Last Friday night, 19th May 2017, Spearheads records took over Egg for a night of uplifting drum and bass extravaganza with one of the most promising line ups I had seen in quite a while. Making it no surprise that I had it firmly booked in my calendar for best of 2 months, I mean, just look at this lineup:
Big shout out to Spearheads for posting the lineup all over their social media a day ahead of the event, as there were some tough decisions and compromises to be made on who to see when in order to get the maximum raveisfaction out of the night. We were on a mission: starting off with how ever much we got to see of Dexcell, followed by the full set of Hybrid Minds, then down to garden for the second half of LSB, up again for the second half of Riya, followed by everything left to come in the garden: 2nd half of Makoto, full set of Logistics, and whatever we’d manage to see of BCee before heading back home.
And we even managed to stick to the plan the entire night! Naturally when the lineup is as good as this, there will always be a few acts you will have to sit out. I would have really enjoyed seeing a bit of Commix, Lenzman, Villem & McLeod, or Nymfo, but overall am very content with the choices we’ve made – especially Makoto, who is not over from Japan that often, so it was an easy decision really. I haven’t been to EGG in several years, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how it turned out after the big refurbishment they had since. It still is a maze to find your way around and the staircases turning into bottle neck situations between sets, but the old smoking area has been turned into another main room and there’s a new upstairs area as well now where the new smoking area is as well as another bar / small stage area.
It happens very rarely that one of the main acts I want to see start off the night. That was exactly the case with Hybrid Minds taking over the loft, and I could not have been happier. Since first discovering Hybrid Minds maybe two year ago, they have swiftly become one of my top DnB acts by continuously delivering deeply beautiful heartfelt lyrics, combined with soulful and melodic beats and a rolling bass.
Back to the night. Only a few caveats to note about the loft space: size, layout, and sound. Think of it as an upstairs area with low ceilings in the shape of a L. The problem about this set up was that the stage was on the short side of the L, with there only being enough spaces for maybe three or four rows of people – and even less as people were confused as to where the exit to the loft was, meaning they’d fight their way through the crowd in this small space only to go back again. All in all you can imagine it was bit of an annoyance. And lastly, the space was not equipped well enough to take the bass and energy radiated by Hybrid Minds.
The set started off strong with the Tokyo Prose remix of Touch, at which time we were still confined to the back area, and increasingly got pushed further and further towards the back where the room again got divided into a sofa and chill area – meaning even more limited space at the back as well. Downside of this spot was that, for one, we could not see the stage (which if you actually go out to see an act is quite the downer), and second I literally could not here a thing. Yes, literally – not figuratively. We did the only thing you could at that point and braced the crowds, made our way to the front, and found ourselves a nice little spot in the corner right at the front. From there on the set was one big magical dream. We were close enough to the speakers to actually hear the music, but even so it still wasn’t loud enough to overpower a conversation held at normal or bit-above-normal volume. The crowd was on point as well, and a few tracks in the loft soon turned into a stuffy sweat-box thanks to the low ceilings (I’m around 6ft tall and could easily touch the ceiling to give you a better idea of the situation). This unfortunately also meant that it became too much to handle for the already poor sounding speakers as all that humidity started to interfere with it before getting readjusted on several occasions during the set, but more on this later.
The biggest surprise of the set was when Charlotte Haining made a special appearance and performed Brighter Days live, the new track she is featuring on taken from the forthcoming Elements album which will be out on Hybrid Music! I can barely contain my excitement about the new album and really am looking forward to getting lost in their music once again. When I first heard Brighter Days I was at work, and luckily it was already late enough for there not to be too many people around, because it felt like I was having such an intimate moment with the song: it was almost as if there was nothing and no-one else around me other than being all encompassed by the music; every single hair on my arms and neck stood up from the goosebumps I was having… it was a real special moment.
The atmosphere during the set was one of a kind, but it was too much to handle for the speakers. So much so, that during the last track from Hybrid Minds’ set, the Nu:Logic Remix to Birdy – Wings, the speakers completely blew out and the final verse of the track got looped over an impressive 5 times before I stopped counting. The crowd did not seem to mind though, and everyone was having a blast. What a set! What a way to start the night! Anything from here onward was a nice little bonus to an incredible night. That’s what I was there to see, and Hybrid Minds once again delivered big times.