Chapter XII Festival
Saturday 26th Mar
The Rainbow Venues, Birmingham
Birmingham's Rainbow Venues staged their annual birthday celebration at the weekend. The Chapter XII festival had been on the radar for a while and having attended last year’s event we were excited to return to the city for the latest instalment. Taking place at the Rainbow Venues complex which is located in the heart of Digbeth, Chapter XII boasted a mouth-watering programme of the finest names in house and techno. With artists including Jamie Jones, Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice performing across a host of outdoor arenas and unique intimate spaces. The birthday celebration was guaranteed to be an afternoon to remember with a line-up that ensured an abundance of quality music.
The Rainbow Venues is walking distance from the main transport hubs in the city. We arrived around midday, travelling up from London on the train and headed straight for the festival. There were ominous clouds gathering overhead but Chapter XII had us covered with each venue protected against the elements. Once inside we made our way to the Car Park stage which was a new addition introduced for this year’s event. Starting proceedings for this afternoon was Birmingham’s Adam Shelton playing back-to-back with Lewis Oxley. Warming up the crowd in the early stages with upfront and effective basslines that were a contrast to the weather conditions. Not that people minded and some even took to dancing in the rain to express themselves. After checking out the Arena stage we headed inside to explore the other areas and were amazed with how seamlessly everything connected together. The Rainbow Venues manages to maintain a level of individuality across each space without compromising with the atmosphere.
With the weather conditions improving we joined the crowd that had gathered to watch Richie Hawtin perform on the Car Park stage. Hawtin’s unique sound combines expertise and vision; overlapping tracks and creating huge intense builds that lead into driving basslines. In the Warehouse, George Fitzgerald was creating a similar tense atmosphere with tracks such as Chymera Canavan Calling from Josh Wink’s Ovum Recordings label and Butch’s Jack the System on Tuskegee Music. The lighting and stage production across both of the arenas was amazing, with bursts of fire and C02 complementing the music provided by Pan-Pot in the Car Park and Sasha performing with Nic Fanciulli on the Arena stage.
The in-demand Joseph Capriati was up next on the Car Park stage, the Italian has established a reputation as an instinctive performer and his set was hugely popular. He raised the energy levels and maintained them throughout with playful tracks and driving techno beats. In the Arena, Dubfire performed his live audio-visual production Hybrid, which was an incredible cinematic experience. With a narrative synchronised with the music that created a journey through the visual projections. We spent the remainder of Chapter XII between stages, with Loco Dice in the Arena combining his expansive use of reverb with other elements; and Hot Creations Jamie Jones on the Car Park stage with his warmer melodies.
After the festival we headed to Chapter XII by Night which was taking place at the Textile Factory - the latest addition to the Rainbow Venues complex. At the after party, Elrow were joined by Hot Creations to present their ‘El Bronx’ theme, transporting clubbers to New York with their unrivalled production. There were so many references to New York and the hip hop subculture, with even the DJs performing inside a subway train. With the clocks going forward in the early hours heralding the start of the British Summer Time, Birmingham was truly the place to be for starting the festival season.
Words by Joe Dawson
Photos courtesy of Chapter XII Festival