Shogun Audio is a staple in any true d&b fan's diet. Having hosted their bi-monthly nights at the acclaimed Cable club, it was nice to see they have expanded their horizons to a new warehouse, Ewer Street Car Park in SE1.
The venue, one of the best in London is a large open space with bare brick walls and portaloos. Very much London's answer to Manchester's Warehouse Project and it's about time they got one too. The queue, upon arrival, was down the length of the train tunnel, with guestlist, advance tickets and paying on the door merged into one and round the corner. It didn't take long to get in and after a quick frisking we were greeted by blinding lights, sweaty bodies heaving out of the room and the emotional strings of Spectrasoul's 'Light In The Dark'.
Ewer Street Car Park is set along several arches in the tunnel, with DJs at the front and crowd squashing in from the back. In the main room, Shogun's finest warriors put on their best displays of d&b whilst room two hosted bouncy new techno influenced by Boddika and Joy O.
Dub Phizix's forthcoming 'Creator' (featuring Skittles) was dropped in almost every set and caused enormous reactions from the crowd. As Spectrasoul drew to a close with their serene collaboration with Alix Perez, the classic 'Forsaken', the crowd squashed itself in every crevice in the long tunnel. Rockwell b2b Alix Perez was anticipated to be one of the best sets of the night following their eclectic, boundary pushing Boiler Room sets. Banishing disappointment, the boys laced dance floor anthems including Fracture's 'Get Busy' and Loadstar's 'Link To The Past' with hip hop samples. Delving into other genres, the duo really impressed and showcased their versatile sample collections in quick mixing and showcasing their skills.
Up next on the stage to grace the mighty Funktion One soundsystem was head honcho Friction. The Brighton based artist played his hand in an unusually short hour’s set. DBridge & Vegas’ timeless ‘True Romance’ and Noisia’s hard-hitting ‘Diplodocus’ were amongst the highlights in the dance-floor driven mix, weaving in and out of recent releases spiked with high-pitched female vocals. His double drops and triple mixes still managed to captivate the room and encourage an impressive reaction.
Switching slots with veterans Ed Rush & Optical were Chase & Status who had earlier claimed on Twitter they would be playing “strictly” drum & bass. This was not quite the case as a few dubstep tunes made it into their selection, sandwiched in between quite a bit of jump up, Octane & DLR's critically acclaimed 'Mumur' and Dillinja classics including 'Friday'. Unfortunately and much to be expected, mosh pits had been erupting in the squashed space as much of the crowd literally went mental. Though the duo have a divided reputation in the scene they didn't do a bad job of keeping the majority of people happy and brought things to a close with their popular 'No Problem'.
Ed Rush & Optical's classic Virus set was the hour I'd personally been looking forward to the most. Having not seen the pair for a year or so, it was inevitable they would be delivering the debauchery. Diving into Konflict's back catalogue, the first fifteen minutes alone slammed some of the best d&b releases to date (most from around ten years ago) hard into the sculls of everyone who was there to witness. Ladling Bad Company's 'The Nine' and Ed Rush & Optical's own 'Chubrub' into the fast paced mix, the duo supplied one of the best sets I've seen in an unprecedented amount of raves. Lashing Konflict's 'Messiah' on the room, the hour shortly drew to a close, with the room still as rammed as the start of the night.
Shogun Audio may have received a bit of criticism recently, but there are not many labels that can safely cater for the whole spectrum of d&b. It was a refreshing breath of air to hear the techy, minimal driven drums next to the more dance-floor driven producers and then have it rounded off by some of the most celebrated artists in the history of the genre. Combine that with London's best venue and you have yourself an amazing party that will not disappoint.
Words: Liv Stroud
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