Heads will nod and bodies will skank, as CHARLIE LAWRIE escapes to the Junction for a night of drum and bass.
The Junction, 3rd November, £13
It’s hard to deny that there have always been many complaints about Cambridge nightlife. Student or not, the music that gets played out in local clubs largely sounds as dry and stale as an old loaf of bread.
Enter Spoonfed. Organised by Cambridge locals Matt Logistics, Dan Nu:Tone and Commix, it’s a chance to listen to great bass music that you might not have heard already. The fact that the night is held at the Junction is a double-edged sword – yes, it may be a relative trek from the centre of town, but the flipside is that it’s big, spacious, and above all has a great sound system.
First up on Saturday night was a drum and bass set from our hosts: Logistics, Nu:Tone and Commix. The boys from Hospital Records had the crowd going mad from the off with a series of expertly mixed liquid tracks. The mellow vibe was a perfect start to the night. Fans were treated to some old favourites and recent tunes by Nu:Tone, who had the launch for his latest album, ‘Words and Pictures’, at the Junction in March.
On next was Artwork, bringing the tempo down with a collection of garage and dubstep treats. However, he couldn’t match the precision of the Hospital set, and the crowd had to put up with some slightly feeble mix-downs. When he dropped Magnetic Man’s ‘I Need Air’, the song’s neurotic intensity was lost in a confusing mess of drums and the crowd responded accordingly.
Disappointed at Artwork’s underwhelming performance, I sneaked off to the venue’s second room to catch Nu:Tone in his alter ego as one half of house duo Danism. The smaller room made for a much more intimate sound, and the sound system covered the crowd in wave after wave of feel-good bass.
Up next in Room 2 were rising stars Bondax. The genre-defying pair, still young enough to be at university, delivered a dangerously good set. The anthemic ‘Baby I Got That’ was received to roars of approval from the crowd, some even scrambling up onto ledges so they could get closer to the speakers.
Back in Room 1, Ireland’s most prolific drum and bass producer stepped up to the plate. Calibre’s dreamy selection could not have proved a higher contrast to Artwork’s. The crowd was treated to an exhilarating, uplifting set, full of soaring atmos and delicate piano samples dispersed among the drums.
Ram Records stalwarts Calyx and Teebee carried the liquid vibe through into their early-morning appearance. The six-deck set was slick from start to finish. Things got positively sexy when the pair dropped ‘Elevate This Sound’ and MC Lowqui passed the microphone over to Calyx, who crooned a sultry impromptu vocal to huge success.
In the end, it was the night’s headline artist who stole the show. Breakage’s one-and-a-half-hour set had a menacing intensity that sucked the crowd in completely. The build-up to ‘Fighting Fire’, with its incredible vocal from Jess Mills, was so huge that the whole room was holding its collective breath before it finally dropped. Growling bass and angry snares had heads nodding and bodies skanking. All in all, a brilliant night, let down only by a lacklustre set from Artwork.