Spearhead Records Take Over London’s Lightbox

Posted by Ben on 20th November 2016

Two events of note happened in London over the weekend; Spearhead Records making Lightbox their own and my Aunt’s 53rd birthday. This is a Drum & Bass website and honestly you don’t want to hear about my Aunt’s party, regardless of how good the lasagna was, so the focus instead will be on Friday night. For anyone unfamiliar with Bcee’s Spearhead Records, the label is an ever-present stalwart of the lighter side of Drum & Bass, representing and pushing music that tickles both the heart and soul in equal measure.

The reason for Friday was twofold; not only was it Bcee’s 40th Birthday (Happy Birthday!), but it also marked the release of the ‘Thanks For Joining Us’ remix project, an album that throws some new light on his ‘Come and Join Us‘ LP from last year. To help celebrate, he was joined in the main room by Logistics, Spectrasoul, Hybrid Minds, Villem & Mcleod, Utah Jazz, Mutated Forms and Methodical. Soulvent Records was responsible for holding down Room 2 all night, and label bossmen Pola & Bryson were joined by up-and-comers GLXY and Imba.

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The night began with a bit of a wait, the guys inside weren’t ready at 11pm so an increasingly restless crowd made residence on the pavement outside for slightly longer than anticipated. The security present was also stricter than I was expecting, the bouncer wasn’t overly convinced by my claims to be on the guest list and the searches were very thorough. Considering the events surrounding fabric over the summer this seems like a smart move by Spearhead and Lightbox, and whilst some people dislike being searched I’ve never had an issue with it, the reward of entrance being enough to stifle any complaints from my end.

The first thing the struck me about Friday was the decor outside and effort that’d clearly been put into the general appearance. The smoking area and entrance way was covered in snowflakes and other Christmas themed decorations, which was a welcome change from the usual concrete-fence combination at your typical venue. Whilst waiting to put my coat away I overheard the usual animated conversations about the ins and outs of Drum & Bass, and fevered claims that “neuro is basically just a more clinical version of jump up” signalled I was definitely in the right place.

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The first port of call was the main room and £5.60 Grolsch in hand I posted up near the back to catch Mutated Forms, who did a great job setting the mood with a good mix of tunes including the Nu:Logic Flatline remix, a track that goes down surprisingly well live. Hybrid Minds quickly followed, and after opening with Touch proceeded to kill it for the next hour, playing classics both old and new including Lost, Be True and the brand new Dimension single UK. By the time they closed with their bootleg of Youth, the main room was full of bodies and brimming with that electric sense of excitement only DnB fans seem capable of producing.

This seemed like a pretty good time to check out Soulvent’s Room 2, Pola & Bryson were just about to start their set and I’d managed to find the only person there taller than me to stand behind. Down a corridor and past a couple people enjoying a (semi) private corner, Room 2 was an altogether more airy affair, in both the music sense and in actuality. Slightly more room to move and maybe the higher ceiling made it almost refreshing, matching the music perfectly as Pola & Bryson rattled off a burst of bangers. The awesome Shockone remix of I Refuse and Break‘s Give In To Me were among them, but best of all was The View, a tune that’s been played loads but still gets such a great reception live.

soulvent

Unfortunately whilst this had all been going on I’d missed most of Spectrasoul, but arrived just in time to catch them finish with Ain’t No Turning Back and almost bring the fucking roof down. So it was onto the 3am slot, I was getting used to London prices again after paying £10.60 for a double vodka red bull and Logistics was up. It was at this point in the night I started to appreciate how amazing the crowd and subsequent atmosphere was, everyone knew the tunes start to finish and it really tied the whole thing together.

Logistics dropping Dawn Wall’s I See You to start made it even better, and the subsequent soulful selection of liquid including a couple tracks off his own Electric Sun rolled out into some darker cuts. Ever popular Whip Slap was in there, and MC Inja deserves a mention here for bringing just the right amount of hype all night, and for emotionally proclaiming his love for Stay Here by Fred V & Grafix, another track I was glad to hear. In fact the MCs were wicked in every set, especially as lighter Drum & Bass can sometimes require a bit more finesse and knowledge on their part.

Room 2 was closing a couple of hour earlier than the rest, so I stopped in shortly before 4am to catch Utah Jazz finishing up his set. His recent Music Factory LP was wicked and hearing him drop Hurt You by Chase & Status, a total classic, was a great end to Soulvent’s takeover. Yet another room switch later and I was in the main room seeing Bcee’s set, which began right after everyone sung him Happy Birthday, really badly of course but fun all the same. Luckily MC Tempza did a much better job, along with Bcee himself who was clearly in his element, pulling tracks out of nowhere in an almost perfect blend of Spearhead tinged flavours.

By the time 5am rolled around I was starting to feel that familiar feeling of growing fatigue, every little push or shove was slightly more annoying and the idea of a seat was an appealing one. So I decided to call it a night, and felt a little bad about missing Villem & Mcleod, but I doubt I was missed. Overall Spearhead Records set a great example of how a smaller record label, it is only Bcee after all, should throw an intimate night. Lightbox was a smart choice of venue, the tight feel of the place suited the artists perfectly, and complimented the crowd’s evident passion for who they were seeing.

The next Spearhead Records Presents is on 20th January and I highly recommend popping your head in if you can, if you like your Drum & Bass you can’t go wrong.

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