Original Review on Ministry of Sound
Looking back at the most iconic drum and bass night in the past decade: Renegade Hardware’s 20th Anniversary Part 1
Renegade Hardware’s legendary nights at The End were some of the scene’s best-loved parties, so fans of that era would have been counting down the days to this special retrospective ’95-’05 night, welcoming a line-up constructed largely from the names that shaped and shifted the scene since the label was first established.
The line-up displayed undisputed class from first to last, setting the standards for the more cutting edge sound of dark, rolling militant drum and bass that continues to progress and evolve.
Speculation abounded surrounding the set times at our pre-party, all of us wondering how it would be possible to spruce up such a strong line-up without rubbing anyone the wrong way. The huge anticipation of the night ahead was fully vindicated as soon as we were through the doors. The sound was excellent, reverberating throughout the building and turning the converted cinema seats in the balcony into full-body massage chairs.
With Cause 4 Concern and Skynet’s old skool cuts warming up, early revelers nestled under the shadow of Electric’s theatre and it was an already crammed dancefloor by the time Dom & Roland and Tech Itch took the reins. It was easy to forget that it was still considered a warm-up set, with the pair laying down some of the most unrelenting and merciless rollers the night had to offer.
Vicious Circle and Cold Fusion kept everyone hooked on the dancefloor, with the likes of State of Play – “Poor Man’s Deal” (Konflict Remix) and Rob F & Impulse’s – “Ultraviolet” keeping the pace going through until well after midnight. It was refreshing to see the Renegade Hardware faithful going in hard.
Kane and Genotype spawned classics from every angle alongside MC Fokus in full flow and Ink & Loxy took the night into unexpected territory, with Ink’s – “Need You” whipping the crowd into frenzy. Optical and Keaton were in their element; a particular highlight was hearing an impulsive mix of Dillinja’s – “All Aboard”. The track absolutely brought the house down and the loyalists at the front were screaming for a re-wind.
Though it would be unfair to pick out a clear winner – such was the seamless quality of mixing and selection from every artist on the roster – Future Forces’ Maldini alongside Bad Company’s Vegas at 4am may have shaded the victory over the fierce line-up on the night. Fortran – “Sardines” (Bad Company Remix) reignited the room, acting as a reminder that Bad Company were at the absolute height of their craft in this historic era.
The crowd in Brixton remained until the very end, with Digital and Spirit creating an atmosphere of enduring energy. Doc Scott and Total Science entertained the scattered groups in various states of physical and mental (in)stability as the night drew to a close, with the early dropping of Marcus Intalex & ST Files “How You Make Me Feel” being the highlight.
When I left the club at 7am nothing was clearer in my mind than the achievement and the spectacle created by the people behind the label. Twenty years is an awful long time to be doing anything, but such dedication to the genre has earned them a legion of loyal fans and one hell of a milestone. If Renegade Hardware continue to throw nights like this, drum and bass will undoubtedly stay the course. Fingers crossed, part two in May can complement seeing so many great performances all under one roof. These are the kind of nights that London lives for.
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