Rinse FM 18th Birthday - Brixton Academy 29/09/12
18 years ago I was in the midst of running, bouncing and occasionally flying around various magical kingdoms in an effort to rescue my fair Princess from the controlling and ever-stubborn Bowser, whilst drinking my weight in Ribena.
Meanwhile, DJ Geeneus with others were starting their first broadcast under the name of Rinse FM 18 stories into the East London sky, operating as a pirate radio station. Like all good 18 years olds, Rinse opted to throw a huge party (well two, including their Manchester-based WHP the night before), with festivities tonight commencing at Brixton Academy.
The history of Rinse is a rare success story in the battle of the radio waves, a battle against the controlling and ever-stubborn Ofcom, in an effort to free themselves from the Pirate tag and become a licensed entity - which they were successful in two years ago. 106.8FM was born. As a piece in The Guardian noted, it "changed everything and nothing". To the listener, the same groundbreaking UK-based beats continue to flourish, this of course the station that bares a huge responsibility for the introduction of grime, funky garage and dubstep to the music scene. Such an important tastemaker, though never jumping-the-shark with pulse always firmly on that button for the next genre-fixation. Side note: for their 17th birthday I went on a more cultured Rinse-related jaunt for the opening of their Visual Retrospective exhibition - showcasing their history theough photography and their bold visual identity that bleeds into the everyday streets of London.
But 18 is a party age, so party we must. Tonight is primarily a celebration of recent successes mixed with future artists who will be on the mainstream waves soon - a brief look through the line-up prior to leaving highlights this. After a walk through the typically luxuriant, pulsating streets of Brixton late on a Saturday, the first decision we have to confront is the clash between AlunaGeorge and Mosca, in Room's 1 and 2 respectively. Both relatively fresh into their career, both with a growing reputation for producing choice bass-driven cuts (though with very differing styles). This decision is made for us ultimately thanks to some poor time keeping, in that we miss them both for the main - though manage to catch a slither of Mosca's set. After last year's immense 'Done Me Wrong/Bax' 12", one of the 12"'s of 2011, the purveyor of punishing baseline monsters is back with 'What You Came For'; and although only 10 minutes we catch, the garage-indebted shot of adrenaline is perfect kickstart to the night.
It's proving difficult to determine who is playing where due to lack of set times around, so we fidget between rooms for the first hour or two; this is a mixture of frustrating, but somewhat liberating and thus allowing gut instincts and snap decisions to take over. Room 2 is heavy on the 2-step/garage vibe for the most, and the set of T. Williams is something of a highlight here, with a house-soaked dance floor explosion gripping the room sometime past midnight. It's hard to describe it as a 'room', given that it's in the entry bit of Brixton Academy, but the intimate feel in comparison to the Main stage is a welcome change of atmosphere.
The main room at first is surprisingly empty, though it does slowly fill-up by the time the small hours start ticking over as surprise last minute entry Skream unleashes his roaring dubstep stylings. Shortly after the double-header of Ms Dynamite and Modeselektor kills it. It may still only be half-full, but, for those getting involved it's an irrelevance; more space to move those appendages, less queuing, less time spent friend-finding. I make a note to make sure to thank the makers of the sound system here, the noise so gargantuan it has a diminutive affect on my own body - all the senses erupting and settling at the same time. Even the floor oscillates deeply; wait, how can this be felt so strongly? Ah, the floor of Brixton Academy by the front had been falsely-raised with wood to allow an even dance floor, resulting in a visceral vibration. When the wrecking-ball of Dominic Lord's 'Fashion Show' pulverised the dancefloor, shit was nearly lost.
Continuing the loose computer-game related theme, there's a t-shirt been doing the rounds that goes:
"Computer games don't affect kids. If Pacman had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened room munching magic pills and listening to receptive electronic music"
I can't help but think there's an element of truth to this as I survey the scene at 5:20am as Jackmaster finishes his set to some discombobulated minds.
For self-aware teens at an 18th birthday party, it can be a bit of a bummer at first for the host when the turnout is not as high as anticipated; but ultimately it doesn't matter, as long as everyone who came had a smashing time, even if they can't remember it. The evening will still be talked about for year to come by their nearest and dearest. Stay Locked.