the village bikes of bass saturated drops. They will give you a euphoric build-up of 30 seconds and then rip the dance floor to shreds with a nuclear and clearly defined drop, Christ sometimes they will give you a secondary drop in the middle of their primary drop and every now and again they will make things really interesting with a tertiary drop. If like me you enjoy DJ’s that drop bass-lines like Liam Neeson does Eastern Europeans then this is the night for you.
The non-straightened 4/4 drum pattern from which Breakbeat gets its name is used in pretty much every genre of music, ranging from Pop to Garage. This means that a good Breakbeat DJ has an almost limitless supply of songs and samples which they can work into their set. Mafia Kiss and The Hustle duly obliged and hustled everything from grime to dubstep into a back-to-back performance that was so enjoyable I would strongly suggest they form a group together permanently: Mafia Hustle. They gave a master class in how to work 3 or 4 different drum, bass and synth patterns into one coherent and just generally sick sound. The fresh originality of Mafia Kiss’ club track re-edits blended together really well with the distinct ‘gangster breaks’ style that The Hustle is renowned for. This was most evident with a nifty little electro break remix of the dizziest of rascals ‘Fix up look sharp’ which got the whole club singing and dancing like crazy people. Another moment of pure genius was a fast tempo Breakbeat re-edit of Daft punk’s ‘Derezzed’ mashed together with Skream’s remix of Cassius’ ‘I love you so.’ I couldn’t identify the last track they dropped but it was absolute fire, they’ve been kind enough to upload it onto YouTube and it’s definitely worth checking out; LISTEN HERE.
Stanton Warriors took to the stage after Mafia Kiss and The Hustle and absolutely body bagged their set. Stanton Warrior’s sets are like Beyoncé on a trampoline: mad booty shaking fun that makes everyone happy. Their set started with the ‘Speak Softly Love’ instrumental (the theme tune to The Godfather) that quickly mutated into a filthy eclectic electro break rhythm that got the crowd skanking furiously. This was then followed by an hour and a half of excellence as they oscillated wildly through varying genres and rhythms with surgical precision and fluidity. It’s almost impossible to describe a lot of the music they dropped as when you try and label it under the myriad of genre’s it sounds a little absurd. For example they dropped a sort of trip hop, Breakbeat, electro, remix of ‘Party and Bullshit’ by the immortal Biggie Smalls, in concept it doesn’t sound like that would work but trust me Stanton Warriors made it work and it was an absolute banger. A nifty sort of electro-dubstep break rework of Justice’s ‘We are Your Friends’ was another genre defying moment of brilliance. The entire set was bonkers and a testament to why Stanton Warriors are very much at the forefront of all things Breakbeat. They finished in style with my favourite Breakbeat tune which is their very own remix of ‘Good vibrations’ by the Beach boys that never fails to get a dance floor moving hard.
Rack N Ruin closed out the night with a slightly more laid back style of Breakbeat. Heavily influenced by Bashment, Dub, Grime and dancehall, he delivered a wicked set that perfectly demonstrated why he’s been making such big waves in the scene over the past couple of years. His set was ill and felt like a Breakbeat take on what dubstep used to be before the American’s ruined it. Wobbly bass and Breakbeat drum-lines got mixed together with grime and dub lyricals to create something that sounded like Breakbeat’s Caspa and Rusko. However, like the rest of the acts on, he refused to stick to one genre. The grimey/dub/breakbeat sound of his own tunes like ‘Righteous’ and ‘Signal’ were occasionally broken up by the insane pumping electro step of some of his more energetic offerings like the aptly named ‘Do one’. As good a night as you could hope to have, I would strongly recommend looking out for the next Now Then! night in your area.
Review by William Gadsby Peet
Images courtesy of Mint Club
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