AWOL at Breakin Science
(Featuring The Valve System)
Saturday 9th April 2005

Tonight saw me venture down to our nations capital for AWOL (A Way Of Life) at Breakin Science the main reason that I decide to come tonight was purely for the AWOL room.
It' been over 12 months since I visited SeOne, a venue that I enjoy especially with it's spacious archways, giving that underground feel.
Breakin Science not only featured the AWOL but the sound system was powered by the infamous Valve sound system.

I arrived in the capital just after 9, destined for Victoria station just after 10 and headed to the tube station, and got to London Bridge via Westminster. The queue was quite large, with plenty of people arriving already. So you know that it was going to be busy tonight. Having located the credit card queue, which wasn't as along as the advanced tickets queue, I joined the line. I had to wait 40 minutes before the queue started to move. Which was annoying as people without tickets were allowed into the venue even before the credit card queue had started to move, which is totally unfair.

Having my credit card booking confirmed, got my ticket and headed directly for the main arena. Se One is huge located under the old railway arches with quite high ceilings. The main arena was already jam packed with not much room to move you could already feel the heat in here.

It didn't take me too long to locate the AWOL arena, which was located in the Red Arch. The AWOL arena featured the original residents from the infamous Paradise club, shaping the sound of drum and bass to what it is today. The DJ box was located at the front of the arena, with two massive speaker stacks located either side. In front of the DJ box were three massive fans to cool down the arena, as Se One is known for getting quite hot.

Darren Jay on first, I caught the last hour of his set, Darren was playing a 96-97 jump up set with plenty of classics being played from this era. Darren played 'Special Treat' 'Warhead', 'No diggity', 'Reach out'. Darren ended the set with the Shy FX remix of 'Chopper', which got the crowd skanking.

On after Darren it was the turn of the DR, DR S.Gachet MC Fearless accompanied Gachet for his set. Gachet played a more 95-96 as he played the rumbler from DJ SS 'Black' along with 'Set Speed',' Angles', 'Night flight', 'Truly one', 'Champion sound' and DJ Zinc's rmx of 'Junglist'. During this set there was some technically difficulties with the system as the monitors cut out and Gachet struggled to mix during this stage. At one point the sound engineer had his body sprawled over the decks.

I popped out here to visit the bar to grab a drink to cool down with. Boy was I in for a treat I was waiting at least 20 minutes to get served. The electricity kept cutting out in the 2nd bar at the back of the 2nd arena.

Randall was on next with Fearless, though half way through the set Randall was joined with his old chum the singing Fatz. Randall played a mixture of era's as he dropped some early jungle techno as he played the '93 remix of 'Topbuzz's Living in darkness', Come together' with some Moving Shadow classics ' You got me burnin' and' Renegade snares', Randall also played 'Burial' and MA2 'Hearing is believing'. Randall played some up to date drum and bass, with Fatz being there he played 'Drop it down', which featured Fatz on the vocal this went down quite well in here.

Next on the AWOL roster was Mickey Finn with better late than never GQ. Mickey Finn and GQ were awesome. When I've seen Mickey play in the past oldskool he tends to play a predictable set but tonight was totally different. As there were quite a number of tunes that I didn't recognise. Mickey did play 'Champion Deejay', 'P Funk Era', 'Arsonist' and 'Wolf'. I was lucky to ask him to play 'Reservoir Dogs' which he did (thank you very much Mr Finn). It's been ages since I last heard that played at rave, the last being Flashback in February 2001. (Yes it has been along time!!!)

This set was that little extra special with GQ on the mic, his voice is so powerful and immense and the presence he has on stage is something different!

Tribute set of the evening was from Kenny 'mix'n'blen' Ken, with GQ hosting. What a way to round off the AWOL session tonight in here. Though through out this set the decks seemed to keep jumping at times that was annoying, as when Kenny was mixing 'Renegade snares' it got rewound at least 3-4 times, he did not look amused. Kenny played the remix of 'Champion sound' and my favourite remix 'The return to Champion sound' he played 'W arning', 'Burial' and also old favourite from the Production House crew 'Superhero (My Knight)'.

For the last 30 minutes I headed to the main arena to locate my friends for the journey home. I think the production in the main arena was amazing. In the centre of the arena you had a massive scaffolding lighting rig with mirror balls on there. When the laser was shone at them, it bounced off the balls across the whole arena giving it that matrix effect over the crowd. At the front of the stage were located the massive Valve speakers and subs, filling the room with pure bassline.

DJ Zinc was finishing up in here playing some dirty tunes, abusing the Valve system and making sure you could feel the bassline! Zinc played 'Back to your roots' 'LK rmx' 'Ska rmx', 'Snapshot rmx and 'Tombraider'. Zinc finished the evening with 'Drive by Car'. Dett and Eksman were MCin back to back for Zinc.

Overall I really enjoyed my trip to London. I spent virtually the whole night in the AWOL room with most of the DJ's playing the music that shaped today's drum and bass years that I really enjoyed. I was also quite worried that some of the DJ's would play all the big jungle anthem's like Lighter, Valley of the shadows, Bad Ass etc… but this was not the case as they played quite numerous tunes that you don't get to hear that often. So a massive big up to all the DJ's in the AWOL arena.

With the room limited to 2 MC's hosting the arena I thought that went down well, as GQ and Fearless both did an excellent job. As I did get worried that with so many MC's being on across the venue that this would of slightly ruined the night. Because back at the original Paradise club GQ would host the whole evening allowing the music to do the talking.

The crowd in the AWOL room was more of a mature audience compared to the main arena and the attitudes and vibes in here amazing! With plenty of people like myself here purely for the oldskool sound, enjoying and taking the music in. The system in here was loud though it would have been extra special had they fitted the Valve system in here too.

I was thinking that the AWOL arena wasn't going to be busy but obviously that wasn't the case, thank god for those fans at the front of the arena as it was very busy. The AWOL name still has that aura surrounding it especially in London, with memories of the Paradise club still embedded in the minds of the older ravers.

Respects to GQ, Fearless, IC3, Darren Jay, DR S.Gachet, Randall, Mickey Finn (once again thanks for playing Reservoir dog's), Devious D, Shortston, Fatman D, and Eksman.
Massive respects to Zoë and Collete, Ross and Rob, Brian BK, Many, Francis and the Aussies in the credit card queue.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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