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When the line up for Exit Records 10th Birthday bash was first revealed there was a level of excitement for a drum and bass night I’d not seen in a very long time.

To help him toast this milestone dBridge pulled together some of the scenes best producers and DJs under one roof. This included Calibre, Marcus Intalex, Klute and Doc Scott just to name a few, plus a dash of the best MC’s on the circuit such as SP:MC and DRS. However there was a rather sizeable cherry placed on top of an already stellar list of names.

For one night and one night only Bad Company were to reform.

That’s right. All four members – dBridge, Maldini, Vegas and Fresh – of what is undoubtedly one of D&B’s most influential production crew were to get together once again, with a set to be comprised entirely from their classic back catalogue. If the line up wasn’t already essential enough then a Bad Company reunion made attendance absolutely mandatory.

A slight crack appeared when Fresh pulled out due to studio commitments. Disappointing, although it was news that didn’t feel as surprising as it should’ve been. This minor blip wasn’t putting anyone off their stride. Social media was awash with Exit 10 banter. Doc Scott was pulling out boxes of unreleased cuts. Fierce, coaxed out of a retirement for a No U Turn set with Ryme Tyme, was going through DAT’s and cutting dubs. Established heads from across the genre were taking the night off to go. The hype and buzz surrounding it was next level and with what Exit was offering, unsurprisingly so.

Prior to the event many received emails requesting arrival at Fire before midnight to guarantee guest list entry. Rocking in at 11.30, it was already busy. The main room was in tune to the sound of Loxy & Jubei darking out the dance with a bunch of bass heavy steppers. Midnight was the time for Dub Phizix, Skeptical and Strategy to take the reins. They were joined by Chimpo, who launched into his vocal from Skeptical’s Step Up In The Dancehall Buzzin’ as well as Skittles, who’s bars on I’m A Creator got the crowd joining in and skanking out.

By the time Calibre graced the decks at 1am Fire was absolutely heaving with bodies and it felt like you had no space to think let alone move. Narrow walkways and low arches felt claustrophobic trying to get from one place to another. Despite there being three rooms of music understandably most were trying to see the action in room one and two. I took a little detour to Lightbox to check Jubei, who killed it with a set including Optical’s classic Slip Thru and Ulterior Motive’s jazzy drum workout Right Here.

At 3am the moment every head in that club came to see had arrived. Bad Company stepped up to rapturous applause from a captivated and insanely packed audience . dBridge, Maldini and Vegas proceeded to smash up the rave with a set that included gems such as Four Days, Oxygen, Planet Dust and Torpedo. The reaction when Vegas drew for The Nine was the biggest of the night. The rewind was called for and rightly so. It felt good to hear some of those tunes in their entirety again, although it was so sweaty in there when I went out for a smoke afterwards I was literally peeling my clothes of my skin.

I caught the first half an hour of Fierce pulling out some classic tech step in room two, my ears pricking up at the sounds of Bloodclot Art Attack by Ed Rush, before deciding that it was time to jump in the car and go home. The waves of people inside Fire made staying in there difficult at times, as it felt overcrowded and uncomfortable. Which, for me, took some of the gloss off a night that provided all the right ingredients musically. Much was made of the apparent overcrowding during and after the rave and there’s no doubting it played a significant part of many peoples judgement of the entire event. It definitely helped make Exit’s 10 Birthday a memorable one.

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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