Hardcore Heaven
KOKO
(Formerly Camden Palace)
London
Saturday 9th September 2006

Hardcore Heaven returned back to the capital after the success of hosting one of the main arena’s at Tranzmission the indoor festival over the Easter bank holiday at the Alexandra Palace. Hardcore Heaven return back to the nation’s capital with a 100% hardcore line-up and in the famous Koko formally known as Camden Palace.

Camden Palace located in north London was originally a theatre, but in moving with the times it was used to host various music events before becoming one of the premier venues in London’s bustling nightlife. Having not ventured to the capital for a Hardcore rave since Easter this year and tonight was also my first visit to Camden Palace, I was truly looking forward to tonight.

With the set times released in the week leading up to the event I was able to plan my night in advance. The first few hours of the night consisted mainly of the freeform DJ’s playing so I decided to head up later than usual.

Having left Birmingham arrived in the capital for just after 9pm, meeting up with some friends before hand at a nearby pub in Victoria. We stopped here for a while and had a few pre drinks before making our way to Camden Palace, as drinks inside most of London’s clubs are quite notoriously expensive.

Arrived in Camden town and easily located KOKO, there was a large queue that went round the outside of the venue. The security team were quite stringent asking people for ID and unfortunately which led to security having to turn people away without ID.

The main arena was something else was truly an amazing spectacle, the dance floor was beneath us and either side were balconies with raised tiers. Sharkey and Kevin Energy were on the decks rocking the crowd. MC Casper was mcing but was later joined by MC Odyssey who took over on the mic for the rest of this set.

Not really a fan of freeform but was quite impressed with some of the tunes that the Nu-Energy duo were playing. The crowd were enjoying this set from Sharkey and Kev Energy as they dropped ‘Message Mayhem’ which has a mad drum and bass drop in the middle along with plenty of other freeform favourites.

Following on from Sharkey and Kevin Energy was the turn of Sy and MC Storm. The Ravers Champions were on entertaining the Hardcore Heaven crowd. Sy dropped plenty of crowd favourites such as ‘I see the light’, ‘Free your mind’ and ‘If that’s alrite with you?’

On this all mighty stage Storm was hyping up the crowd with his lyrics and immense crowd hype that he owns, working the crowd from left to right.

It looked like they were also filming the advert for the forthcoming Hardcore Heaven album tonight as on stage was the new cover girl Jenna Hoskins joined MC Storm on stage. Sy continued to play ‘Braveheart’ remix and ‘Feel the power’ before finishing his set with ‘Angels’

After Sy it was the turn of Notorious Vinyl’s very own DJ Marc Smith with MC Wotsee doing the mic duties. Marc Smith’s set was a very fast paced set from the word go steadily increasing the BPM’s. Marc Started of the set with DJ Kurt’s remix of ‘Space odyssey 2001’. Marc continued to play ‘Report to the bassline’, ‘What the fuck’ and ‘Music of the primes’. The crowd were enjoying Wotsee mcin as they where reciting his lyrics whilst he was rocking the crowd.

Next up was a live PA from Next Generation Records producer Vagabond with vocalist Tess and MC’s Casper and Wotsee. Vagabond was setup on stage with keyboards and laptop playing material from the Next Generation label.

Tess was singing live and was accompanied by her dancers. The dancers were not your average rave dancers as they were performing what looked like yoga moves. Tess sang numerous tracks including ‘Hit the deck’, ’Show me your passion’, ‘Sweet love’, ‘Drunk with love’ and ‘Flowing free’.

Following on from the PA was the turn of the legendary DJ Seduction with MC Whizzkid. Seduction was once responsible for Hardcore Heaven being its original promoter before it swapped hands, with him now running things with MC Rude at Uproar.

Seduction like a true legend that he is kept the crowd rocking with tracks like ‘Make em bounce’, ‘Save me’, ‘Rock ya body’ and ‘Sunrise’. Whizzkid MC was awesome throughout this set, with his crowd hype and beat boxing.

During this set I thought I’d have a wander around the venue, the main arena is a massive auditorium as it was once a theatre and it has a gothic Victorian feel to it. The venue was extremely similar to that of the Legendary Que club in Birmingham looking from the lighting box at the back of the venue which overlooked the dancefloor. The bar was also located here and it was quite expensive for a drink as it was just over £4 for a beer!

I managed to find the best view in the house which was located further up of the far back balcony which allowed you to see everything. The sides of the venue were surrounded by further more balconies which were swarming with pockets of ravers dancing away. The lasers were very impressive too along with the lighting though it was quite dark for most the of the night with the strobes going off

Billy Bunter and Radio One’s Kutski was on after Sedcution, the pair started the set with freeform before building up the tempo and dropping hardcore beats. I enjoyed the hardcore selection that these two were playing with the likes of ‘Cold as ice’ remix, ‘Listen to your heart’ and ‘I see the light’.

What really stood out for me was Kutski’s scratching throughout this set, scratching on vinyl doing plenty of tricks and could give Sy a run for his money. Very impressive stuff I must say! On mic duty was mc Odyssey who was working the crowd with his unique style of lyrics and hype. Billy Bunter and Kutski carried on playing ‘U r my fantasy’, ‘Body slam’ remix and finally finishing with ‘Makin me wanna dance’.

Carrying on from the back to back showcase was Raver Baby’s Darren Styles and Whizzkid MC. Styles and Whizzkid were magnificent and brought the roof down for the penultimate hour, showcasing plenty of Raver Baby tracks. In true Darren style fashion his set was a very uplifting and vocally set playing ‘Silver waters’, ‘My direction’ and ‘I will be’.

Whizzkid MC rocked this massive stage from the word go during this set hyping up the crowd, involving he ravers with his catchy lyrics who were reciting them with him. Darren continued to rock the crowd with ‘Rockin with the best’ and ‘Lost the plot’.

Final hour came a surprise back to back special featuring two of the hardcore legends, DJ’s Dougal and Hixxy. Earlier in August these two paired up and played an awesome set together and continued this trend as this set was definitely one of my highlights of the evening.

Hixxy and Dougal played a combination of tunes from both of their respective record labels as they dropped ‘ I can’t wait’ ,’All the tears I cried’, and ‘Never too late’, showcasing Essential Platinum and Raver Baby slammers side by side.

Storm was doing the business for this final hour, working the crowd from left to right keeping the ravers dancing through the early hours. Dougal and Hixxy carried on to play ‘Through the darkness’ and ‘Report to the bassline’ remix before finally finishing the night with a new remix of ‘Getting better’

The lights came on and the sound turned of which meant it was time to go home.

I really enjoyed my return to the capital tonight as it was my first visit to KOKO, the venue really took me by surprise the way it’s designed and layout. The similarities to the Que club were untrue and I’d definitely like to venture down here again.

The DJ’s played some quality sets lots of upfront tunes and new material being showcased, sets of the night Marc Smith, his selection was spot on along with his mixing he keeps getting better and better each time I see him showing why he truly deserves his bookings. Other sets I enjoyed was Darren Styles and the back to back special from Hixxy and Dougal, nice to see these two legends the pioneers of hardcore playing back to back more frequently like the old days!

The crowd were up for it tonight and security where on top of things making sure everyone was kept in place. It was another successful event from the Hardcore Heaven team as it was a sell out event.

Respect to Grant and the Hardcore Heaven team, Storm, Whizzkid, Styles, Hixxy, Seduction, Sy, Kev Energy, Marc Smith, Billy Bunter, Sharkey, Dougal, Wotsee, Odyssey, Joe from HTID, Knight, Supreme and Sunset Regime, Chit Chat, Casper, Tess, Flyin and Charmy, Steve Uplift and Kaylene, Spinback and Al Storm and Sytronik.

Massive shouts to John Buzz-B, Andy G, Tim, Wayne, Gillian and the Kent crew, Nick Xero and Fi, Leanne, Andy Legs, Sarah, Danny Smithers, Chelsea, Kat, Roxanne, Kat, Hana, Charlie and James, Gareth, Niki, Ronnie, Charles, Chris Roach, Nick RSI, Mental raver, Rob from True Hardcore, Astraboy, Turkish, Sezzy Spencer, Tessa from B’ham, Vapour, Rudeboy Rob, Andy from Birkenhead and also to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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