The last time I reviewed an Overflow night, it was over a year ago at their debut event in the Faversham. Between then and now, I've been on a year abroad and haven't had the chance to see the night's development for myself. However, I've been keeping an eye on their events from afar, which were consistently appearing in my newsfeed; showcasing headliners whom I normally only got to see at the odd Hospitality or Jungle Jam - Calyx & Teebee, Ed Rush & Optical, Wilkinson etc. Not to mention the new venue, The Warehouse, which was certainly an improvement on The Faversham, at least in terms of scale but also more importantly in sound system (although both venues feature Funktion One speakers). Thanks partly to this, but also to the lack of anything similar in Shanghai where I was studying, I was looking forward to seeing why Overflow was still going stronger than ever in the relatively saturated and of course competitive market that is Leeds Nightlife.
Upon entry I was pleasantly surprised by the already-strong crowd presence. There never seemed to be a lull in traffic either, the number of people dancing never seemed to drop, only steadily increase as the night progressed. Having often looked around me during the slight gap between sets, to find the dance floor suddenly de-populated, I was grateful for the atmosphere. This continued on into the smoking area where it was the usual, familiar affair of meeting people who like similar music and eventually adding a lot of people on Facebook you'll probably never speak to again. But regardless of the futility, it wouldn't be a good Drum and Bass or Electronic night without it.
Mirroring my only previous time at Overflow, I once again ran into Nik Powis - one of the guys behind the night - on the dance floor (specifically the front). In my first piece, I mentioned how the organisers were basically fans alongside everyone else, not running Overflow with margins as the main focus, but partly out of their passion for the music. Having said that, after seeing the nights that occurred in my absence increasing in scale, I did wonder if anything had changed. But once again running into Nik in the same fashion as before was a welcome vote of confidence that Overflow's heart is still in the right place. After a short discussion with Nik about The Warehouse's sound system vs. The Faversham's (situated at the time directly in the front of the main speaker stack) we parted ways to do our respective "jobs", which admittedly aren't too bad as "jobs" go.
Musically speaking, Overflow has maintained the liquid feel that was their trademark from the start. The sets progressed in a nice smooth climb, but even at the start, the music was never too chilled to kill the energy levels: Zero T B2B Artificial Intelligence for example, among others played what sounded like a bootleg of Joy O's Hyph Mngo as well as Foreign Concept's recent gritty-but-deep roller When You're Alone. And as the night went on there was plenty of material getting showcased from the likes of Calibre, the Hospital Records alumni (from the good ol' days) and of course the headliners. Marcus Intalex kept true to form and was a perfect fit for the vibe, given his label Soul:R which has been pushing similar sounds to Overflow, and for a lot longer: He played songs which I had totally forgotten about, making me want to re-explore my music library, namely Calibre's Hustlin'.
Lenzman followed on next, bringing with him an immediate increase to the crowd levels, with no one standing idle and everyone moving. Hot off his relatively recent album on the one and only Metalheadz, Lenzman started bringing the mood up, but in line with the Overflow feel: Not necessarily playing aggressive songs, but more energetic ones all the same; a good example being the DJ Die remix of Redlight's Cure Me, which soulfully and tastefully upped the crowd's hype. At this stage everything was coming together in a bit of a crescendo with Marky being the last headliner to play.
While for a lot of DJ's (including myself), doing something like a uniquely creative mix, some fancy EQ work or a bit of turntablism usually constitutes a "party piece" i.e. something you can do to show off a bit and/or use when a set is going off. Marky however, instead is content to scratch whilst holding the turntable upside-down with one arm. Needless to say, he's a bit more advanced in some of the mixing techniques he likes to use, likewise his experience as a DJ predates most others in the scene bar some of the original players. Thanks to all these factors, I don't really think it's plausible for Marky to play a bad set, and Overflow was no exception. Marky must have played at some huge events over his career, but it didn't feel like he wasn't treating Overflow seriously. In fact one of the best things was being able to see a DJ like him in a more intimate environment than normal, The Warehouse isn't small of course, but a lot of the times I get to see Marky, it's in a bigger room or arena with barely any space from all the people packed inside. This can make it hard to enjoy since you can barely move, let alone dance freely. Whereas in Overflow, there wasn't really anything to impede your enjoyment of the set, and enjoy it I/everyone did.
Overflow hasn't deviated from the route it started on. The only difference is: That it's travelling down that route a lot faster with no signs of stopping, and given that the next birthday is on its way, I'm sure this won't be my last time there.
Words by Arthur Seaward
Images courtesy of T6 Creative Media