Hardcore Heaven and Sundissential
’Hardstock: The official Hardcore Heaven Weekender reunion’
The Birmingham Carling Academy
Sunday 28th May 2006

After the enormous success of the 2nd Hardcore weekender, Hardcore Heaven presented the Hardcore Heaven reunion in conjunction with Sundissential.
Hardcore Heaven and Sundissential combined forces to present Hardstock a line-up featuring both hardcore and hard house side by side. Tonight was Hardcore Heaven’s first visit to Birmingham and Sundissential making a return to the Carling Academy in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Academy was formally known as ‘the Hummingbird’ an oldskool venue from back in the day with promoters such as the legendary ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘Dance Planet’ hosting some classic parties. The Academy today is still used as club as it was once the home of Sundissential few years back it is also used to host concerts as last winter the mighty Prodigy where here on tour.

Living in Birmingham I’ve actually never visited the Birmingham Academy very odd I know but obviously hearing plenty of things about the venue I definitely didn’t want to miss a chance to visit this venue.

The event started at 8pm, having been out the previous night for Valve, I wasn’t too keen to get the Academy too early. Headed into the city centre just after 9, the queue down Dale end was enormous as it was four people deep and very close to the magistrate’s court.

After meeting up with a few friends and a few drinks we finally headed to the venue and was greeted by Michael from the Slammin team, after a brief search from the security team we was in.

Wow as mentioned previously I’ve never been to the Academy and was quite impressed with this venue having stepped directly into the main arena. There was a massive balcony overlooking the dance floor, watching all the ravers going mad early in the night.

Knowing that Brisk was on early I quickly found the 2nd arena along the balcony, the 2nd arena was quite small and was already warming up in here as it quite busy you could feel the heat in this arena, like a sauna.

Brisk was playing at the front there was a small stage for MC Wottsee. The set was fully underway I was expected Brisk to play and hard set but he was playing an upfront bouncy set featuring plenty of stuff from his own Next Generation record label. Wottsee was on the mic, warming up the hardcore crowd in this arena. Brisk played ‘Gotta feelin’, ’Feel the power’ and ‘Looking down’.

After Brisk it was the turn of Kevin Energy and Kutski at this point I decided to have a wander around the venue. The production in the main room was spot on at the front of the arena was a massive stage, either side of the stage was a set of speaker stacks the system was quite loud as you could feel the bass especially at the front of the arena, unless that was the side effects of hearing the valve system the night before.

On the stage were a set of keyboards and other bit and pieces as Nu-Energy were to be performing a live PA later on in the evening. Behind the DJ box was an enormous projector screen and hanging from the ceiling was 2 more projector screens. The projector screens were advertising forthcoming events including the 2006 Hardcore Heaven awards. Hanging from the ceiling where massive inflatables glowing spiky balls and Lasers lighting up the crowd.

Mark EG was on in the main arena so I decided to head back upstairs and Marc Smith was on in here. Marc Smith was playing an upfront set really enjoyed his mixing very technical working the mixer to its limits. Tune selection was great kept the people bouncing as the temperature started to swell in here as Marc dropped tunes like ‘Pull over’,’ Enigma’ and ‘Beyond us’. The heat started to really take its toll in here and decided to leave this arena.

Dougal was on in the main arena and I’d have to say this was one of my favourite sets of the evening. Really enjoyed what Dougal was playing, as there was plenty of vocally tunes from Essential Platinum which was getting the crowd singing. With him dropping the likes of ‘Tears I cried’, ’Open ur eyes’,’ ‘Still the one’ ‘through the darkness’, Lisa Marie was here too lurking in the shadows watching the crowd singing to her lyrics.

Whizzkid MC was mcin on this mighty stage hyping up the crowd rocking the ravers from the left and right. Dougal continued to play ‘Rockin with the best’, ‘Xtreme’ and finally finishing up with ‘Tell me a story’.

After Dougal it was the turn of DJ SY alongside MC Storm the ‘Ravers champions’ and an awesome performance from the Quosh duo. Sy started off with ‘Raise your hands’ and then carried onto played the new ‘Raveheart’ remix along with ‘U r my fantasy’. Storm was immense on this massive stage mcing non-stop through out igniting the crowd into a mad frenzy.

Sy and Storm in trademark form were having scratch battles throughout the set, Sy finished up the set playing a remix of an old favourite of mine from UFO ‘2001 Space anthem’ a classic tune from 95/96 having a 2006 revamp, Sy finally then closing his set with ‘Bassfire’ featuring Storm on the vocals.

Following on from Sy was the turn of Raver Baby’s hottest new talent Re-Con, Re-con has been raising a lot of eye brows producing some immense tracks working alongside Squad-E. Tune selection during his set was excellent from the Liverpudlian lots of upfront material being bashed out with tracks like ‘Never too late’, ‘My direction’, 1,000 kisses’ and ’Right here’.

Whizzkid was mcing for a majority of this set but was later joined by his partner in rhymes MC Storm, the pair of these were tearing the roof down mcing back to back and getting the crowd involved. Re-con carried onto play, ‘Love comes’, ‘Where do we go’ before finally ended the set with the Dutch classic from Diss Reaction 'Jiieehaaa' excellent stuff which saw the crowd bouncing!!

After the Raver Baby showcase it was back to Essential Platinum with DJ Gammer taking controls at the helm with MC Smiley on mic duties. Gamma was showcasing plenty of material not only from Essential Platinum but off various other labels as he played ‘Got a feeling’,’ 24-7’,’Inspiration’ and ‘Cry’. Smiley was keeping the ravers entertained for the penultimate hour when Gammer dropped ‘Ordinary people’ Smiley reciting his lyrics with the crowd. For the final part of Gammer’s set he turned up the tempo and played a few gabba tracks as he dropped ‘Capital Murder’ which saw the crowd go insane for the final minutes.

Final set of the night came from the Raver Baby crew featuring Breeze and Styles with Storm and Whizzkid finishing of tonight proceedings. Great set from these two showcasing plenty of upfront raver Baby material plenty of new releases and remixes being played. The raver Baby duo played ‘Crazy love’,’ Angel eyes’ ‘Died oh RIP’ ‘I need you’ and ’Perfect dreams’ remix (Sweetheart).

Storm and Whizzkid where amazing for the final 60 minutes of the night keeping the raver bouncing through the early hours of the morning. The pair was getting the crowd involved with plenty of ravers reciting their lyrics, they were using the stage to its full potential hyping up the crowd on the left and right.

Breeze and Styles continued to play ‘Show you the way’, I adore’ ‘Save me’ before finishing the night with their 2005 monster hit ‘Slide away’. Storm was about to thank the crowd at the end of this set but the sound engineer decided to cut the volume off mic which was quite rude even when Storm explained the sound engineer didn’t wanna know. Yet in true professionalism he shouted at the top of his voice to thank the ravers for tonight’s support.

Overall tonight was a massive success and was brilliant to see Hardcore Heaven finally making an appearance in Birmingham at this venue, there was obviously a mixture of both hard house and the hardcore ravers here tonight but predominantly hardcore seeing as this was the Hardcore Weekender reunion. The atmosphere was spot on great friendly vibe, it was very interesting to watch both set of ravers raving side by side in the main arena as the dress sense especially from the lads is totally different from the hardcore crew as they tend to be very flamboyant in comparison.

Again I was very impressed with the production and effort put into tonight’s event, only quarm was the heat as it was quite hot in the club as around the balcony you could feel the sweat drip from the ceilings proper oldskool !!!

The DJ sets were spot on and would have to say that both Re-Con and Dougal’s set stood out for me the most. Tune selection from these two was spot on.

The turn out for tonight’s event was more than what I anticipated considering it was the Bank holiday weekend with plenty of events going on up and down the UK and not to mention Pollysexual was on tonight down the road at Air.

Respects to Grant, Michael and Hardcore Heaven Team, Storm, Whizzkid, Breeze and Styles, Sy, Re-Con and Squad-E, Smiley, Wottsee, Dougal, Lisa Marie, Brisk, Marc Smith, Kev Energy, Tony Res, Pete Complex, Gammer Flyin and Charmy.

Massive Shouts to Shaun, Lisa, Arwen Sara, Sallie, Lozzy, Leanne, Saz, Andy Legs, Matt, Foggy, Sharl, Roony, Juicy, Scott Womble, Ad, Caddy Shrewsbury crew, Kelly, Zara, Kate and the Lowestoft crew, Annabelle, Julie Delicious, Xero, Compulsion, Daz Rampant, Petruccio, Gareth, Mark, Dave, Wookie, Emma, Kel and Damo, Laura and Mam, Danny Smithers, Nikki, Ronnie, Lucy, Syke, Sezzy Spencer, Rsi Nick, Hardcore Hunny, Charlie and James and everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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