The new Young Fathers album is their most intriguing and absorbing yet, building effortlessly on the plaudits received by their previous workWritten by Letty Gardner on 23rd March 2018
Live Review: 02:31 – My Nu Leng & M8s
Music Editor Issy Campbell reviews 02:31's most recent event, My Nu Leng & M8s, at Birmingham's most popular venue Lab11
Anyone who’s from Birmingham, goes to University here in Birmingham, or even has friends who do, will know that My Nu Leng are firm favourites here in the second city. In fairness, they are firm favourites in a hell of a lot of cities, but the booming bassline scene here in Birmingham means they hold a special place in all of our hearts. Travelling the UK under the title ‘My Nu Leng & M8s’, the duo, accompanied by other great DJs like Preditah, Bushbaby, Taiki Nu Light and of course 02:31 co-founder, Tom Shorterz, brought intense levels of energy and incredible sounds to Lab11.
“Travelling the UK under the title ‘My Nu Leng & M8s’, the duo, accompanied by other great DJs like Preditah, Bushbaby, Taiki Nu Light and of course 02:31 co-founder, Tom Shorterz, brought intense levels of energy and incredible sounds to Lab11
The last 02:31 with DJ Q, saw my slight disappointment over the clash of set times, but this was not an issue this time. All DJs, who were paired together for a night full of hair-raising B2Bs, played long enough sets that you could easily float between rooms and not feel like you were missing a thing. The timings were also better, with last entry being at midnight, but most DJs playing 11-1, you were able to catch the likes of Tom Shorterz, Nyta, Pete Graham and Trudos, instead of arriving too late to watch any DJs before the headliner, or head down earlier than you would like in order to squeeze everyone in.
I headed straight for the last hour of the Shorterz B2B Nyta playing in the Arch. I was impressed with the atmosphere; the venues already brimming as groups of people swarmed around the crowd to find their spot for the evening. The pair proved to be perfect for building excitement amongst party-goers for what was to come. To call them a warm-up slot would be unfair, because they were far more than that, offering up some incredible music, including one of my personal favourites: ‘Battle’ (Cause & Affect VIP Remix). They also dropped other recognisable crowd favourites, creating strong build ups, with well-timed and seamless rewinds, and finally finishing off with faultless drops. As their set neared an end, it became very apparent that almost everyone at the event was about to move in, ready to watch headliners My Nu Leng.
I had feared the possibility of tickets being oversold, especially due to the venue changing from Crane, with a 3500 capacity, to Lab11, which even when the extra room is added can’t come near to that, but I was pleasantly surprised. However, as soon as My Nu Leng came on, it was clear that was where everyone wanted to be. Bearable at first, I soon found myself (and my friends) swallowed amongst the masses of people, barging past with drinks, trying to find lost friends, or just trying to find a better space, and had to get out. I can’t exactly blame 02:31 planners for this – as I’ve said, it wasn’t a case of overselling, when I left the Arch and headed to the Terrace it wasn’t even half full; it was just that literally everyone wanted to make sure they saw Leng. When 02:31 was held in the Rainbow Warehouse, they would sometimes place headliners in the blackbox, closing the doors when it maxed out capacity. Sure, this sometimes lead to disappointment, not everyone saw the headliner’s whole set, but it was a price to pay for a bit of space. Although this would be far harder to inforce in the pop-up tent of Lab11, it’s just a thought.
“Bearable at first, I soon found myself (and my friends) swallowed amongst the masses of people, barging past with drinks, trying to find lost friends, or just trying to find a better space, and had to get out.
Anyway, missing the start of My Nu Leng wasn’t too disappointing, as the Terrace hosted Preditah B2B Maximum (BBK), which was a Birmingham exclusive. Preditah, a born-and-bred Brum, never disappoints, especially not back in his home town, so I knew it would be a safe bet. With plenty of space to move around the terrace, the crowd were clearly respective to the set. Highlights included Preditah’s remix of ‘She Wants A Man From Brum’, always a favourite here of course, Redlight’s ‘Source 16’ and ‘Rhythm and Gash’. What made this b2b special was the element of grime included. Maximum, being a BBK member, didn’t shy away from his roots and dropped some of the biggest grime tunes like JME’s ‘Man Don’t Care’, as well as the garage remix ‘Dollar Sign’ (Sticky feat. Stush) to mix things up a bit. However, what came next was even better; the pair dropped Stormzy’s ‘Big For Your Boots.’ I’ve heard this track hundreds of times on a night out, but never at a rave, but it worked seamlessly. It was an absolute crowd pleaser, and I found it to be a great special touch on what was proving to be a very unique set.
Things slowed down toward the end of their set, and by 2am the venue had emptied out a bit, meaning the arch was finally spacious. Again, thanks to set times, heading back to the arch at 2am meant I could still catch the last 30 minutes of My Nu Leng. The duo were clearly doing what they do best; blending genres and tracks in effortless mixes to avoid making their set seem too similar, they even dropped some of their latest work. Credit is definitely due to the two Bristol based DJs, they didn’t once seem to tire, or bore the crowd; although I didn’t watch all their set, I know people who didn’t dare leave the Arch, watching the pair’s complete hour and half set and not once wanting to leave. As expected then, their ending was big, and rapturous applause and cheers followed.
Last up in the Arch was Bushbaby b2b Taiki Nu Light; which was probably my favourite set of the night. 02:31 for me, always seems to be far better at the end than at the beginning, not necessarily always because of the talent (although the last few late-night DJs have been incredible), but also the venues empty out. Obviously, you never want to go a dead event, where you’re one of the only people there, however there is something about the stragglers of 02:31, who stay until the early hours to soak up all the music, that really makes the event better. The atmosphere remained electric in the Arch for the b2b, as the pair pulled out all the stops. Jumping genre to genre dropping some funkier tracks to heavy bassline, and guaranteed crowd-pleasers like ‘Do You Really Like It’, the pair impressed from start to end. Taiki Nu Light especially stood out for me, I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I felt he responded so well to crowd, almost as if he knew exactly what we wanted to hear before we did.
“Last up in the Arch was Bushbaby b2b Taiki Nu Light; which was probably my favourite set of the night. 02:31 for me, always seems to be far better at the end than at the beginning
Overall, another successful event for the city’s famous party hosts. Again, security was tight, with a constant flow of guards mingling amongst the crowd. Their presence not once throwing off the atmosphere, and if they did have to remove anyone, it was done calmly and effectively. Security who are not overly aggressive, and are happy to smile, or even dare laugh with partygoers makes a world of difference to the vibe of the night, so cheers for that guys. All the DJs deserve recognition for their sets, keeping the crowd entertained and constantly mixing it up. 02:31 My Nu Leng & M8s has to be up there with one of their best events yet. Pairing this with Lab11’s incredible sound system, providing a bass-crackling yet completely unsoiled sound, the night could not be faulted.