Fresher’s nights; love them or loath them, they’re now a staple part of UK University culture. Admittedly, for a lot of us, these events are a blurry half-remembered romp that happened at least a few years ago. These memories probably include more than a few cheap shots and maybe the odd foam party thrown in for good measure.
GIGsoup was surprised to receive an invite to London’s legendary Ministry of Sound this week, to check out Sub Focus, who was set to fill the headline slot at UCL’s Fresher’s Ball. Famous for his drum and bass roof-raisers, the RAM Records producer now collects his sets together from all corners of the genre spectrum. After attending Hospital Record’s second annual Hospitality In The Park Festival a few weeks ago, it was great to get right back in the drum and bass spirit with a high quality, high energy club set from the famous UK producer.
In light of recent global events, it’s fairly unsurprising that security was tighter than tight at the globally renowned Ministry of Sound. It’s really hard to argue against the idea of extremely thorough bag searches and very evasive pat downs at the moment; but it never fails to lead to feelings of invaded privacy and tenseness before you’v even entered the building. The question remains of the safety of these venues undermining their atmosphere, and how a balance can be struck. But, perhaps these issues were for another time. On with the show…
Before Sub Focus appeared in the huge main enclave of Ministry, the club’s other two varyingly sized rooms were kept moving and shaking by various support DJs. Playing a poppy, and student pleasing array of tunes, it was a strange way to lead into a very different sounding set from the energetic UK headliner. But the suited and booted student body seemed to be having a great time- there were mosh pits a plenty, and a showcase of Bambi heels too high for a night of clubbing. A good summary of the evenings music is the combination of Usher’s ‘Yeah’ and Tinnie Tempa’s ‘Pass Out’. Crowd pleasers all the way.
As Sub Focus appeared on his high, main stage platform, the atmosphere in the room changed. The switch up from mainstream club classics to drum and bass was palatable. The room cleared slowly as the crowd opted for a continuation of what they had already been hearing. This is not to say that Sub Focus disappointed in the slightest. With the visual aid of a neon circus performer, he laid down a high energy set, which included a trap style interlude, breaking up the hypnotic atmosphere created by his jagged and often minimal drum and bass. Playing a few old school jaunts such as Wilkinson’s ‘Afterglow’ and a few new school tunes, Sub Focus kept the now smaller crowd swaying along to his tracks.
RAM Record’s own brought it home. Ministry of Sound has forever been a place of hedonic escapism, mixed in with a large heaping of musical appreciation . For all the strangeness of the evening, it can’t be argued that the headliner was anything less than a treat. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night.