Dutch DnB bigger than ever before - NOX V
We’re all about the best underground music here - but what about when it takes a weekend holiday? We follow it of course! At the end of January, I took a trip to Eindhoven, the industrial Dutch stronghold nestled against the German border. No 140bpm Techno for me that weekend, however, I was in town to check out NOX V, a grass-roots Drum & Bass event founded by a group of well-connected European headbangers.
Eindhoven has been a hive of underground music for years, but the buzz has been all about NOX recently, which was now about to put on its 5th event, and with names on the bill like Dirtyphonics, Halogenix, Hedex, Turno, Keeno & Mefjus, you can really begin to see just how big this event has grown in just a short few years.
NOX V was being held at the Effenaar, Eindhoven’s premier music venue, which may sound underwhelming initially when you try and make a comparison to the goliaths of London...or Amsterdam for that matter, but this place is formidable. It is a massive venue, complete with 2 huge dancehalls and the best sound systems euros will buy you...certainly more than the pound will at the moment. To sell it out is no small achievement since it has a capacity similar to that of Fabric and is in a town where Techno reigns supreme...I even heard people were getting coaches in from Belgium for this one.
Both dancehalls were packed from start to finish, the security was tight but polite (that’s what we like to see) and the beers came in at under 3 euros a pop, so breaking the bank is far from achievable at a NOX event, unless you buy the whole rave a drink, which I certainly felt like doing at points given the fun I was having. Smoking? Yeah, why not mate, in Dutch raves they have smoking rooms, sort of like a European airport, only with better music, less chance of being racially profiled by border force, and no chance of getting acid reflux from a burger. Sure your clothes won’t smell great in the morning but firstly, its not a good rave if you don’t think about burning your t-shirt the next afternoon, and secondly, I’ll take smelling of fags over having to practically piss on my own hands to warm them up after rolling in the cold any day!
On to the juicy details. The lineup at this event was absolutely sensational, rivalling anything you’ll see on a Friday night in Farringdon hands down! Not to mention the residents. Madster is going places, and Fluoresce is a wizard in training...when he is able to keep both of his shoes on anyway.
I started the night by popping in to see Keeno B2B Rido, a weird and wonderful collab that was apparently organised as a treat to Keeno by the event organisers. A fantastic blend of the hard and the soft to create a rich creamy DnB middle that sounded superb. After that Muzzy, who I would argue is fairly overlooked in the UK DnB scene and deserves more praise given the heat that he brings behind the decks. I saw him once at Let It Roll and he didn’t disappoint, and I am proud to say its 2 out of 2 for this guy, and a clean sheet because he smashed it! You could tell from how much beer had been poured over me by the end of the hour.
I then had to do a cheeky half & half trying to catch both Unglued and Mefjus at the same time, one supernova and one rising star, both brought their absolute A game on the night. Mefjus, of course, showcased the audio excellence from his showstopping 2018 album ‘Manifest’ that had the whole of the main room in chaos for sixty maximum energy minutes.
Unglued is famous for you know...that song, but I was surprised to see him show such versatility in his set, which had rollers, jump up and elements of neuro all at once, I’ll certainly be seeing him again. The act of the night for me was Halogenix, the man is a genius who constantly looks to broaden and develop his sound. He had no fear of being experimental on the night and treated the ravers of the Southern Netherlands to a musical feast fit for a king...of the rollers.
Anyone who wanted to absolutely lose their marbles were also catered for as NOX proudly presented Hedex and Turno going back to back as well as the mighty Dirtyphonics. Both of which tore the roof of the main room with fat beats that slammed into the side of my head like a roundhouse from Connor McGreggor! Every aspect of DnB was catered for on the night, in terms of the music alone, I would 10/10 recommend.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd were really friendly...it is the Netherlands after all! A headbanger in a Blackout jumper knocked my beer out of my hand accidentally, not only did he apologise but he also bought me two back! One to replace the lost one and the other just because I seemed like an ‘alright dude’. No creeps, no gangsters no people looking for fights or to steal your wallet at this rave, the Nox crowd are a bunch of fun-loving dutchies who are great to rave with. I also love that they all buy the merchandise, the NOX hats and jumpers and t-shirts were out in full force, showing how devoted the crowd were and their willingness to show support to a whole new level.
At around 2am a technical issue tripped the fire alarm which turned all the lights on for about 2 minutes, and a lowly fan took to the stage to MC and beatbox to the crowds' total amazement. Moments like these form the difference between a normal event, and something special and unforgettable.
NOX seems to have fully established itself as a new hub for Drum and Bass in the Netherlands but that doesn't mean you have to live there to enjoy it. With flights costing as little as twenty pounds return, a NOX event can form the cornerstone of a boozy weekend trip away for any UK ravers looking to get out and explore what Europe has to offer. NOX VI will be taking place at the end of May...Camo & Crooked extended set. Be there or be square.