On the 14th of November 2013, the Red Bull Music Academy commemorated the climax of their 15 year anniversary celebrations with a scintillating recognition of 30 years of UK club culture, all at the helm of the landmark EDF London Eye.
Having previously populated the Eye back in 2011 with great effect, this was an event that had long beamed on the calendar and, as expected, the eventual outcome didn’t disappoint. The usual blend of red and blue adorned the Eye and County Hall, as well as the accompanying boats and silent disco marque below. If there’s one thing Red Bull do well as throwing a party, it’s making sure you know who’s running it.
With 30 club nights represented across a parade of pods, the talent on show stretched the length and breadth of old Blighty, showcasing the very best in homemade nightlife.
From classic rave pioneers, such as acid house aficionados The Hacienda, Giles Peterson’s Talkin’ Loud & Saying Something, Steve Strange’s Blitz Club and Danny Rampling’s legendary Shoom, to modern day markers like Manchester’s WHP, the ever heavy Rinse outfit and Broken and Uneven’s latest venture, The Hydra; there wasn’t much on offer that didn’t spark a hype funk.
Chronicled in full via a live stream, Channel 4 covered the action with the highest number of simultaneous streams ever attempted by the broadcaster, clocking over a million views across all 30 pods. A real sign of the times regarding this kind of event broadcast.
Two of the lucky few, myself and fellow disco wheel enthusiast Mr. Thomas were fortunate enough to get involved with the Sidewinder pod for 2 hours of rotational raving. Enough said? Lively isn’t the word. Represented by MCs Viper, Bushkin and B-Live, with former Heartless Crew member Fonti pon deck, the Sidewinder contingency had rightfully earned their place on the bill as patrons of grime and garage in a once emerging, now recognised UK scene – providing a platform for the likes of Dizzee, Lethal B and Wiley to hone their crafts, just outside of the big smoke.
Despite not having Sidewinder front-runner DJ Slimzee present, the boys killed it. The quiet anticipation and pissing predicaments prior to docking were quickly surpassed as the pod soon turned from tourist turnover to Sidewinder sanctuary. On top of the stunning view the Eye provides, Fonti laid 2 hours of bouncy funky house, garage and hip hop, inciting the best of the mic slingers who took heed and met every track with heat. It has to be said, we benefitted massively having 3 seasoned MCs on board; the vibe was constant and by the looks of things ours was one of the more lively, spurring an apt line from Bushkin, which immediately became a benchmark for the rest of the night, ‘OUR POD’S BETTER THAN YOURS!’.
As I understand it, the other pod parties enjoyed a good reception across the board as you’d expect. With notable performances from Lily Allen and Mark Ronson on YoYo, Skream and Katy B on the Rinse pod and Goldie et al doing the customary for Metalheadz, it was definitely business as usual for the RBMA, curating another excellent event in the country’s capital. Oh, and not forgetting Richie Hawtin’s stunning rendition of ‘Pissing in a Bottle’ by ‘His Penis’ in the pod next to us, that was great.
If it wasn’t for my bladder filing for divorce, I could easily have spent another couple of hours circulating over the river, sinking the RB and vodkas – and although that wasn’t to be, the night was extended afterwards by a knees up in a boat just beyond the Eye, with a few pod players donning the booth yet again. Great night.
Also interesting to note and worth checking out, is the implementation of the ‘Revolutions in Sound’ site by the Red Bull Music Academy which coincided with the event. Teaming with Google + and Stinkdigital, they’ve developed a visual online platform through which users can document and relive previous clubbing endeavours, whilst finding information on forthcoming events and artists whereabouts. Check it out for yourself HERE.