Our Rave Reviewer In Chief on Awakenings, Glitterbox, Printworks Opening and Drumcode Halloween.
Bradley Gunn Raver is that guy in the goggles at the front of every rave dancing his ass off, he's Ministry of Sound's Rave Reviewer In Chief. He goes to an insane amount of raves, which he reviews every month for you in his column Bradley Gunn Raver's Rave Review.
My event of the month is always incredibly difficult to decide, but this month it unquestionably had to be HYTE's New Year's Eve extravaganza located in the techno den of Berlin's back yard, the breathtaking Funkhaus. This was a day where I found myself reminiscing on what had been a life changing year for me. 2017 was a year where I was blessed with new friends, both ravers and world-renowned artists, new festivals, cities and countries that before this adventure, I could only have dreamt of exploring. I was reflecting on all of this in my natural habitat, where I feel most at home - an industrial, stripped back, raw space that was full to the brim with hungry, passionate, ravers like myself. I was there to wave goodbye to 2017, with a line up that was practically unbeatable. This was going to be one for the history books, I was sure of it!
I had only nine hours to satisfy my need for techno, and the strong team of DJs that was expertly assembled by the events organisers certainly ensured that my satisfaction was fulfilled as I sprung into action after a warm welcome, and short tour around the venue from the HYTE team. Gregor Tresher was just concluding a very tidy warm up set that impressed all the early doors crew. Then the lethal combination known as Pan-Pot, took the reins and things really kicked up a gear.
When you are in the presence of performance after performance that completely takes you over, and alters your very perception of time, you know you're having one of the best nights of your life. But you really know it when gyrating for a solid three feels like 25 minutes! Adam Beyer took over and once again raised the bar - it was without a doubt my favourite new years eve to date.
Unusually, for me, I stayed grounded to the same spot all night. The quality of this night really shone through when I realised several hours had passed and I still wasn't tired, despite the levels of energy I had already drained, so move after move kept flowing through my arms and legs and it felt like I had the ability to power through carelessly! If I could replay this event, I would definitely, and for longer too... but this memory will last a lifetime, I am sure of that. So, HYTE NYE 2018 is already on the cards!
My first weekend of December was looking unusually empty so. However, this soon changed as my good friend Craig informed me that he was playing at Cream25, and before you knew it I was embarking on a 3 day rave adventure! The name of the event speaks for itself, with the legendary Cream brand celebrating an unbelievable 25 years of success. The location was a slight change-up from my normal raving, as it was being hosted at Butlin's Minehead, but as you'll know by now I always throw myself into the deep end with an open-minded approach.
The line up was full of familiar names, from Faithless to Haçienda originals and pioneers Graeme Park and Paul Oakenfold, it was a weekend of nostalgia for the many older generations that were in attendance. But don't let the more long term and establishment names fool you into thinking this was attracting a strictly older crowd, as the age ranged from young to middle aged and no matter what the age gap everyone was firmly rooted to the dancefloor. The personal highlight for me, and another thing to tick off my bucket list, was pirouetting throughout the arena to Paul Van Dyk for the first time, and it was everything I expected. The trance icon embraced a crowd that would be considered large even for a man who has conquered festivals such as Tomorrowland.
I am extremely grateful to my friend Craig for inviting me to join him at Cream25, and it was a great experience to venture into a different crowd and sound once again.
On Tuesday 5th December I was back at the Ministry of Sound HQ in London. This time round it was an early start, and there was no better way to put a spring in my step than to bounce around with my good friends in the Morning Gloryville crew. If you are not yet familiar with Morning Gloryville, all you need to know is it is nothing but positive vibes and good, quality music. Their events feature high tempo, energetic audiences bopping as the sun rises to figures such as scene legend Fatboy Slim, who has made more than one appearance as a special guest. Morning Gloryville takes place mid-week, at a time when you'd normally be deciding what to have for breakfast before setting off to work! The clever idea behind the rave is that by kick-starting your morning cocooned by the combination of great music and like minded individuals, this brings about positive energy and will put you in a fantastic mood to set you up for the day. So there I was, dancing in Ministry's Box from 7am - 9am getting what I suppose you could say was, well, 1 of my 5 a day?
I have been to many Printworks events in 2017 through Issue 001 and 002. The 9th and 10th December saw the close of Printworks Issue 002, with Paul Kalkbenner on the Saturday and Play Differently on the Sunday. Both days were great and it was the perfect way to end the year at Printworks. For me Play Differently was such a solid start to December, as it witnessed Richie Hawtin curate a team of techno specialists who were ambassadors for Richie's MODEL1 mixer. The main ambassadors that were being drafted in were Chris Liebing, Circoloco regular and five time DJ awards winner Luciano, my good friend Nicole Moudaber and two names I was being introduced to but I was sure I would be as equally impressed by - Fabio Florido and HITO.
Unfortunately Richie could not be there in the end, due to weather conditions stopping flights, however the day was still a roaring success. Behind the scenes, LWE have been the promoters at the venue in 2017, and are the same collection of scene geniuses throwing some of the best parties within the city. Personally my love for LWE is not just because of the parties they have thrown and made me feel so welcome at, it is their nurturing and confidence in me as a person, giving me so much attention that I never would have expected when I first started attending these events. So bearing in mind they will, sadly to say, no longer be involved with Printworks from 2018, my loyalty lies with them. This does not rule out me returning to this iconic venue, and I could potentially be at a few Printworks events in 2018, but as I'm sure you will understand - LWE has my heart.
Just before christmas, Saturday 23rd December to be precise, I was on home soil again in Bristol with my local friends who have delivered a series of events so far under their 'HOME' brand. If you follow me on my travels through either my social media platforms or by reading this column, then you will have realised by now that no matter how significant the events are that I attend internationally, I still always recognise the importance on making time for those close to home, especially this collection of kind individuals who have supported me throughout this incredible journey. Back in the summer I had attended their two day festival which saw the likes of Sankeys Ibiza resident and Do Not Sleep signee, Tommy Vercetti, play in a barn alongside Circus recordings regular Kydus. Me being me, and with it being two days until Christmas, I decided to take full advantage of their Santa suit on offer and do a little Christmas dancing video
Overall the night was something I really enjoyed and was glad to have attended, not just because of the perfect pre-christmas dose of underground beats, but also to see some good friends, many of which I still hold strong friendships with after meeting them during my early in the scene.
On Wednesday 27th December I was up in Liverpool, a city enriched in culture, for the Circus Christmas special event at Camp & Furnace. This day had been eagerly anticipated as it was both my first time at a Circus event and my first trip to Camp & Furnace. I have heard nothing but positive news when it came to the Circus brand, as their stage was apparently one of the main highlights of Parklife 2016. Yousef himself is a global spearhead for underground music, and despite Liverpool being well known for its infamous raves back in the 80's and 90's, he has certainly put the city back on the map with an endless list of day and night events creating unforgettable memories and attracting top quality underground artists.
In true Bradley Gunn style I arrived to this intriguing space just before 2pm, which was, of course, perfectly timed for kick off. I started with a tactical walk around the venue. I would recommend that any budding raver map out the venue before hitting the dancefloor, it's always a smart move. Spanning across two rooms - the titular camp and furnace - the large venue impressed, and I knew that as long as the music did too (which looking at the line up I knew it would), I would definitely be returning in 2018.
Yousef and his Circus team delivered a belated Christmas gift for all in attendance, with both rooms boasting illustrious names, from one of my personal favourite techno DJs Joseph Capriati, to my new found friend Seth Troxler, along with Knee Deep In Sound curator Hot Since 82, and the main man Yousef playing b2b with Hot Creations original and Paradise resident Richy Ahmed. I spent the majority of my day bouncing excitedly between the two rooms as the orchestration of enticing kicks, drums and claps echoed throughout and kept us all moving from start to finish.
It was also a real pleasure and nice surprise to spend personal time with Seth Troxler. After a typically impressive set from Seth we went and got some dinner, which was the perfect end to the evening!
On the 30th December I was once again at Gashouder for Awakenings, for a pre New Year's treat. I was going for both the day and night event, so I'd be raving from 11:45am until 5am the following morning, before flying to Berlin, this was going to be a challenge indeed! But a rave challenge is something I always prepare for mentally and physically, and I could not wait to take it on! Since I've been to the Gashouder a couple of times now, I was already familiar with my surroundings and although the crowd was obviously going to be different due to the sheer size and enormity of the event, I felt comfortable as the people have always been welcoming and friendly. There was no messing about as I was tackling the three countries in three days challenge and I got straight down to business.
You may have caught videos through social media of the wonders of Gashouder, with jaw dropping, state of the art, production drawing you in as the lighting is synchronised perfectly with the drops provided by world class artists. This techno temple really is something to behold, and I would recommend everyone visit, if they haven't done so yet!
It was a real pleasure to see one of Bristol's best - Eats Everything during my trip there, as the Edible records head shared a dance with me. Yet another top name to add the list of DJ dancers along with wAFF, Seth Troxler and Nicole Moudaber!
It was also a funny coincidence that the night before HYTE NYE in Berlin, I was also dancing to Adam Beyer's set at Awakenings, and it felt almost surreal to be so close to a man which I admired greatly and someone I had watched so many times throughout 2017. This was a set of great significance for Adam, as it was his landmark 75th Awakenings set, a real milestone that any DJ would be immensely proud to reach. Here's a nice photo of myself, Adam Beyer and the lovely Joseph Capriati.
It was great to meet the massively influential Richie Hawtin too! Another amazing trip to Awakenings, and the next Awakenings event I will be raving at is in Eindhoven on Saturday 27th January. I hope to see you on the dance floor either here or somewhere else across the world in 2018!
And finally, I capped off the year by receiving Mixmag's raver of the year award, truly honoured to be given such an amazing reward!