Reviewed: fabric – 20th Birthday 18th October
For those of us that missed out on the unprecedented 90’s rave era, fabric offers a chance to step back into the original rave scene from the past, bringing the old into the present with its collective of masterly residents and big booming sound systems. It invites you to experience the dance parties of the 90s, underground and stigma-free
Just over 8 million people have stepped through the doors, making the same journey down the stairs and into the different rooms, eager to experience the innovative rave lair, from the bodysonic floors in room one to the bespoke Pioneer Pro Audio sound system in room two, each room and each turn you take brings you a different and new experience. fabric has unmissable charm and vision – joining the people and music in union.
Since its forced closure in 2016, elements of the rave culture have been brought into question, and hot on the topic was an incredible security guard we exchanged some experiences within the smoking area. Having been with fabric for over ten years he had firsthand experience of the good and bad, and what he had seen develop and how “the scene has changed but the heart and soul of fabric are not gone…the magic has never left”.
The line up itself sets the standard for the event, ranging from some of the scenes biggest names to the hottest up and coming. From Stanton Warriors to Serum, and the iconic b2b DJ Hype and DJ Hazard to name a few, it lures you in with a promise of something old and something new.
Making the way down the stairs towards a growing growl of the music, immediately drawn into the Souped Up Records room, hosting a stage to some of the genres biggest and most current names. Members of the Souped Up line up deliver familiar sounds of Voltage‘s signature blend of S.P.Y’s ‘We Got It’ mixed into something deeper and darker each time, and taken on a journey through T>I’s rolling bass heavy creations. Drawing the audience in with some rolling bangers it was hard not to be captured by the body shaking vibe and finding your feet is a breeze when you’re surrounded by comrades of the rave, decorated with beaming smiles and electric footwork.
Unable to resist the urge to explore the jungle of staircases, twisting and turning into another room whose speakers sent vibrations down your body, followed by shivers over the quality of the performances on offer. Celebrating its 10 years alongside fabric’s 20 was the flawless sets of the Lifestyle Music family. By 11pm luring you to the room was Ill Truth with Blue Jay hosting, providing the audience with an energy-filled set, setting a mischievous tone for the room followed in style by Data 3 who served the audience a collection of drum and bass which was so fluid it felt like one orchestrated product, showcasing some of the finest music in the scene, wining and dining the audience with high-quality food for the ears with a side of his new material including ‘Eleven VIP’ – a set which stood out throughout the night.
Everyone seemed to be there united, not an unfriendly face or trickle of trouble to be found, as if we had all come there together to celebrate the 20 years and how the scene had grown and developed over the years. From something that was once hidden to something so celebrated, the audience came there with the intention to shower the artists in appreciation and admire the scene for what it is, enjoying every step we make along the way. Alike the talent of the musicians, another critical element of the event was the outstandingly amicable atmosphere coming from the audience, through all the good and bad that the rave culture is dealing with and all the bumps in the road there may be to come; you can’t take the feeling of pride and solidarity. A room full of integration and all-togetherness feels impenetrable, and it held high in the air till the doors closed.
As Hazard and Hype took to the stage, the immense heat from the audience was lingering in the air, acting as a representation of the eagerly waiting faces of the audience members, listening to hear the MC shout out the three words we all want to hear ‘are you ready!’ to be answered with whistles and cheers. The light show matched the spirit of the room and unison the crowd jumped and twirled, and within seconds the room filled with anticipating wide-eyed spectators to a ruckus of passion and intensity.
Walking through the pathways of the venue, you come across sofas and a quieter area, allowing you a chance off your feet and have a breather. Even whilst there the sound systems catch you at their best, high quality and clear sounds comfort you as you take a breath from the chaos of the different rooms.
This chaos was expected at least when Serum took to the stage in the Souped Up Records room, with Inja hosting it was undoubtedly one to remember, taking us through a journey of old and new, keeping up with the theme of the event, celebrating the 20 years of fabric, and also 20 years of creation, drive and a tip of the hat to those involved. What better way to celebrate than to treat the audience with a taste of the best. The crowd all seemed to grow unanimously as Serum did what he does, impossible to resist not joining in with the screams and sounds of appreciation, and the audience’s reaction wasn’t undeserved, Serum and Inja blew the roof.
From the unisex toilets to the free water, fabric not only offers you creative delights but also progressive and forward-thinking features which ensure a feeling of comfort and safety which seems imperative at such a time where there are questions surrounding the safeguarding and the required regulations of events such as this and venues in correlation. Confidently, there was an ongoing sense of safety and unity, everyone had each other’s back, and the presence of the DJ’s within the crowd getting involved only provides evidence for this – we’re all in it together. “No soldier alone” seemed to remain a tag line for the night, always a helping hand being offered to those who need it with the chance to sit down when needed, get some air or get water provided for free when you need it most only reflects on the professionalism and experience that fabric has. It’s undoubtedly a huge mark in the electronic music culture, and deservingly so. It was incredible to see such volume of humans, all in it together.
fabric provides a look into the past and a peek into the future, it allows you to relive and create memories. It provides a creative space without stigma or judgement, for everyone free to be themselves and just simply enjoys it. It represents the free and all-encompassing ethos of the 90s rave culture and one that has suitably flowed into the identity of the club. fabric sustains the unprecedented feeling of togetherness, the knowledge that in 20 years we will all be here again, celebrating music, celebrating passion and most importantly celebrating the shared feeling of absolute admiration for fabric, and everything it stands for.
fabric – “Never Not Making Noise”...long may you reign!
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