After a bit of fumbling around with the guest list Joe Raygun (the organiser and host MC) came to save the day and we entered the club just as Barely Legal was taking control. She kicked off her set uncompromisingly with The Bug’s seminal “Skeng“. The set was filled with dubstep tracks such as Skream’s “Midnight Request Line“. James Blake’s “CMYK in particular stood out and caused the crowd’s suspense, which was built up from the unmistakable “red coat” vocal, released on the crowd and created a sub driven euphoria. The half step was broken up regularly with more fractured tunes such as Addison Groove’s “Footcrab” and hectic grime tunes accompanied with several rewinds as is the custom in UK grime. It’s a shame that the set lost its intricate and unpredictable nature sometimes with the dropping of tunes with a more abrasive and predictable sound.
As Barely Legal finished Joe Raygun stepped up to the mic to announce the head-liner Phaelah. The crowd was pumped and were pleasantly surprised by phaelah’s slightly earlier than expected set. The first half of the set showcased Phaelah’s personal production and sound with expansive synths and eerie female vocals broken up with slow dubstep percussion. Although everyone was clearly immersed and engaged in Phaelah’s set Barely Legal’s had perhaps been to energized for such a slow switch up. Phaelah responded to this vibe by stepping up his set just after halfway through into a more energized future garage set, still peppered with the expansive synths and vocals here and there.
Foreign concept was delayed and so Gerra & Stone moved up to the decks and upped the tempo considerably. Beginning the next few hours of drum and bass with a dub of the forthcoming Ivy Lab tune “Missing Persons” but wasted no time in merging it with another tune creating a mix with the Frank Carter’s haunting vocals pulsing intermittently through a techstep beat and this set the tone for their set. Razor sharp and razor fast mixing with a focus on the 2 step rollers. The set could have done with more variation in the style and after Phaelah it was a sudden step up in mood and tempo that the crowd perhaps didnt’t adjust to for a while.
Unfortunately I had to run off just before Foreign Concept played but the night was good fun and some amazing music was available. It was a great start for the return of Raygun and Release to Southampton and it clearly demonstrated there substantial artist booking capabilities. With a little more coherence in the future line-ups this could become a big night for Southampton.