I tried to live my best life at the biggest dance music event of the year.
Even if you don't know his name, you probably know our newest columnist. Bradley Gunn Raver is that guy in the goggles at the front of every rave dancing his ass off. Bradley loves raving more than anyone else I know, and that's saying something. I first met him a few years ago at (obviously) a rave, since then he's become a regular collaborator with us at Ministry of Sound and so we thought it was about time to give him something a little more official. So without further ado, let me introduce Ministry of Sound's Rave Reviewer In Chief, Bradley Gunn Raver! - Matt Francey, Ministry of Sound Editor.
The event of the month is always a difficult one to select. However, after much deliberation I made a respectable decision to choose the incredible Awakenings By Day, which was an event I travelled to later on in the month on Saturday 21st October, just one of many chapters inside the ADE weekend in Amsterdam.
Awakenings was hosted at Gashouder, a spectacular venue that is found within the heart of an old industrial building – which of course adds a real sense of grittiness and a gives it a true underground feel. Like many other events I have attended this year, it was another I could add to the collection of ‘first time ventures’. As you can imagine when you look at the picture above or watch any video involving the titans of electronic music conquering this arena – this is somewhere I have yearned to visit for quite sometime. This feeling grew significantly stronger after attending Awakenings festival back in June when I was hearing both directly and indirectly from other keen ravers like myself about the amazing structure of the venue, the indoor fireworks, and general high levels of production that are injected into this space to earn it a place at the top table of other underground music venues.
Getting to Gashouder was also extremely easy from Schiphol airport; a short 15 minute train journey to Sloterdijk then a 30 minute walk to the venue, a stark contrast to some of the journeys I have made this year to the likes of Creamfields. But of course, it is always worth it no matter how far the journey. For my Dutch friends, you will be pleased to know that this could become a regular adventure outside of the UK – not only due to how beautiful the country is and how unique the venues – but also the flights are on average only an hour from UK airports, and they don’t do much damage to the bank balance either!
As soon as I entered and got my first personal insight into the true beauty of the venue that I heard about back in June, I really was taken aback. The wizardry that was being cast upon us by some of the biggest global DJs and producers was located to my left as I danced inside the venue, and the production that was to be seen from every direction you stared in awe at really gave an already incredible atmosphere that slightest of boosts to create something quite spectacular.
The crowd within the venue were, as I expected from previous experiences, as welcoming as ever, and the enthusiastic and equally liberal approach taken by the wonderful Dutch folk was clear to be seen as they smiled at every energetic move I strung together. From the very start it was pumping to say the least, and as the night progressed the accurately constructed masterclass of sets from my friends Danny Tenaglia, Nicole Moudaber and a quality conclusion from Italian maestro Sam Paganini really added to the intensity.
Danny Tenaglia and Nicole Moudaber playing back to back was - as anyone with knowledge in the field of techno music will tell you - a truly lethal combination, and a set that I was caught up in from start to finish. After their set, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Nicole and Danny, and the party spirits were still in full flow as Danny provided the music and Nicole joined me for a dance:
I felt that I had such a good day raving at Awakenings By Day, I stayed for the night event too, and it was a perfect excuse, and one that I didn’t really need considering I needed a place to rave/stay until the flight home in the morning. The impression that this trip has had on me means I have already made the decision to return to Gashouder again for Awakenings – both day and night, on 30th December.
Starting the month, it was time to head back to arguably one of my favourite venues that I have visited on home soil this year, for a second chapter of what had already been an amazing story. Printworks. Issue 001 was a real game changer for me and my raving experiences, this was another iconic and unique venue that I had completely fallen for, a special and place that I had danced ferociously at between the months of February and the end of April. There were some interesting layout changes being implemented by the creative minds that work tirelessly behind the scenes at Printworks, and the best change I noticed was the access to the balcony, a place that was now open to everyone and not just staff members. There were a few other minor tweaks brought about but of course the most important aspect, remained intact and unchanged - my beloved press halls (main room), a place where I spent most of my time during the hours of partying.
It was an amazing feeling to be back, and I was in full motion as electronic heavyweights including Maceo Plex, Berghain regular Rødhåd and Italian duo Mind Against showcased their electronic beats to keep the audience and myself included fully captivated throughout.
It would be nonsensical of me to be anywhere else during the concluding months of a blinding 2017 in terms of music, and after another jaw dropping and near emotional musical journey that I was taken on at Printworks opening, I will also be joining you all at the following events that are due to take place at this ground-breaking space:
Here I am with a member of the great-tasting Earl’s Serious Sandwiching crew. Despite the name of their eatery, they’re not as serious as they sound!
On Saturday 14th October I was back again for the collaboration of two hugely successful brands in the music industry, as Glitterbox & Defected joined forces at the legendary Ministry of Sound club. Prior to the event, this was the first Saturday in a long time I wasn’t actually stomping away through a day event, which made waiting around for the rave seem like forever. This was something at the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to the kind of events I had been to previously, but I’m all for springing into action at a Defected event and with them joining forces with Glitterbox, I had no doubt this was going to be a top party. Glitterbox has been hugely successful during this years season at Hï Ibiza, and it subsequently went on to be deservedly crowned as the ‘Best Club Night’ of the year at the White Ibiza awards.
It was my first time at a Glitterbox event, and what better place to be than London’s hotspot Ministry Of Sound for my first encounter with a party that had earned his stripes through some great pioneering work from the boss Simon Dunmore. The main room opened just after the clock struck 12, and there was nothing but positive vibes as the classic, spiritual and vocally charged house rhythms took centre stage.
On Tuesday 24th October I was in Edinburgh at Hector's House. Although I am aware of iconic spaces like Sub Club, arguably Scotland’s most famous electronic venue that has spawned talented individuals including Jackmaster, Harri and his son Jasper James, this was my trip to Scotland. This also meant this was my first Scottish rave! Although some of you may think that with my hectic schedule this has become something of a full time position, it isn’t and due to midweek commitments with my career, I have to spend my annual leave days wisely for only the most important raving business.
From the moment I got in, there was no waiting around to get things started, from 10pm-3am the vibes were of a typical Scottish nature and nothing short of lively! The crowd were just like those that I encounter at pretty much every event I attend, friendly and welcoming, and of course energetic to say the least. The event was hosted in a small venue called Cabaret Voltaire, an interesting and quirky venue that fused together a modern idea of being a café, club and gig venue – and I have to say that it definitely works well and I’m sure the institution will go on to host more events just as good as this one.
I hope to return to Scotland again soon for more raving, but who knows when this may be...
The last weekend of the month drew to an exciting conclusion, as I was lucky enough for the third time in a month to be blessed with a trip to London for Drumcode Halloween. Brought to us by the main man, Adam Beyer, at another one of my favourite venues that I have pirouetted throughout on several occasions previously, Tobacco Docks. I was lucky enough to be presented with another opportunity from some very kind people within the industry, and I accepted so spent the day being filmed, and details surrounding this will be revealed at a later date.
As always when I first arrived at Tobacco Dock, I started raving in the upstairs Great Gallery. Layton Giordani kicked off proceedings with a highly energetic set, which really set the trend for the rest of the day and definitely set a high bar for every other performer stepping up to bring their own unique sound and style to a packed out Halloween extravaganza.
As always the head honcho Adam Beyer delivered a line up that consisted of some of the most highly regarded acts in the techno scene – ranging from special guest Maya Jane Coles, who regularly features on Jamie Jones’s Paradise showcases, a masterclass live performance from Matador, Ilario Alicante, and one of Southampton’s gems Alan Fitzpatrick.
Overall, it was the perfect way to bring in another fantastic month and I sit here, yet again, realising just how lucky I am to go on these adventures and get to experience such breathtaking venues that bring in so many phenomenal acts!
Last but not least, there’s no forgetting my friends Dense and Pika who consistency deliver a standout performance. Oh, and they also got involved in my ever-expanding collection of dancing DJ videos: