Festivals make me smile wryly. I see people posting excitedly on FB about them, then I go to look at the line-up and amongst all the mainstream, indie, student electronica and Radio 1 so-called dance music, there's one act/DJ I'd pay a tenner to see in a local club and two more I'd pop in to see if they were on for free in a pub round the corner and that's it.
Bangface is a bit different. In fact it's a bit different to everything: Not only the antithesis of standard festival mundanity, it's also the antithesis of chinstroking purist dance genre dweebery (too much of a party vibe for that), the antithesis of smart upmarket Londonised clubbing (far too ravey including pretty much a dress anti-code), it's even the antithesis of mid-late 90s raves with separate genre segregation. Look at the timetables below...
You get ALL of the harder dance genres mashed together along with various off beat and experimental stuff and a crowd that is about 30% die hard raver / crusty, 30% normal people dressed up flamboyantly and ridiculously like the die hard crusty ravers, 30% normal people who forgot their neon and horns and feathers, and a token 10% neds chavs posers etc - a proper dance festival by anyone's standards.
I went to the 2012 weekender which was a bit of a mission since it was 10 hours slog to Newquay and I didn't have enough petrol to get to rave and back on the first night so missed the Outside Agency etc etc, although after it was over I did get some great climbing on the North Cornwall coast. This time was a bit different because it was 3 hour drive and I got a cheap hotel at the Charnock Richard services (really quite disappointing to be coming off at junction 27½ legally but needs must), OTOH the weather was fucking dire so no essential grit hit before during or after. Instead I went to the Manchester Depot, met Julie Andy the Lincoln and the Bennetts which was nice and social, despite a late night (7am) I did really well, the sauna heat shortcutted my warm-up whilst the anti-hydral allowed me to cope with the manky holds (somewhat at odds with the splendor of the wall itself). The best and least injury-hampered session I've had this year.
So back to the banging. Lots of clashes on the flyer but I caught:
Randomer - really good proper techno, helped by a fucking mint soundsystem in room 2, apparently he's more of a *step DJ.
a bit of Ceephax Acid Crew - slow and mundane, I walked through pretty quick.
Om Unit - gripping deep and dark halfstep dnb into some jungle at the end. Not my usual dnb style but I skipped the ever-reliable Dave Clarke cos this sounded so good.
Evol Intent - good neuro / techstep although a bit stop start in places, also there was too much Evol as Dj Hype didn't turn up - a pity as a more jump up jungle set would have broken things up perfectly.
a bit of Radium - bouncy frenchore, seemed to be going down well.
a bit of some Japanese dude - fast happy hardcore gabber, seemed to be quite fun.
Panacea - great set of neuro, techstep, crossbreed insanity. This has been a lonnnng time coming, 20 years in fact when a mate and I were in a record shop overhearing a punter saying "Nah I don't really like that heavy metal drum'n'bass", referring to his Low Profile Darkness album. Many albums, collaborations and a fantastic John Peel birthday set later, his style is a bit more squelchy neuro than super dark dnb, but he still does a great job.
a bit of Detest - good but a bit stop start i.e. a lot of drops into kickdrums but I dunno not as much flow as I hoped.
The Liberators - the opposite, pleasingly relentless banging acid techno, just how you'd expect. Another John Peel favourite and you can see why. They had some issues with decks skipping but the music was on point.
The DJ Producer - another highlight, I didn't think I'd last this long but the man like Producer promised "Facemelt Friday" and he didn't disappoint with a classic set of turntablised gabber, hardcore techno and crossbreed. One of my favourite DJs in the late 90s and he still has it.
Ratpack - a good set of the full spectrum of old skool from rave, funky house, breakbeat, early jungle etc. Not my sort of thing at all but they seemed to do a great job of it. A mellow breakbeat mash-up of the Born Slippy intro melody was a real nice chillout moment.
Ed Solo & Deekline - partly made up for the Hype no show with a proper dancefloor DnB set from modern jump-up back to jungle classics. Good stuff.
Angel - another highlight - I'd recently got some big Angel hype after finding out the Can You See Me track was her, and this was a great set of relentless ebbing and flowing industrial techno and crunchy analogue. Much better than some of the stop start stuff, the dancefloor went from empty to barely-able-to-move (even a grumpy security guard was nodding along) and yes there was much flying limbs at 2:03 above.
Atari Teenage Riot - did exactly what you'd expect. Decent aggressive gabber / breakcore with shouted vocals. I can see why people like them but separate tracks after some of the more crafted DJ sets didn't really inspire me.
a bit of Reso - finished on some great neuro jump up, apparently he's a dubstep DJ and I really wished I'd caught all of his set instead of ATR as a mix blending hard dubstep into DnB would have gone down a treat.
a bit of TQD - bassline house / grime / stuff. Not my personal bag but sounded pretty cool, good to have variety.
Skull Vomit - cheery speed gabber and breakcore, more of my personal bag, fast, silly, and fun.
the end of Bogdan Rathingy - pretty dire, bland and bleepy electronica.
Dieselboy - more proper hard neuro dnb, a good set with some nice slices of more abstract stuff mixed in. The modern hard neuro (astutely coined on Drum And Bass Arena as "Eastern European Sausage Tech") does get a bit samey but Dieselboy and Panacea mixed it up enough.
half of Bong-Ra - I wish he'd been on sooner as I was all out of energy and my feet were too sore to bounce away to his mentalist blend of breakcore, jungle and gabber. I still don't really get 180-200bpm breakcore but I need to give it chance when I'm fresher.
And that was it. First night I stayed until 6am, second night until 4:30am, not bad for someone with no drugs no booze and no mates! Now I have the man-flu so I don't feel like capitalising on the reassuring Depot training session any time soon but hopefully will get out in the decent forecast weather this weekend??