The Warehouse Southampton brand has gone from strength to strength, bringing big names to a big venue since October last year. Having been away from Southampton for the past six months I’d not had a chance to get down to any of those events, but I’d certainly caught wind of them. The introduction of regular warehouse events to Southampton’s roster has definitely helped put the city on the proverbial underground map. With this in mind I was eager to get down there and see what they had in store for us.
On the menu for the night, in order of appearance: BITR8, Bondax, Boulé, Kidnap kid, and the Future Garden DJs … a well tailored lineup with an easily identifiable sound to expect.
Having made our way down to Southampton’s industrious sector past West Quay, we queued up outside the venue in what was a pretty painless experience, bar the presence of a certain breed of ravers that seemed to do away with the core British skill that is queuing. You wouldn’t push past in Tesco, so don’t do it here! Once we’d entered the venue I soon realised the sheer scale of the place … it’s massive. There was a distinct warehouse feel that gives acts a blanks canvas to make their mark on the night.
First up was BITR8; Southampton’s chief resident and extremely versatile DJ. He ensured the tone of the night was appropriately set by pumping out a fine selection of tracks at the funkier end of the spectrum in the build up for Bondax. The venue began to fill rapidly and as it did so I started to see a number familiar faces (the benefits of such a big venue I suppose) which I hadn’t seen in a long time. Hi-fives and muffled shouts were cut short, however, as my friend (a huge Bondax fan) grabbed me by the hand and
whisked dragged me through the hoards of people to the front. After brushing off some spilled drink and shame from pushing past half the crowd, what struck me first was the quality of the lighting rig. The LED display boards were branding “Bondax” both above and in front of the decks and were accompanied by an array of lighting that engulfed the duo as they took the stage.
I, for the life of me, couldn’t tell you what they opened with but the pair gave the crowd exactly what they had expected to hear: Upbeat, rnb-hook-laden, funky house music. They teased the crowd for a bit before bringing in some of their own tracks which, vocal-orientated as they are, enabled the crowd to sing along with glee (or at least attempt to sing along … or maybe just mouth along). According to well respected sources, mounting the word “watermellon” is a great substitute for any unknown lyrics (I’m yet to try this). Though my perception of time was slightly skewed I was told the set was in fact shorter than many had expected. It didn’t really bother me: I had a great jam to their remix of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, a track that seems open to being remixed either end of the tempo spectrum. Check out Chet Faker’s cover, for isntance.
I lost most of Boulé’s set to drink buying and chilling in the smoking area, but returned in time for Kidnap Kid, a producer that manages to strike good balance between chart and cutting edge, a tricky feat to say the least. Kidnap Kid picked up from where the last two acts had left off, but then took the crowd down a harder and deeper experience. The Betoko remix of “Simion’s You and I”, for lack of a better phrase, went off no doubt thanks to its enchanting loop sat on top of a darker defined synth. In my opinion, Kidnap Kid’s set was a bit more complimentary to the warehouse setting than some of the earlier acts. As it turned out, Kidnap Kid seemed to finish most people off, as half three rolled around the venue started to open up a little.
I stuck around for the majority of the Future Garden DJ’s set, which was a great showcase for the lads who will have now definitely gained significant recognition outside of their usual crowd (as if they hadn’t already). It was now a a good six hours in and The Warehouse had fully scratched that weekend itch and some. The DBP & High Tide crews have definitely caught on to something good here and their hard work has paid off, both shows this weekend were running at full capacity.