I did not feel like going out. Not a brilliant start for the newest addition to Magnetic Magazine’s drum and bass division. However, bear with me, I am nothing if not resilient and bashing Nightlife 5 on Spotify during preparations was more than enough to kick all treasonous thoughts out the door. 5 months ago, without hesitation, I signed up to attend Andy C’s All Night Long with the tease of an incredible 6 hour set. Needless to say, it sold out in a snap.
The 02 Academy in Brixton, South London, packs an absolute donkey punch as a rave venue. Previously an old theatre, the dance floor is vast, the floor is sloped (and slippery – yes, I nailed myself thoroughly) and the sounds absolutely throb through you. Over the course of my two short years in London, I have watched sets by Sub Focus, Knife Party, Matrix & Futurebound and some of Hospitality Records biggest players, such as High Contrast, play out from this stage. Come Halloween night (pardon a pun my Dad would be proud of) it was rammed to capacity.
The warm up’s, Mind Vortex and Rene Le Vice, were fine and good, but this crowd was lathering for the father of RAM Records, master of the double drop, The Executioner himself - Andy C. Around half 12, the moment arrived, and among cries of Andy, Andy, Andy….C! C! C! the crowd got served up 6 hours of steaming, seamless drum and bass. All the bests were dropped and they were enough to have you run, skanking out of the toilet queue. Wilkinson was represented in fine form, Major Lazer’s Get Free was there and no one twiddles with a Chase and Status track better; Blind Faith (Sensation) was all kinds of epic (clip featuring some particularly fine camera work here). Workout is always going to go hard and Andy’s new one with Fiora, Heartbeat Loud, went down really slickly and I think, earned its foundations as a future classic. It grows on you, I’ll give it that…plus that VIP mix is wild.
Pendulum’s Tarantula was an absolute standout for me. I am not ashamed to say that nearing 4am, my drenched, geriatric bod (yes lads, I’m single!) was succumbing to a few cheeky back bends and calf stretches. However, at the drop of that tune, a second wind blew itself right up me and my feelings appeared to be reflected in the crowd – we absolutely went for it. For a bass fan like myself, the bass lines dropped in the later hours of the set were dirty, uncompromising and did exactly what they were intended to - turn to my mate, screw my face up in pleasure and groan, ‘ooooooofffttt’.
Just after 5am, I limped back to my flat in Clapham and a good chunk of crowd remained to see the main man out in style. Sweat dribbled down faces, limbs traced the floor and a 40-something fellah rocking a MC Shabba t-shirt in the back wings took the floor as his own. One thing about drum and bass, it brings all sorts together and the vast spread of ages and backgrounds at this event is a credit to Andy C’s legendary status and longstanding career. If you have the chance in life to see this man, do not hesitate. Run. Do not walk. Steal money and sell your soul if you have to - this is not a drill.
So if you ask me how was Andy C on Friday night? So good I think it melted my face. And I just cannot hand down praise any higher than that.