Live Review: Shake the Bass | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Live Review: Shake the Bass

Shake the Bass rocks the foundations of the O2 Institute with an incendiary show presented by Crucast. Greg Woodin reviews

I was told about Shake the Bass well over a month before the event finally came to the O2 Institute in Birmingham. I wasn’t aware of too many of the acts performing but, being quite partial to bass house and bassline, I decided to give it a go. I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but I expected that it would be intense. I was right.

There would be no such thing as a warm-up set tonight: people had turned up for bass, and bass was what they were going to get
Stepping into the venue to the sounds of Hayden Perry, it became clear that there would be no such thing as a warm-up set tonight: people had turned up for bass, and bass was what they were going to get. It was during Perry’s set that I heard Cause & Affect’s remix of P Money’s ‘Round the Clock’ for the first time of many over the course of the night, and this song seemed to sum up what Shake the Bass was all about: bassline, house and grime all rolled into one. As midnight brought about a change in personnel, with Hybrid Theory and Nu Era taking over selection duties, I was amazed to find that I still had room to move; it was refreshing to attend a sold-out show that didn’t feel like it had been oversold.

45 minutes later, headline act Ill Phil shifted the attention away from bassline and brought the jackin house vibes through, rattling through his propulsive ‘Ripped Groove’ and ‘You’ve Got the Love’ remixes with aplomb. Name a crowd-pleaser, Ill Phil has a jackin remix of it, and for the most part this formula worked well. With occasional forays into more aggressive, screechy territory to keep the skanking masses’ appetite for sonic sludge sated, overall Ill Phil’s set marked something a bit different from the nonstop industrial pummelling of bassline that characterised the rest of the night.

Skepsis and Darkzy took it in turns to deliver the filth, one-upping each other with increasingly chaotic, wobbly drops
Next up was a back-to-back set from Skepsis and Darkzy, and the anticipation in the air suggested a sizeable portion of the audience had come for them; if Ill Phil brought the energy levels down slightly, they were turned right back up for this set. With MC Bru-C conducting the orchestra from the front, inciting mosh pits and spraying rapid-fire bars into the audience, Skepsis and Darkzy took it in turns to deliver the filth, one-upping each other with increasingly chaotic, wobbly drops. I lost count of how many wheel-ups Skepsis’ ‘Goes Like’ got, and each time the crowd grew more and more frenzied. I’m not usually a fan of rewinds, but in this context they made complete sense.

The night peaked here and maintained a steady rhythm until close. Mr Virgo and TRC did a good job of keeping the momentum going with bass house selections such as Cause & Affect’s ‘Get to the Chopper’ and Flava D’s take on grime standard ‘Rhythm and Gash’, while Deadbeat closed proceedings in the same way they started: with wall-to-wall bass and no prospect at all of ‘warming down’. While yet more plummeting sub-bass exploded through the Institute’s speakers, I escaped out into the cold, wet weather, ears ringing and legs aching; utterly worn out.

You cannot fully understand the appeal of this music until you hear it in a live setting
While I do enjoy listening to bassline and bass house in the comfort of my home, it has to be said: you cannot fully understand the appeal of this music until you hear it in a live setting. Over four hours’ of hard-hitting, face-pummelling bass was, admittedly, taxing (by the night’s end I had well and truly admitted defeat), but bassline isn’t designed to be long-lasting. It’s a short-acting adrenaline injection that kicks you in the head and beats you into submission. Writing this a day later, I can confirm that this is what Shake the Bass did to me.

Music editor. English Language third year.



Published

16th February 2017 at 12:49 pm



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