Since the early 90s Drum & Bass has trail blazed its way through the public consciousness, starting out in the underground before erupting into the world of dance music and beyond. There is no surprise that the genre has risen to the pinnacle of bass music – the raw energy and emotion can be hard to find elsewhere. From the sounds of early Metalheadz to the new school of producers becoming increasingly apt at the synthesis of old Jungle era tropes with updated technology, in today’s Drum & Bass world there is something for everybody.
Like most dance music, especially the bassier strains, you cannot enjoy Drum & Bass to its maximum potential without being in a club (or festival) surrounded by like-minded ravers and a weighty sound system. It is music made for the dance floor, from the delicate and soulful sounds of Calibre to the frenetic and brutish sonics behind icons like DJ Hazard or DJ Hype, one things for certain – you’ll be hard pressed to stop yourself getting carried away.
Historically Bristol has always been one of the top destinations for nightlife of any kind, especially underground clubbing that focuses wholeheartedly on the music. With such institutions as Motion, Lakota or Thekla (to name but a few) it is easy to see why it is such an exciting location for ravers of all kinds. Not least those partial to the Drum & Bass world, the city is seeped in tradition that spans multiple cultures and generations. Pioneers Roni Size and Randall honed their craft here, for instance, there is Drum & Bass heritage that runs through the very veins of the city.
So, with all of this in mind let us come to the question that is surely on any Bristolian Drum & Bass aficionado’s lips - where can I find the best drum and bass raves? In a city with so much heritage it can often feel like you’re spoilt for choice, but here are a few picks that show off the hottest talent in the cotemporary Drum & Bass world.
Into Darkness: Logan D / Nicky Blackmarket & More at Lakota (23rd September)
You would have a hard time finding any true Drum & Bass or Jungle fans in Bristol who haven’t at least heard of the iconic brand Into Darkness. The Lakota based crew have been ever-present in the city over the last few years, consistently delivering top drawer events again and again, with the 23rd of September looking to be no different. On headline duties is the legendary Logan D, a Drum & Bass DJ who has been at the forefront of the genre for well over two decades, establishing himself as a globally renowned selector and leader of the label Low Down Deep. He has become synonymous with razor-sharp and perfectly executed sets over the years, so this one should be no different.
Another foundational Drum & Bass name Nicky Blackmarket joins the bill. A man with close 30 years of involvement with the underground music scene, this is a DJ perfectly poised to give an absolute schooling in the worlds of Jungle and Drum & Bass. His legendary Blackmarket record store in Soho was a crucial element in the explosion of these two genres in the early to mid 90s, and as such Nicky Blackmarket will always be a very well respected figure. He is joined by legendary MCs Trigga and Bassman, for what is set to be a very good show indeed. Elsewhere on the line-up are the rapidly rising Basslayerz, as well as Standard Procedure. Tickets start at £6, which is a complete bargain if you ask us!
Macky Gee Presents It’s A Gee Thing at Thekla (27th September)
Few Drum & Bass DJs have had such rapid popularity swells in the last few years as Macky Gee, the pioneer of an incredibly energetic and bruising modern jump up sound that has swept across raves worldwide. He is one half of the DJ partnership behind the swashbuckling super-group SASASAS, and has earned many plaudits for his work as a solo act, with four albums already under his belt. 2017 saw the release of “Tour”, one of the biggest Drum & Bass hits of the last few years, and one that catapulted Macky Gee further into the limelight. Forward-wind two years and the artist has the world at his fingertips, or so it would seem…
On the 27th of September renowned Bristol brand The Blast bring him back to the city for an incredibly intimate show at everybody’s favourite boat club Thekla. This is bound to be one of smallest places you can see him on his upcoming “It’s A Gee Thing” tour, and the atmosphere is set to be absolutely ridiculous. The support cast is also top-notch here, with rapidly rising up-and-comer K Motionz on the bill, as well as Dutta, The Blast DJs and Juma MC. Early bird tickets for this event sold out in less than 24 hours, so don’t anticipate any kind of tickets to be around for too long.
Major #Bass 4th Birthday: Basslayerz at Blue Mountain (7th September)
Major #Bass have been key players in the Bristol Drum & Bass scene for four glorious years now, providing many of the city’s ravers with a place to dance into the early hours of the morning. The brand focus on spreading all the best of Jungle, Drum & Bass, Hardcore and properly old-skool musical stylings, having invited some huge names down over the years such as Harry Shotta, Nicky Blackmarket, Upgrade and Devilman across Bristol, Bournemouth and Chippenham. Major #Bass, therefore, mean business, and their next event is a typically exciting affair.
Drum & Bass hotshots Basslayerz head up proceedings off the back of a monumentally successful few years, with the multiple accolades going to them at the National Drum & Bass Awards 2017 being one of the highlights. They are made up of Slipz, Blu Bomma and $pyda, a trio that are capable of doing serious damage on the dance-floor. Modified Motion & Anagram are also on the bill, as well as Kroniks, Skamma and Endo, providing more than enough Drum & Bass to keep even the most gluttonous of fans happy. Major #Bass have also organised a local Grime showcase with some of the biggest names including Buggsy and Blazeybodnod, proving that they are far from a one-dimensional outfit. This one is going to a lot of fun!
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