Broken, bruised, battered - these are are just some of the ways people will have felt after a long and taxing Easter bank holiday blowout. While many spent the four day weekend indulging in the heavenly goodness of chocolate, others chose to indulge in the mouth-watering stream of musical events that popped up across the UK as March drew to a close.
From Sub Focus unleashing his brand new live show on London and Manchester, to Viper Recordings descending on Bristol. But it was the return of Hospitality In The Dock that had many people bursting with anticipation. After the event’s inaugural year in 2017, this year marked another sell out show and one of Hospital Record’s most successful parties to date.
Taking place in London’s famous Tobacco Dock, it’s hard to imagine many better venues to host an all day Easter rave. The Grade I listed warehouse has become a beloved event space in London with beautiful timber beams, scenic waterside views and stylish open-aired outdoor courtyards. Unfortunately for us, the rain didn't get the memo.
The miserable British weather was a stark contrast to the vibrant atmosphere inside the venue, where people from all walks of life were mingling, questionable objects were being waved and Hospital head honcho Tony Colman was spotted roaming around in a wetsuit and snorkel.
The variety of different rooms and styles on offer provided a colourful window into the world of drum and bass. Whether you wanted to delve into the grungy, subterranean Car Park, or bask in the nostalgic Jungle Jam room, which was dressed with a low camouflaged net ceiling - Hospital had all areas covered.
But first everyone had to overcome the challenge of locating the rooms in the mazed structure of the Dock. With it being Easter weekend, it rather felt like Hospital had organised their own version of an egg hunt, as crowds wandered around the venue stumbling across musical gems.
One particular gem was Under The Clock - an unassuming space tucked away under a stairway. With a capacity of less than a hundred, it produced one of the best vibes of the entire day. With the MCs taking up their positions in the crowd and everyone closely clustered around the decks, it felt like an intimate house party - one that played host to a live Hospital podcast from London Elektricity, alongside sets from up and coming artists such as Monroe and Bou.
The same small-scale house party vibe couldn't be said for the main room upstairs. The iconic Great Gallery was flooded with a sea of people the entire day - and who can be surprised when the line up had artists as renowned as Kings of The Rollers, Metrik and Danny Byrd gracing it.
With crisp lasers beaming down on the crowd, pillars lining the middle of the widely stretched room and an inclusive floor design allowing the crowd to curve around each edge of the DJ booth, the Great Gallery boasted a very unique atmosphere - one that saw giraffes, zebras and tiaras swinging high above the crowd.
It was a surprise to see Camo & Krooked take to stage so early on in the afternoon. With a reputation for producing full blooded, high octane performances, it was a decision that left people questioning whether they would play more of a relaxed warm up set. No chance. Reeling through their scintillating back catalog of tracks in a meticulous yet furious fashion left one girl with her bra in the air and Camo firing continuous gun fingers with every drop.
Later in the day saw particularly incredible showings from Metrik and S.P.Y, but it was London Elektricity who brought the classic Hospital vibe to the Dock as he played label classics such as Fred V & Grafix’s Major Happy and Apex’s remix of his own track, Just One Second.
It was a goosebump-inducing performance where London Elektricity paid tribute to the late Apex by revealing an unreleased track of his. Phone lights illuminated the room as a sign of respect and the emotion behind the song was clear to see on Tony Colman’s face. It was a beautiful moment - one where the man on the mic, Degs, reminded everyone just how incredibly united the drum and bass scene is by encouraging everyone to ‘get raving for Apex’.
This sense of unity with the music is something that has become synonymous with Hospitality events, and was visibly evident throughout the day as people wearing casts, crutches and even holding support canes showed their dedication to the music.
Over in the little gallery, the distinct bunker-feeling Jungle Jam offered something completely different all day. With a noticeably higher proportion of older heads in the crowd, the likes of Benny Page and Micky Finn B2B Aphrodite harped back to the 90’s with their classic jungle selections. There was a real sense of joy sprawling throughout the room, as drops consistently provoked raucous cheers.
Interestingly, the act closing the room wasn't a jungle name and he wasn't behind the decks. It was the highly anticipated live debut of Etherwood - one of Hospital’s own. Clutching a guitar and surrounded by three other band members, this was an unusual sight for regular Hospitality goers, but a special one.
Despite half the crowd dispersing in anticipation of Kings of The Rollers in the Great Gallery, Etherwood produced a phenomenally intimate live showing that moved the crowd to silence at times. From beautifully delicate renditions of tracks such as Light My Way Home, to interacting with the crowd and sharing his musical experiences and insight into his journey. It was the perfect ending to an energy sapping, but phenomenal day celebrating the drum and bass genre and the success of Hospital Records.
Having a weekend dedicated to indulging on easter eggs and drowning out bank holiday sorrow was greatly welcomed afterwards…
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