Accelerated Culture
The Republic of Bass 2k4
Drum and Bass Awards 2004
The National Skydome Arena

Tonight saw the fourth annual drum and bass awards hosted by Accelerated Culture. After months of voting the results were in and tonight was a representation of the scenes biggest players and achievers.

Not only was it the awards ceremony, it was the first time that the National Skydome, Coventry was used as a dance venue. Coventry located in the midlands meant it was able to bring together the ravers from the north and south, under one roof. This was my first visit to the Drum and Bass Awards and to an Accelerated Culture event outside of Birmingham, so I didn't really know what to expect.

We left Birmingham after 9.30 and got to Coventry for after 10. Finding the Skydome was quite easy and the car park was located right next to the venue, which is handy on these cold winters night. We headed to the venue and were greeted by an enormous queue even though the event had already been running for 2 hours.

Knowing who we know, our queue time was cut down and after a thorough search we were in. Headed directly into the arena, man was it huge, as the Skydome is an ice rink by day this place was enormous! We went straight to the front and Pendulum were finishing up.

The sound system in here was amazing, really loud, bassy and crisp not like some of the past sound systems I've heard. The stage was similar to that of Energy with two massive video screens either side of the stage, which showed the nominees for each of the categories.

MC Det accompanied Pendulum as they played 'Another Planet', after they finished there set it was time to announce a few awards. Grooverider and GQ were presenting the awards.

After the presentation of a few of the awards it was time for DJ Zinc, Zinc was on alongside Accelerated Cultures resident and also winner of 'The Best Newcomer MC', MC Presha. Zinc has definitely stepped outside of Hype's shadow and is really an amazing DJ, which was represented as he came 3rd in the best DJ category. Zinc played 'Fruitella', 'Drive by car', 'Turn style' and the Phantasy and Shodun remix of Topbuzz' '~Living in Darkness' which got the crowd jumping.

After Zinc it was Virus' Ed Rush. I was looking forward to Ed Rush, as he tends to play a lot of dark tunes. Biggie was MCin for Ed Rush's set. Ed Rush started to play a dark set and threw in a few classics such as 'The Nine'.

Next was the turn of the man from Valve, Dillinja. Well when Dillinja is on you know your going to expect some bassy tunes and something to definitely test the sound system in this venue. Dillinja played 'In the Grind' and also 'Feel My pain'. Skibadee was MCin for his set. During this set saw the arrival of the Narni shakers, shaking their thang on stage and definitely teasing the fellers with their naughty stage show.

At this point I thought I'd have a wander around the venue. This was the same sort of size arena that Helter Skelter used back in September at Energy. I thought that the system would be a bit poor at the back end of the venue, but in fact you could still hear the music at back of the arena. With this venue being an Ice rink you can get in the tiered seating and check out the view from above to see the madness going on, on the dance floor.

The bar was a token system, which is quite annoying as you have to queue two times to get a drink. Queuing for the tokens didn't take too long and the bars were quite adequately staffed. It was quite expensive for alcohol as it was 4 tokens for a red stripe, which is the equivalent of £4.

Back to the action and it was the turn of the man from Charge along side the 'El Matador IC3, Mampi Swift. Swift played one hell of a set, probably my favourite set of the evening with plenty of energy coming from IC3. Swift with his style of double dropping numerous tunes, as he played the infamous 'Body Rock', 'Pacman' Ram trilogy rmx,'The Beginning', 'The One' well it's not a set from Swift without him playing his 97 classic, also Krust's, 'Follow the vision'.

After Swift's set it was PA time from Kosheen, Not a big fan of Kosheen but this was something different to have a live PA on Stage at a drum and Bass rave. With the live singer it definitely was different, Kosheen played all their hits including 'Hide you'.

Next up it was 'The Best DJ', voted for 3rd time the Guvnor Andy C, he was accompanied by 'Best crowd hype MC' retaining his crown MC Fearless and 'The Best Lyrical MC', to finally knock Skibadee off his throne MC Eksman. Eksman looked well shocked at receiving his award and well Fearless was chuffed as he thought that when he won the award last year it was a fluke but this proved that wining the award for a 2nd time really showed what the crowd actually think of him.

It's been a long time since I heard Andy C play, so I was looking forward to hear what Andy had on offer. He played 'Machomist', 'All that jazz 'and sneaked in a few tunes such as 'Turbulence', 'Renegade snares' he also played 'Original foundation' off the new 'Ganja Dubplate Killaz' album. Fearless and Eksman were on back-to-back this was the first time that I've heard these guys back to back and they were working well off each other. At the end of his set Andy C picked up the 'Outstanding Achievement award'.

After the Ram man it was 'Best Newcomer DJ' DJ Friction, MC Shabba accompanied Friction. New breeds Foxy came on half way through Frictions set, Foxy is definitely becoming a crowd favourite. Foxy does have great crowd presence with lyrics as he was working off the crowd. Friction played ' In the grind', 'Drive by Car' and Dillinja's 'Good girl'

Penultimate set of the night was from 'The Best Oldskool DJ' Nicky Blackmarket, Eksman accompanied him and Foxy, Nicky and Foxy go back along way back to the great days of Stevie Hyper D (RIP). Nicky played a set with mixture of new and old tunes as he played few remixes of some old classics such as Junglist and also 'Arsonist'. It's not Nicky Blackmarket without playing the Stevie Hyper D tribute 'Buffalo Soldier-Move your body' along side 'Ska' rather than 'Dual Voltage'.

Final set of the evening was Undiluted's DJ Brockie. Brockie started off a tune that featured the 'Undiluted' vocal, 'Mars', and 'Turbulence' he also dropped a tune from '99, which I don't know the name but it was one hell of a rumbler as it got me skanking with the little energy I had left. Foxy and IC3 were MCing for this set. Foxy and IC3 kept the crowd going for the last 30 minutes of the night.

Overall it was pretty good night. I had a really good time as it's been along time since I've been to an upfront drum and bass rave. The atmosphere here was really good no moody vibes plenty of up for it people having a wicked time. Tonight' event was a representation of the drum and bass community. Bringing together like-minded people under one roof.

The winners of the awards is always going to cause some kind of controversy as always people are never going to be happy with the choice of winners. Though with mc Eksman knocking Skibadee off his thrown it shows that no one is invincible!

With the Sanctuary closing in the summer it was going to be a hard task of finding the right venue in the right location. But this venue seemed to have everything especially size as it holds over 4,000 people. I don't think it sold out a there was plenty of space at the back of the arena. Being an ice rink, the size of the venue is colossus the floor was covered in wood rather than carpet, which meant you had dry feet and no frostbite. It's nice to have the tiered seating as its somewhere to chill out for a while and still hear the music, which some people did for majority of the evening. Plus its good news for the hardcore heads as Hardcore Til I Die and Hardcore Heaven will be using this venue in the near future!

Massive shouts to all the nominees and of course the winners working hard in the scene.

Massive shouts to the Accelerated and Sidewinder crew, Fearless, IC3, GQ, Andy C, Brockie, Dillinja, Eksman, Foxy, Mistress Mo, Ben and Garry K.
Big Respects to the ravers, Zoë and Collette, Brian BK and the crew, Astro, Faye, Manny, Chris, Ross, Escape, and the rest of the DNBA Midlands Forum crew, and also to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Full list of winners can be found here .

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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