The new wave — keeping hard dance alive
Reported by benz
Submitted 28-06-06 19:19
For years, the hard dance scene has been dominated by a few key players. Frantic, Heat, Sundissential, tidy, Goodgreef, Storm and a few others seem to have been doing their thing for ages and smaller newcomers have fallen by the wayside on a regular basis. In the last couple of years however, a handful of newer promotions have made a real impression around the country thanks to the determination and skill of the people behind them.
Young promoters who were brought up on a diet of the aforementioned clubs and who wanted to create parties of their own to rival the big boys. Alongside the myriad of talented produces making the beats for us to dance to, the scene needs these new parties to exist to allow these artists to gain exposure, and the whole thing works in a reciprocal nature. We talked to the people behind some of the UK’s hottest new hard dance parties to find out what they are all about.
Xstatic @ The Venue, Long Eaton
Almost a year old now, Xstatic has come from nowhere to become one of the biggest hard dance nights in the country. They pull no punches with their line-ups which combine some of the biggest names in the scene with the best of the new wave of dj talent in a venue which has become one of the Midlands’ favourites since opening. A spring-loaded dancefloor gets the crowd bouncing twice as hard, and previous experience has helped promoter Jimmy Dean to succeed where others fail. “I have run other events in the past that have failed so I would like to think I know what works and what doesn’t. I believe you have to fail before you can move on.”
As is the case with most promoters at the moment, business has been hard at times — but Jimmy has persevered with Xstatic: “It’s very very hard to fill a club these days! But with determination to just plough my way through the industry and with a good solid team behind me, Xstatic will become a household brand! My hope is for Xstatic to become as well respected as club nights such as Frantic & Tidy”.
A desire to party rather than to make money is usually at the root of a successful promotion, and Xstatic is no different. “I didn’t set Xstatic up for profit — it is all about music, happy mad-for it clubbers and an Xstatic atmosphere! As a clubber I’d like to think I know what clubbers want to see and hear, and I will do everything in my power to succeed!.”
Summit @ Hidden, London
Widely credited as one of the most fun-filled events around, Summit is best described as being like a house party, but in a club. Set up by a group of friends from around the London area, it has always been run with a professional sheen that belies the inexperience of the people behind it. An eclectic musical policy which sees anything from electro to drum ‘n’ bass to northern soul to breaks complimenting the main room hard dance activities, and a host of home-grown talent playing alongside carefully chosen big names, results in an extremely enjoyable musical experience.
The atmosphere is unbeatable — with a large core group of friends at the centre of the madness who have been partying with the promoters for years. This familiar vibe gives a relaxed, playful feeling to the proceedings, and it’s never anything less than smiles all round.
“We’d decided that the main aim of it was to start a brand with a kick-ass feel to it when you stepped on its dance floors. It wasn’t and still isn’t about making money. As London was getting overpopulated with more and more hard dance events, it had to be fresh, and it had to be for the love of the party and nothing but,” the Summit Boys tell us.
They have always strived to create exciting line-ups, bringing in djs that are rarely seen in London alongside their own hopes for the future. “We wanted fresh, raw and decent talent as well as big hitting names. A lot of our friends like Seany Sean, Jack Michaels, Cally Gage, Stu Hill and Glen Gavin were still very young in their careers when we started. We also brought Ilogik down from Leeds for our very first party, as we wanted a DJ that you would rarely see in London, and he also has his own sound that no-one else comes close to.” No word of a lie, Summit is time and time again referred to as one on the most enjoyable nights in the capital — no pretentiousness, no moody people — just a damn good selection of music and the friendliest bunch of clubbers that money can’t buy.
B2T @ The Sanctuary, Birmingham
Straight outta Birmingham, Strange Dave (of Sundissential fame) and Livewire’s fresh-faced Bounce 2 This! (a.k.a. B2T) has taken the Midlands by storm since its inception just over a year ago. “B2T kicked off on May 28th 2005 at Birmingham’s legendary club The Sanctuary. We felt Birmingham needed something new and fresh that was good value for money.” Dave tells us. “We have 4 arenas playing a variety of sounds ranging from hard house, hard trance, bouncy house, hardcore, and funky electro and not forgetting our new blood arena. This is where we give anybody that thinks there ready to play out a chance to shine no matter what style they played.”
Using a legendary venue such as The Sanctuary was a wise move, and providing so many different styles of music has proved very popular with the B2T crowd. “B2T is all about having a good time, with like minded people. We don’t do arrogance, only good vibes!” says Dave, clearly setting out his party’s ethos.
Repeated feedback from their clubbers points to their dedication to always putting maximum effort into every aspect of every party — something that these clubbers felt many bigger, established clubs are now lacking. “We’re always out promoting and speaking to everyone. We have never taken any money home from B2T — it all goes back into improving our next event . . . and I think people appreciate that.”
The crowd also seem as dedicated to this new event as the promoters, with many die-hard regulars coming dressed in team colours. “We have just celebrated our 1st birthday and it couldn’t have gone any better. So many people made the effort to dress in the B2T colours it was amazing to see and definitely touched our hearts and made us realise it was worth all the effort.” Consistent plaudits from djs who have played there are further testament to the quality of this event.
In the words of Andy Whitby, “B2T for me is what a great hard-dance night is all about; bright colourful crowds in cyber clothes, bouncing around to happy hard house. The Sanctuary is a great venue to house such a party and I just love the atmosphere, it’s everything that’s right about our scene.”
An Evening In with Wid & Ben @ Voltz, Kettering
Tidy starlets Wid & Ben had been making some good headway with their productions as well as making a seriously good impression on several of the country’s bigger promoters, before they started to put on an event of their own. Frustrated with a scene that seemed to be stuck in a rut, with a lack of parties being put on with non-profit-making motives, these two young talents started up their very own “An Evening In with Wid & Ben . . . ” to break the mould. Ben’s frustrations mirror many other clubbers’ opinions: “The focus is always on the biggest arenas, who has the biggest lasers and the maddest sound systems. Not many promotions are pushing new talent and everything just seems far too serious. I guess we wanted to do something that was a bit daft and fun!”
Taking place at the intimate Voltz Club in Kettering, the idea behind the night is to bring world class hard dance djs, put them alongside the scene’s (genuinely) hottest new dj/producer talent, throw in some extra activities for that all-important fun factor, and generally keep things light-hearted. As Ben says, this approach roughly translates to “finding the smallest club in our area and booking acts like the Tidy Boys to play to about 180 people, having a midget collect people’s tickets on the door and cranking the sound system so loud that the plaster fell off the ceiling. It’s also served as a good way of promoting ourselves and the other acts we think could do with a push! And believe me it’s not ever been about making big dollar. We’ve probably made about enough to buy a new pair of socks between us. In fact, maybe one sock between us.”
Total newbies to the promoting game, Wid & Ben’s events have been a roaring success so far. Striking flyer and promotional designs and consistent promotion over the internet in various shapes and forms have helped to ensure that everyone is aware of their events throughout the scene. “Promoters can’t simply rely on printing a few thousand flyers and hoping for the best. The internet has really been our best source of promotion on our events. Utilizing that has certainly helped our success” notes Ben. “We only ever print 1000 flyers and don’t advertise locally at all, which tends to keep the chavs out and pull clubbers from all over the place. I guess the most important element is pulling the right crowd and keeping it all fun!”
Nu Religion @ Hidden, London
Although still in its infancy, Nu Religion looks to be one of the most promising new promotions around. Rocking all 3 rooms of London’s splendid Hidden club, the event mixes up the full spectrum of hard dance with house, electro, breaks and more in the alternative room. Promoter Damo is impressing his peers, having promoted several events in the Midlands and now at just 20 years old, taking on the big boys in the capital. “I learnt that you really have to invest in an event and have a good team of people working with you,” he says, on the subject of lessons learnt from his previous promoting experiences. “It’s always been my dream to be a promoter. There’s so much great new talent out there. I wanted to make Nu Religion the future of clubbing by giving the new wave of djs the chance they deserve. Our emphasis is on bringing the clubbers what they really want. With Nu Religion we are keeping it fresh, bringing the hottest new talent like Digital Kid and Greg Brookman. Every line-up is very different, mixing old with new. We have a strong following that is getting stronger with each event.” Damo clearly has big ambitions for his party, and his determination combined with his excellent line-ups should go a long way to helping him realize his dream.
Don’t just take his word for it though — you can check out the next instalment of Nu Religion, in association with those crazy dudes from Summit and 123, on July 21st at Hidden. Hard trance legend Phil Reynolds, queen of the new skool Cally Gage, production supertalents Greg Brookman and Digital Kid, breakbeat vs hard house from Steelo & Seany Sean, Freeform Hardcore from Ben Skinner & Hypnosis, a whole room of electro and house, an outdoor courtyard and much much more . . . and bringing three parties together under one roof always gives great results. “I’m really excited about working with the boys from Summit and 123 — they put on such good parties! We’re gonna rock it,” says Damo confidently. He’s not wrong there . . .
It is of the utmost importance that hard dance has bright, young, ambitious characters like all these guys who have the drive and determination to keep this scene evolving and to keep putting on excellent parties across the country. Without them, things would be a lot more stale and a lot less interesting. The new wave is here — the future of hard dance clubbing in the UK.
Photos courtesy of Ben Thomas, Xstatic, Vixta, Damo NuReligion and Strange Dave. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Summit vs Nu Religion
Friday 21st July
22:00 - 06:00
£10 plus booking fee
SUMMIT VS NU RELIGION
Friday 21st July 2006
2200 - 0600
Hidden, 100 Tinworth Street, Vauxhall, London SE11 5EQ
Three… Two… One… Fight!
Welcome to the battle of the brands! For one night only, two of the most prestigious up & coming hard dance clubnights in London unite and duke it out in an all-night bosh fest, bringing you some of the freshest & filthiest hard beats to be found!
Headlining the event is the dancefloor destroying legend Phil Reynolds, alongside legend in the making Greg Brookman. The Princess of hard, Cally Gage blended with the fresh sounds of Digital Kid and many more provide a complete anthology of Hard dance that will please every ear!!
In room 2, Funkylicious & Box will be joining forces to deliver a selection of the finest dirty funky house & electro. Expect nothing less than ear tinglers, and tricks being led forth by the slickest Porn Star that will ever walk. Something wrong you say... Well we\'re sure that Benz will take care of anybody wanting to get up to some wrongness!
Contact are one of the hottest nights on the southern coast, and dive head first into battle with our good friends from 123 and Summit residents Ben Skinner and Craig Hypnosis in a room that offers you the as expected policy of \'anything goes\'.
With 28 DJs and 3 awesome arenas, There\'s summit for everyone!
THIS IS AN EVENT YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS!!!
VERY Limited £8+BF Early Bird Tickets on sale NOW!!!!
We expect all Early Bird Tickets to sell out within 7 days!
Standard Tickets £10+BF
More on the Door
Paying guestlist, text your name to: 07711795909
or pm names now!
Call Ticketweb on 08700 600 100
or book online at www.ticketweb.co.uk
or alternatively www.thetickettout.com
LADIES AND GENTS... GET BELIEVING, GET YOUR NAMES DOWN, AND GET YOUR BUDS IN!!!
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