15 Years of Viper Recordings - Live At Fabric
Another Friday night, another session with the Fabriclive crew. We are starting to get very used to Farringdon...we may as well chip in for a timeshare here...all the 5am Subway you can eat. Every rave is special in its own way and tonight was no exception as we got to bathe in the bass music glory of Viper Recordings as they celebrate their 15th year in business. So crack the cans open guys, it’s a venom laced Drum & Bass birthday party!
We also had the fine selectors from Biological Beats and Rough Tempo holding it down in room 2 and 3, making for an eclectic mix of D&B that would be fielding diverse crowds and an interesting blend of 174bpm flavours, tasty vibes on the menu...well not for my knees anyway!
Now it is worth mentioning, I have actually never been to a Viper set. I am fond of a few of the names on their books but as fate would have it...I am effectively a Viper virgin, save for the one time I saw a bit of their showcase back at Rampage 2018. Needless to say I didn’t really know what to expect and dived in with an open mind. By the time I resurfaced I was grinning like the Cheshire cat because I was oh so pleasantly surprised. As I said before, we are regulars at Fabric so we give them a lot of time...not to mention the small fortune I must have spent on double rum and cokes in that place. That being said, I am going to say Viper Recordings provided the best room one takeover I have seen in 2019 so far! The energy in the room was simply magical.
First and foremost as I stood in the guestlist queue (yeah check me out) I turned to notice that the normal line was way shorter than usual. Why? You might ask. Because all of the Viper Crew showed up early and got in before 12! Love that commitment. We came in just in time to catch Dossa & Locuzzed, relative newcomers to the scene who I rate highly. I was listening to the Friday Funk Show back when I was doing my finals so the love is there. I know these two for tracks like ‘Stoned Love’, but from what they were playing on the night, that love had clearly morphed into rough hate!
They were pumping out a really unique mix of Neurofunk, Dancefloor and some Liquid that had the crowd bouncing like a bunch of sweaty kangaroos. Those kind of sets that seamlessly blend the subgenres just sound so fresh and I think with the trend-based nature of UK D&B, European heads like Dossa & Locuzzed have the chance to really set themselves apart, which they did! Fantastic opener and one that perfectly set the tone for room one. At one point I even saw a fan try and ride the rail, before releasing that what she was pushing down on, was a solid stage so she was wasting her time. Nice try though.
Speaking of stages, for those that don’t know, at Fabric, room one either has the DJs playing on top of the stage at the rear of the room or in the booth in the centre. Viper had opted for stage and this was a wise decision because they used it to their full advantage. The energy in the room really benefited and it gave vocal talent such as MC Lowqui to really raise the bar when it came to crowd interaction. The hype in the room was so ever-present I could practically taste it on my breath!
Following on from Dossa & Locuzzed was a dirty B2B between two legends; DJ Phantasy and TC, which was expectedly...an actual madness. They opened with a touch of Dubstep which played into that European element I had been feeling, before launching into every sick tune from the hit parade for the last two years, and the crowd were absolutely loving it. I physically could not catch my breath. These two just came out swinging, landing banger after banger in such quick succession that at one point my thumbs physically couldn't keep up with the ever switching style. This set gave me my personal favourite tune of the night when Fabrics sensational sound system was taken to its limits by an absolutely belting remix of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. I felt the bass shoot up the inside of my leg like a shin splint and my natural response was to look down and see if my feet were indeed still there…
We later returned to catch Insideinfo, who really is a name to keep in mind in the scene at the moment. Aside from being one half of Circuits, a groundbreaking alias consisting of him and the infamous Kasra, head of Critical Recordings, he is also a wonderfully talented solo producer. His tune ‘Airwaves’ is currently in the running for my favourite track of the year as it brings a sound that is completely unique. It’s worth mentioning that 5 minutes before he took to the wheels of steel, we met two people from San Francisco, who had been partying in Europe and had made it their mission to catch him in London! Now that is dedication!
He made his mark from the get-go with a sound that perfectly blurred the line between Minimal and Neuro in a way that had the crowd pulling stank faces like they were drinking vinegar through their eyes. The set was pitch-perfect from start to finish, yanking me clean out of reality and into euphoria. Best performance of the night, and due in no small part to the assistance of Miss Trouble, who brought a real stage presence to proceedings, working off the crowd to great effect and getting them involved as much as possible whilst also making a bold claim with her own exceptional vocal talent.
The final set, that we decided to bow out with at the end of the night came from Millbrook, a relatively new comer for the label. Despite having the closing set, the sheer support from the Viper fans was plain to see as the room stayed packed right up until the lights came on. Millbrook rocked it hardcore and sent us on our way with a light inspiring set that proved a step in a totally different direction from other music we had heard that night. Most notably he brought the night to a close with Midnight by 1991, although it was a lot later than midnight by that point, the track is a really smooth, melodic crowd pleaser and the perfect way to end what was a fantastic night at Fabric.
Room 2 - Biological Beats
When we weren’t rocking it to the venemous beats of the Viper Recordings gang, we were having a little excursion in either of Fabric’s other rooms. Room Two was playing host to Biological Beats that night for a messy sweaty romp of some of the finest Jump Up beats that money can buy...you a ticket to witness. We got in there for the 360 takeover to watch the two legends that are Nicky Blackmarket and Fatman D team up.
The energy in room two was absolutely palpable, and the sound systems, even more so! I could feel the bass inside my body to the point that it was reverbing around my ribcage it was that heavy. Nicky is one of the genres’ pioneers with a hit catalogue longer than the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I have seen the man play countless times but have never heard a set that was even close to a different one when it came to sound. Fatman also rides his beats so well and was an absolute monster on the mic when it came to keeping the room boiling over the top.
Creatively, I have moved away from Jump Up quite a lot as my taste has developed but I still just love times at raves like this so much for the spirit and the comradery and the sheer white-hot excitement of some of the moments. At one point Fatman gave a shout out to the late greats, Stormin and Dominator, which had the whole room holding up their lighters. Secular fans try to ignore the importance of Jump Up to the scene but one has to admit that its fans form the foundation of the D&B community. Seeing them raise their sparks reminded me of the fact that they love the scene so much, they never let the light fade and they make sure no one is ever forgotten.
Room 3 - Rough Tempo
More Jump Up was on the menu too, which came in the form of a powerhouse takeover of room three by the people down at Rough Tempo. A smaller room is more intimate and you felt this as soon as you popped into room 3 to get the Rough Tempo treatment. Between the pillars, dedicated fans were writhing back and forth, and the MCs performed out to the side of the stage, providing a level of crowd engagement that was not achievable in the bigger rooms.
The Jump Up fans seemed torn in the best of ways, opting to circulate constantly between room two and room three, meaning that neither room every saw a real drop in capacity. The Rough Tempo lot provided an experience that was completely different to Viper and even Biological Beats for that matter! Regardless, it was a great little gem and one for the big time supporters of the scene.
Written by - Oscar
Photography by - Faris