Bradley's unique take on Elrow, FUSE, Junction 2 Launch, ABODE and He.She.They.
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.
The event of the month without question was Ultra Music Festival. Part of Miami Music Week, one of the most illustrious weeks in the dance music calendar, Ultra has a star-studded lineup with many of the most recognisable and respected names in underground music.
This would be my first time in the United States of America, but more importantly, this was an event which only a few years ago would’ve been nothing more than a pipedream for me. The dream was now a reality and I was bursting at the seams with excitement.
On landing we drove past the festival site a day before kick-off and I took the opportunity to stare in disbelief at the gargantuan production. If you’ve seen the photos or after movies, you know that Ultra goes above and beyond in creating the best dancing experience for their guests, and this year was no exception.
After a painstaking wait I was finally through the door on Friday 23rd March, with a massive smile on my case and only one thing on my mind: RESISTANCE. Usually at festivals I try to implement a degree of structure to my dancing, to ensure I reserve some energy to get me through the day. This day was the polar opposite, as I was overcome with adrenaline from the get go and I just could not refrain myself.
The electric atmosphere and beautiful Miami surroundings, coupled with the incredible Acradia spider and a soundtrack from the main man, Carl Cox, was nothing short of spectacular. Day One of Ultra for me was about appreciating everything around me, absorbing the reality of where I was and thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly still be on planet Earth.
Day Two was a real highlight for me. The lineup boasted another collection of major players including Dubfire, Matthias Tanzmann, Hector, Matador… the list was endless. I’ve become familiar with these names and I knew that coupled with the exceptional Ultra production, this would be another solid addition to my memory book.
There was a lot of positivity to spread and dancing to do and not only did I experience another unforgettable day of raving, but the pinnacle of the week came in its early stages. The king of techno, the iconic, home-grown, legend, Carl Cox! Shared a dance with me!
This was a moment that, as you can probably understand, is difficult to put into words. I have been extremly lucky to have danced with numerous respected figures in our scene, but Carl Cox is someone who has blessed me musically and who’s contribution to the scene is unmatched. A big thanks for this meeting has to go to my good friend Phutek, who had kindly planned and organised the meet up between Carl and myself.
I couldn’t conclude my tales of Ultra without shouting out the breath-taking Arcadia stage. A collective of talented individuals who, with the assistance of the geniuses behind the scenes, planted their 360 degree structure in the centre of Miami.
This gigantic construct has caught my eye in photos and videos from Glastonbury, but to pirouette underneath it to the sounds of the world’s best DJs was another aspect of this week that was so magical it is difficult to describe. It was quite frankly unreal. It has several built in cannons that are capable of shooting 50ft flames, and has an array of lights and lazers across the body. You have to give credit to the technical ability of those that have brought such a unique creation to life.
Miami Music Week was a collection of days that will last with me forever, and I most certainly have my sights set on returning next year. Make sure you get to Ultra Music Festival 2019.
Before jet-setting to the sun-soaked metropolis of Miami at the end of the month, let’s rewind to the beginning of March and conditions which couldn’t be more contrasting. Days of snow rained down upon us and, in true British style, chaos ensued.
I wouldn’t be Bradley Gunn Raver if I didn’t don my rave outfit and leap through the snow to bring some positivity to the inclement weather. Rippling through the snow was a first for me and although, I was having a great time, little did I know that I was about to inflict serious physical damage on myself.
After a few days of being snowed in, boredom had taken hold. I couldn’t just sit in all day, so I decided to embark on another adventure. I set off for a friend’s house, a mere 13 miles away. 10 miles in and all was going well, but on mile 11, I had an accident, came off my bike and crashed onto the harsh, icy road. I hit my back, left shoulder, the pain was excruciating, but I knew the pragmatic decision was to push on and get to a warm safe place.
Upon arrival I informed my friend that I’d had an accident and that I was in pain, but by this time the pain had settled and the seriousness of the accident began to wear off. I got assistance from a medical professional who lived nearby, it didn’t seem too bad, so they told me to keep an eye on it.
I continued with my normal life and decided to persevere with my task of bopping for Sport Relief the following Wednesday. I was told to go for another consultation as I looked uncomfortable compared to my normal self. After yet another morning of raving I eventually gave in and went to my local A&E. Luckily, I had some techno to entertain me in the waiting room!
After having an X-ray, the results were in. The ultimate collarbone break! A clean cut, straight in two. On seeing this, I boldly exclaimed to the nurses on hand that I had still been dancing despite the accident. This injury was not ideal with everything I had planned for March, but the professionals fitted me with a sling and told me to rest for 6-8 weeks.
I knew I would have to rein myself in from my normal levels of energetic, non-stop antics, but there was no way I was going to stop raving, so the sling was just going to have to accompany on my adventures.
On Wednesday 7th, I was given the opportunity of collaborating with Sport Relief to host a breakfast party as part of their ‘Whatever Moves You’ campaign. Over two hours we bopped and bounced across the tiles of the iconic Millennium Square in Bristol. As an added bonus, the tunes for this event were provided by two of my good friends.
Despite there being a slight communication issue between the local businesses that resulted in a man becoming aggressive, the event nonetheless went really well. It was a pleasure to start my day seeing smiles on so many people’s faces as they made their way to work. And of course it was even better to see those who enthusiastically joined in!
Sometimes it is easy to rush in the morning when going about your day to day business, but I would definitely advise you to stop and take a second to appreciate the simple things in life like music, dancing or any form of entertainment around you. This event in particular was part of raising the £38MILLION+ that the Whatever Moves You / Sport Relief campaign eventually accomplished. It was an honour to have been approached and to have played a small part in assisting them to reach this target.
Next on the agenda was a deservedly regular feature in my monthly reviews – The Acid Experiment in my beloved Birmingham – a city that I have visited many times over the past few years, particularly at venues such as Rainbow.
I have been visiting the unique setting of Digbeth to see faces old and new for a good three years now, and although there are numerous places that feel like home to me, this is definitely one of them.
It is always a great feeling for me to have grown alongside this party as the promoters consistency and effort have never once withered. I remember the days of the party attracting 200 or so people, but it now sells out well in advance with 2-4 rooms being utilised.
Looking out on the picturesque terrace of Lab11, The Acid Experiment really is a sight to behold, with Oli Neiyyar and his peers curating a truly unique vibe in an increasingly saturated scene.
This night was as good as, if not better than previous Acid Experiments, but I soon came to realise that I couldn’t dance as heavy as I used to, what with my new injury.
Although my journeys here, there and everywhere are primarily for raving, this time it wasn’t just about dancing. As I was also a part of a new mini documentary about The Acid Experiment’s resident, an artist seen by many as a legend in the genre, my good friend Mark Archer, commonly known as Altern-8. While I can’t reveal any further information, what I can tell you is to keep your eyes out for the documentary coming soon.
Back to Miami! On my first evening in the city, there was no time for relaxing, as it was time to set foot into one of Miami’s most impressive settings – Club Space for HYTE.
Club Space was definitely one of the hotspots and main attractions during Miami Music Week, with the best in the business from Jamie Jones to Marco Carola and the Martinez Brothers getting involved with their own respective parties over the course of the seven days.
I knew from attending HYTE NYE in Berlin that the music would be of epic proportions and the lineup spoke for itself, with Desolat label head & Circoloco regular Loco Dice sending the crowd into raptures with his up tempo underground house selections. Peggy Gou supplying a variety of underground sounds that justified exactly why she’s been turning even the most respected of heads.
As you may know by now I tend to generally be drawn more towards the heavier techno sounds, so I was kept well entertained and rooted to the dancefloor by the mesmerising performances delivered from none other than Pan-Pot & Danny Tenaglia.
Towards the end of my stay in magical Miami, I was battling the sand at the Mixmag Lab stage for Rapture Festival. I had only raved on a beach once before, at the BPM Festival in Portugal. This was also my first time at a Mixmag Lab, and what a location to debut!
There aren't many better combinations when it comes to raving than blue skies, positive moods, beaming sunshine, the sound of waves calmly crashing on the shore accompanied by tropical beats supplied by world class DJs. It wasn't difficult to see why Mixmag is such a prestigious and successful brand, as they eased into my ranking of best events during my time at their special shindig.
We even switched it up and squeezed in a spot of aquatic raving with a friendly participant
Like the majority of events I go to, the feeling of attending a new event never fades, that feeling of adapting to new spectacular surroundings, hearing new sounds and meeting new faces - it really is unbeatable for me.
After recovering from a hectic few days in Miami I needed to recharge the batteries for one last push - starting with a long-awaited return to Hospitality. Once again I was back in the familiar environment of the Grade 1 listed Tobacco Dock Venue.
Although I don't listen to drum & bass as much as I used to, it is still a genre I am fond of and keep an open mind to. For those of you that have known me from my earlier, lesser known days of leaping around venues and turning heads, you'll be well aware that Hospitality has been an event I have been attending since the start of my raving journey. It’s always special for me when I do immerse myself into a different crowd and style of music once every few months.
I always do my best to make it to a Hospitality event, and Hospitality In The Dock is one not to be missed, with the atmosphere brimming with liveliness as the intertwining of the beats and basslines echoed throughout the docks from start to finish. It definitely made a pleasant change from the norm for me, and getting thoroughly stuck into this sell out event felt like reuniting with an old friend.
Back at Tobacco Dock Venue once again to see iconic DJ Hot Since 82’s ‘Labyrinth’. This emerging brand was one of the most talked about nights during 2017 Ibiza season. Temporarily leaving it's Pacha home, Labyrinth saw three parts of the Tobacco Dock complex utilised by celebrated scene veterans including Dubfire, Erick Morillo, Martin Buttrich, Butch & Argentinian, Guti and Eats Everything. Each and everyone of them was firing on all cylinders.
A nice addition to the day was head honcho Hot Since 82 deciding to please early arrivals with vinyl only set. This coupled with his enticing closing set later on in the evening certainly demonstrated how talented he is as a DJ, with his impeccable selection of party starting tracks and expert beat matching on the turntables. We captured what was becoming a trademark dancing video later that day too, and a great addition to the catalogue of DJs that I have been fortunate enough to have a dance with!
As you've probably worked out by now I loved every minute of this day and evening, and overall I would probably say that Eats Everything's set was a firm favourite for me, with his technical ability and wide ranging choice of tracks in the Car Park keeping me as transfixed as the last time I saw him deliver the goods!
As the drum kicks, synths and hard-hitting drops bellowed throughout the industrial structures, I took time to reflect on an unforgettable month. With it only being the third month of the year, my excitement for the coming months was well and truly geared up.