Calling all of Colchester’s raving elite, no need to hang up your Airmax 95s for the Autumn, because the party goes on all year round. Basement sessions returns on the 30th of November for another night of maddening basslines and face-melting break downs. Oscar had the pleasure of paying Curve Bar a trip earlier this year in July, here is what he got up to:
With university over and an entry-level graduate job secured (check me the fuck out), it was time for me to allow some attention for my favourite pastime, smashing cans of Stella Artois and losing my mind in dark rooms permeated by the sound of bass music! Though I was back living in South East London, the cradle of civilisation, this particular rave saw me revisit my suburban routes, taking me to Colchester, in Essex, doing my mum’s side of the family a justice. I was picked up from work in Croydon and then carried whist-fully up the m25, fun can of cappy morgans and coke in hand before rocking up at a small venue called Curve Bar on the hottest day of the year.
Hottest day of the year is a theme with this piece, because fuck me, was it hot…and considering this rave started at 8, with the sun still beating down, you can begin to see where I might be going with this. Though the bar was small in size, it more than made up for it with the hospitality. My motley crew of multicultural friends joined a keen group of local Essex boys (no sign of Pat Tate though) finishing off their bottles of buckfast in the car park (wehaaayyyyy it’s comin ‘ome bruv) and then we clambered up the narrow set of stairs to the room the event was being held in. A tiny little attic room with a 4ft bar and a single window in the corner, roasting hot but with fat rig taking up almost the whole of one side…the best detention of my life.
The first act to play was my boy DJ T TEXX, the chap that I had made to slog up to Essex to watch. I’ve watched this lad's DJing prowess go from strength to strength over the last 4 years, his love of the movement is second to none, and his talent behind a set of turntables, though rooted in the disco halls, has now found a new home on the mighty 4x4 bassline wave. He stepped up with all the confidence I’ve come to expect from him, and laid down a wub laced bassline set that could have made Gandhi pull a gun finger! There were tunes aplenty in his set to choose from, namely an absolutely outrageous remix of Baby Cakes, and some of the more heavy exploits from the likes of Zinc, Fine Art and Skepsis, I certainly felt a part of the lighter crew by the end of the hour, but that could have had something to do with it being hotter than Jordan Pickford's tinder account in there! He wound down his set with a little bit of grime, and a touching tribute to the late great MC Stormin, great start to the evening.
I sat the next set out, opting for some time in the smoking area getting to know the people of Colchester. Lovely people from all walks of life at this rave and the intimate nature of the event meant that you could capably have a short conversation with everyone else in attendance before the night was over. Most notably, I met two lovely lads from Essex who were both members of the same DnB Facebook groups as me. We chatted about the industry and what tunes we were all listening to at the time, briefly fell out over Outer Edges but patched things up talking about Power, good vibes all around! I then got inside for the start of Crayner’s set. My excitement to see T TEXX had meant I had totally forgotten that this night was primarily a DnB one, so hearing the 4x4 give way to a flurry of kicks and snares hit me for 6. Crayner came in with a puerile neuronunk set that was as filthy as it was entertaining, dropping tunes such as the Outer Edges remix of Voodoo, Asteroids, and a personal favourite of mine, Sequencer by Fourward. The room was packed by that point with sweat caked ravers smashing the floor to pieces to the sounds of Crayner. A small collective of obvious neurofunk purists occupied the space directly in front of the decks, losing their minds at every drop, and I hung out just on the side of their group for the sake of partiality. Incredible set, and a contender for best of the night, he pulled it to a close playing the sensational remix of Voodoo People by the Prodigy, a tune that took the temperature in the room well beyond what is accepted by the European Court of human rights, and sent me gasping for fresh air to cool me down.
Sweat congealed, and a reasonably priced pint going down an absolute treat, I swiftly made it back to the dance-floor for the nights’ headliner, the infamous DJ Heist. He tore into the penultimate hour with an arsenal of jump up beats and rolling rhythms. He was also the only act of the night to make use of an MC, who called the shots in militant effectiveness. Once again, the intimacy of the venue came to good use, as the MC stood in amongst the crowd whilst performing, high-fiving fans and making for an all over more emotionally resonant vibe. Heist crushed it in every sense of the term.
As Heist bowed out in spectacular fashion, the room emptied, except for just one man, the DJ KingPin, the last act of the night, and one of the people I recognised from the smoking area before. I stayed behind to watch his set, which had all of the desire and crisp track selection of some of the best sets I have seen to date. Just him and I, I skanked front and centre with what I am assuming he must have thought was a stoic expression etched across my face, really I was just trying to keep sweat out of my eyes…..and I had the utmost of respect for him. I don't play myself but I have always been aware of the great shame of when a DJ masters their craft only to get the graveyard set and play to a crowd of one. And it must be conflicting to perform in that kind of scenario. Needless to say, Kingpin did, and kept shelling out absolute high octane fire! All I could think about was what a shame that no one else had stuck around for it…but that was where I was wrong. The small corner window let enough sound out for the exiting ravers on the street below to hear KingPins, crown worthy set, and they returned to share the experience with me, a heartwarming moment like something out of a romantic comedy, only in England at the height of Summer, and spared the terrible acting of Adam Sandler. A great end to a sweaty session in the county where the only way is up. Get down to the next one, and bring a fan!