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Digital Society Presents Subculture UK – O2 Academy, Leeds



The much-anticipated event that was Digital Society Presents Subculture UK turned out to be the most epic Trance night of my life (and I’ve been to a fair few). To be honest, you can’t really go wrong with a line-up that features Trance heavyweights John O’Callaghan, Simon Patterson, John Askew and Bryan Kearney, accompanied by some of the current biggest names in the industry: Will Atkinson, Sneijder, Chris Metcalfe and James Rigby.

I arrived just in time for the start of Will Atkinson’s set and was extremely excited about seeing him, especially after the interview I did with him, in which he stated: “I’ve got so much new material ready to drop, it’s just going to be hard to choose on the night. Make no mistake though, heads will roll.” Heads did indeed roll, as he presented us with a really unique set that began with a series of tracks by Eric Prydz’ darker, techy alias, Cirez D. Piercing whistles emerged from the crowd as the intro to Harvester came on, then he dropped his big tune Victims, at which point they simply exploded. Atkinson finished things off with a brand new, unfinished production that he’d been working on over the summer and had decided this would be the right moment to test it out. I can safely say it was; the reaction from the people on the dancefloor was something else! What impressed me most about Will’s set was how creative it was, I love the fact this man is not afraid to experiment with his sound. He’s a true talent and a real innovator, who left me with a burning desire to see him play again.

Next up was the mighty JOC, who rocked the decks with a number of his own popular productions, such as The Saw, Ian Standerwick’s remix of Games featuring Jennifer Rene and One Special Particle. John O’Callaghan’s sets always go down a storm, and this was no exception. He has a knack for reading the crowd and knowing just how to please them, which would explain why he is adored by so many Trance fans across the globe. He was on top form on this particular night, I especially enjoyed hearing his remix of Unfamiliar Truth by Lange ft. Hysteria! and the Paul Denton & Alex Ryan rework of Delirium’s classic, Innocente.


I thought JOC’s would be a hard set to follow, but my man Simon Patterson managed it. I must have seen him around ten times now, yet he still continues to surprise me every single time and his was my favourite set of the night, by far. Simon opened with a banging Psy track, A Journey To the Cross-Roads by Deedrah, which he mixed seamlessly into Brush Strokes. I could hardly contain myself, I just kept turning to random people on the dancefloor and telling them, ‘he is blowing my MIND!’ The set only continued to get better with more Psy Trance, mixed in with favourites such as Dissolve featuring Sarah Howells and that wonderful Photographer remix of Laily, which I adore. The icing on the cake was when he topped off his set with Us, resulting in a very happy audience by the time he stepped down to let Bryan Kearney take over.

I found Kearney’s set hard to get into initially, as I was on such a high after Patterson’s and wanted more of the same, but he slowed things down and seemed to subdue the crowd slightly. However, he really made an impact with his mash-up of Sebastian Brandt’s Overture and Sunblind’s Believe, at which point everyone came back to life. It was all up from there, as he played Adam Ellis’ remix of Fred Baker’s Rebirth and transitioned straight into his remix of Plumb’s How Many Times. That track is just so wonderfully emotional, I had really been hoping he’d include it in his set and hearing it live gave me goose bumps, just like I thought it would. I also loved hearing his remix of Gareth Emery’s U, another very emotional song, which had everyone smiling and singing along. However, the most memorable moment of that set, in my opinion, was when Kearney dropped Neptune Project’s ‘Out there with Pluto’ mix, Shine On The Dark Side of The Moon. At this point, I decided to run upstairs and savour the moment from above. Everybody there was simply sitting still and taking it in, absorbing the music; it was a truly hypnotic moment, and just the right song for it. I definitely prefer to be closer to the stage and amongst the hardcore, sweaty ravers though, so once it was over, I returned downstairs just in time for the final song: Daniel Kandi’s mash-up, The Last Fire island. The energy in that room was even more noticeable, having been removed from it for a few minutes, and that tune went down an absolute treat!


Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the boss, John Askew stepped up to the stage and got stuck right in with his remix of Earth Nation’s Alienated– POW! I think for many, this man stole the show and he definitely didn’t disappoint me either; after Patterson’s set, this was the best of the night for me as, like Simon, he kept it deep, dark and dirty. Askew played his remix of Narcotic Influence, which always goes down a storm and shortly after dropped an absolute blinder, which I hadn’t heard before, but have since discovered that it was the Talla 2XLC rework of Nero’s Satisfy. That was a trippy few minutes! After that, the standout tracks for me were The Void by Darren Porter and the epic Plush by Mr. Askew himself. Towards the end of his set, John played a rather more melodic tune, the simple but beautiful Nubia by Aly & Fila and Ferry Tayle, which fitted the mood perfectly at that time – a real ‘hands in the air’ moment – before ending on the original version of Shine.

Last but by no means least was Sneijder, who had the highly difficult task of topping off the sets of all those that had preceded him. Remarkably, he pulled it off in true style and his set was the perfect end to the night. The Psy blasts were spot on for keeping myself and the remaining ravers going right until the bitter end and he played my two favourite tech-trance songs of this year: Sam Jones’ remix of Feel So Right and Fire Drill, which I was very happy about. Sneijder managed to keep the energy going in that room up until the final few moments, when he closed with his track, Facelift, an absolutely fantastic tune.

Overall, the night was a raging success, from start to finish. We lucky punters were treated to a real variety of sounds, with everything from Techno, to melodic Trance, to Psy Trance, which was what made it so unique and memorable. The venue, crowd and visuals were exceptional too, I don’t think I could have asked for more! Now bring on DS8!

Words: Milly Day


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