Three years ago Hospital Records descended on Bristol’s Motion nightclub for one of only a handful of innovative rave experiences - an outdoor BBQ event with a tiny main stage, a constantly sizzling grill and some of the label’s best loved artists. Despite a few minor teething problems with the sound, the day was a massive success.
That day marks one of the first events helping to encourage Motion to pave the way for a new summer catalogue of events rich with outdoor parties - including the yearly presences of RUN All Day and the Summer Solace parties.
Last Saturday, Hospital returned with their outdoor BBQ for a fourth consecutive year, packing an immense line-up including LSB, London Elektricity, DJ Marky, Randall and Kings of The Rollers. It was a day blessed with sunshine, in amongst a week that threatened to reap havoc with a dire forecast. One of the things Motion has done extremely well over the years is adapt. Every time you enter the venue something about the layout has changed. The past year has seen Motion utilise the entire capabilities of their outdoor space with three unique stages.
From Hospitality hosting the main cobbled courtyard with an expansive flowery stage, to Jungle Jam laying down summer basslines in the long and narrow crane yard, and local up and coming promoters Dazed taking up Motion’s newest addition of the scenic terrace.
During the early afternoon, the crane yard was completely swamped for hours on end, with the security having to put a one way entry system in place due to the sheer volume of people flooding through the doors. But who could blame them when Jungle Jam brought a legendary line-up featuring figureheads such as DJ Marky, Benny Page and Kenny Ken.
However, it was Randall who drew one of the most bustling crowds of the day at a time when the other stages were relatively quiet. Having someone as formidable as Randall on so early in the afternoon represented the strength of the line-up.
As a DJ pioneering rave culture early on in the 90s with the likes of Fabio & Grooverider hosting countless illegal raves and club nights, it was no surprise to see so many older heads packing into the arena. Every jungle classic was met with people skanking like crazy and even had some women twerking… It was like everyone was basking in the nostalgia of a DJ synonymous with the upbringing of many in the crowd.
As the afternoon rolled on, the main stage crowd continued to grow in size with performances from Logistics, Etherwood and LSB. But there was one act in particular that caused a great deal of anticipation - Kings of The Rollers. One of Hospital’s newest additions, this group has been a revelation over the past year - from their witty sense of humour to their willingness to mix the most unlikeliest concoction of tracks together. There was a real buzz around the venue in the lead up to their set, with everyone seeming to descend on the Courtyard at the same time.
As three of the Kings walked on stage, there was a noticeable face missing… Serum. Due to the birth of his new born child, Serum was not in attendance and I couldn't help but feel like the performance was impacted as a result.
It was disappointing to see the majority of the crowd so motionless as the other members did their best to bring the usual flair and playfulness they are renowned for. We’re talking KOTR, the drum and bass supergroup who shut down Boomtown last year with a set that got voted one of the year’s best in the 2017 Drum and Bass Awards.
This lack of energy unfortunately seemed to be a theme for a lot of the afternoon at the main stage, but it was rectified by the other stages, which were bringing their own unique intimate vibes. The terrace, which is smoking area by night and dance floor by day, presenting a special atmosphere with people stood on benches dancing and the crowd huddled in close proximity around the DJ booth, flinging gun fingers at the DJ.
Hosted by beloved Bristol club night Dazed, throughout the afternoon various rising talents took to stage - most notably Unglued and K Motionz, who had the crowd going crazy for the mix of rollers and jump up. For most of their sets you couldn't even see who was behind the decks, as the whole stage was filled with people dancing.
Being situated by the canal and completely open to the surroundings, this led to some rather bizarre moments from various onlookers. I’ve seen many strange things at raves over the years, but one of the most surreal has to be the sight of boats passing by the stage and slowing down for a quick skank to the sounds of High Contrast’s ‘If We Ever’.
Over on the main stage during the latter part of the day, Danny Byrd brought the much needed Hospitality energy. The combination of label boss London Elektricity acting as a front man at times with his crazy air drumming and questionable stage antics, alongside Danny Byrd ferociously mixing classic Hospital melodies with hard-hitting jump up, led to a bustling atmosphere with people on shoulders demanding rewinds.
However, it was DJ Marky’s Jungle Jam set that not only provided the most electric atmosphere of the day, but also drew some of the biggest talking points. As a legendary figure in the scene, it was strange to see Marky on such a small stage, but it made the occasion extra special. As someone who rarely plays in the UK, this was clearly the set many had been waiting for. Every drop led to people going crazy grabbing their friends and cheering as Marky continuously unleashed heavy hitters. The ridiculous bass blend of Serum’s ‘Quarter Pounder Bass’ and Benny L’s ‘Low Blow’ prompted the most raucous reaction.
Towards the end of his set as the sunlight began to fade, the moment everyone had been anticipating arrived - the first sound of a record scratch. As someone who began his career mastering the art of scratching in competitions back home in Brazil, Marky has developed an outstanding reputation for his immense scratching ability.
He teased the crowd with one short stab - a sound met by a flurry of cheers with the crowd anticipating the mastery to come. As the track rolled out, Marky unleashed his scratching talent and went in on the vinyls at an extraordinary pace, with everyone clapping afterwards in appreciation of one of the best DJs to grace the genre.
Marky’s set also brought about another major talking point when people in the crowd began to turn around and point with puzzled expressions on their faces. Halfway up the stairway on the side of the building was a man stood reading a book… After being bombarded with plastic cups and a chat with the security guard, he returned to the crowd. Ever since the man has become an internet hit with interviews and videos sprawling social media. Just when you thought you'd seen it all in Bristol…
Image courtesy of Ania Shrimpton.
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