Hardcore Til I Die
Event 14:
‘2nd Birthday Celebration’
Air (formerly Code)
Birmingham
31st March 2006

Tonight saw Hardcore Til I Die celebrate their 2nd Birthday at their home in Birmingham Air superclub. The lineup was announced at the end of January featuring a who’s who of the hardcore world spread across 3 arenas, with a bit of something for everyone, the DJ’s and MC’s hoping to make this a Birthday celebration you won’t forget in a hurry, the only ingredient that was missing was the ravers!

The event built its own hype having already sold out 3 weeks in advance, if you didn’t have a guarantee entry number there was no point coming.

We arrived in Digbeth just after 10 and after a quick drink as Air is known for being notoriously pricey for drinks, we headed down to Air. The queue stretched down the road, the club had already been open for a good hour already. You could feel the anticipation from the ravers in the queue, the queuing ravers were entertained by various characters including fire jugglers. Tonight was the HTID’s Birthday party, many ravers arrived with presents as these are to be donated to Birmingham’s children’s hospital. We were greeted by Hixxy working on the door getting mucky with the ravers.

We went through the side entrance as opposed to the main entrance and were straight in through the car park, you could tell the excitement was in the air with the party already in full swing and plenty of ravers congregated out here going on the numerous free funfair rides on offer.

Headed into the main arena and DJ Tecknical was finishing up, it was rammed in here filled wall to wall with ravers. The Oxygen arena was decked out with HTID banners floating around the main arena, the stage was draped with birthday banners, behind the DJ booth was 2 massive video screens projecting various birthday messages from the ravers and information about fourth coming HTID and Raver Baby events. Above the stage by the balcony was a net of balloons ready to be dropped later in the evening, the sound system was booming really loud especially at the front of the arena, I love the JBL system at Air!

MC’s Storm and Whizzkid took to the stage you know it was time for the ‘Kick off set’ it was fast approaching 11 pm, Hixxy and Styles took to the decks. Hixxy and Styles started the kick off set with the intro tune to let the ravers know the party was truly underway and a sea of balloons littered the stage and ravers below for tonight Birthday celebrations.

Hixxy and Styles started the set with ‘Happiness’’ and moved onto ‘More and more’, ’Free at last’ and ‘Paradise’, whilst tweaking in the Pendulum remix of ‘Voodoo people’ excellent stuff!

MC’s Storm and Whizzkid were tremendous the stage was smothered with balloons, Storm and Whizzkid were kicking the balloons into the crowd getting into the party spirit and showing off their football skills. The show these two put on was spectacular adding that vital element to tonight’s Birthday celebrations.

I quickly nipped upstairs as not only was tonight HTID’s 2nd Birthday but also was DJ Clarkee’s farewell, tonight Clarkee is to perform in all 3 Arena’s I really didn’t want to miss his oldksool set. Headed upstairs to the Carbon lounge and caught the tail end of his set accompanied by the trusty MC Ribbz.

The oldskool arena was decked out differently than normal the DJ box was moved from the corner of the bar but to the center of the bar. Clarkee played a stomping oldskool set taking you down memory lane with lots bleepy oldskoool tunes being played like Meat beat manifesto’s ‘Radio babylon’, the classic from Orbital ‘Chime’ and T99’s ‘Anastasia’.

After Clarkee it was the turn of DJ Twista but I headed straight downstairs to catch the final part of Hixxy and Styles, the Raver Baby duo finished their set with ‘Feelin fine’ and ‘Skydivin’ remix.

Finishing up after the Raver Baby set in the Oxygen arena was Clarkee’s second set of the night playing a classic Dreamscape ESP set. I’m not a big fan of the hardcore techno but this didn’t stop me from stomping to his set especially with both Ribbz and Sharkey on mic duty. The crowd were loving this set with everyone stomping giving Clarkee a good farewell as he’s off to emigrate to sunny Spain in the next few months

Following on from Clarkee was the turn of Essential platinum’s DJ Dougal with Whizzkid MC. This was a very uplifting vocally set from Dougal, lots of vocally tunes featuring the Essential platinum vocalists Jenna and Lisa Marie, was like a karaoke moment with the crowd singing along. Dougal dropped tracks like ‘Crash landing’, ‘All the tears I’ve cried’, ‘I see the light’, ‘Tell me a story’, and ‘Through the darkness’

I’ve noticed recently that Whizzkid has been mcing to Dougal’s sets complementing his style very well, with his own lyrics to get the crowd singing along too song with his beatboxing and robot voices, wicked stuff !

Time to visit upstairs and DJ Pilgrim was on up here, MC Nice and Easy was on mcing for him. Pilgrim’s set was tremendous reminded me of my old days at Flashback up the road at the legendary Que club. He was playing a very Belgian influenced set leaving off where I guess Clarke had left of from earlier. Pilgrim played ‘Kiss the sky’, ‘Right before my eyes’ and ‘Insomniac’.

MC Nice and Easy was mcing for him, I enjoyed hearing Nice and Easy throughout this set with his beatboxing and vocal scratch. Hixxy was meant to be on after Pilgrim with a nu-skool breaks and oldskool set. Pilgrim soldiered on for an extra hour keeping it on the ‘91 tip with the R&S classic ‘Vamp’, ‘The Tape’, ‘High in the Sky’, Moby’s ‘Go’ and The Prodigy’s ‘Charly’ playing the original remix as opposed to the more familiar alleycat remix we all know.

Even Whizzkid didn’t know about Hixxy not playing his set as he arrived up here and had a bit of boogie along with MC’s Smiley and Odyssey escaping the madness on downstairs in the main arena.

Headed downstairs and in time for another of the sets I was looking forward to, Re-Con and Squad-E with MC Storm. Re-Con and Squad-E are one of the hottest producers in the hardcore scene, signed to the infamous Raver Baby label. This was the first time I’ve heard Squad-E play out, he’s more obviously know for his production work as he is also part of ‘Ultrabeat’ with Re-Con. I was not left disappointed what so ever, the tunes were amazing, pounding and hard!

Storm was fantastic on the mic throughout this set getting the crowd rocking with his lyrics and vocal scratch whilst bouncing around on the stage like a loonatic! There was a special surprise treat for the ravers as Re-Con got on stage to perform a PA of ‘1000 kisses’ as he snag live on stage. Re-Con and Sqaud-E played ‘Promise land and ‘My direction’ too.

Upstairs and in time for one of the original jungle don’s Kenny Ken, Nice and Easy was still on mcing here. Think he must have been mcing for a good few hours fair play, but it was starting to get a bit too repetitive too much of a good thing to be honest. Kenny played an awesome set started out with typical 94-95 tunes such as ‘Terrorist’, ‘Champion sound’, ‘Set speed’, DJ Rap’s ‘Intelligent woman’ and the chart topper from M-Beat and General Levy ‘Incredible’.

The ravers up here were skanking out and having a great laugh, the oldskool veteran MC Robbie Dee arrived and was mcing for a bit to give Nice and Easy a breather. Kenny moved onto a more 97 set playing a few gems like ‘Music box’, ‘Shadow boxing’, ‘Warhead’, DJ Rap’s remix of Busta rhymes ‘Woo haa’, Majistrate’s ‘Diagnostic’ the Superman tune ‘Man of Steel’ and finished off with a classic ragga tune from X-Project ‘Jah Sunshine’. Kenny managed to sneak one last tune in before closing his set playing ‘Fire’ which got rewound 3 times before finally being played all the way through!

This was some really breathtaking stuff from Kenny especially the later part of his set, I was not left disappointed from the original jungle don!

Kenny played the last set of night in the oldskool arena, with two hours left to go I headed outside to cool down and chill out for a while, away from madness inside the Birthday party. Outside was a nocturnal village with merchandise stalls, fair ground rides and complete with an outdoor chill out marquee. I managed to persuade a few of my friend’s to have a go on a few of the fun fair rides being the adrenaline junkie that I am, also it was a chance to cool ourselves down before heading back into the rave for the final hour.

The final hour arrived as it was time for the ‘Morning glory set’ featuring hardcore’s number one DJ and one of the best producers in the scene, Sy and Breeze with MC’s Whizzkid and Storm finishing off the night.

Sy and Breeze started the set with ‘Heart of gold’ and ‘Home’ they moved onto playing tunes from 2003 & 2004 the year in which HTID staged their first event at Air. Playing ‘Follow me’ remix, ‘I became hardcore’, ‘Died oh rip’ and ‘Perfect dreams (Sweetheart)’ remix.

Storm and Whizzkid were immense for the final hour keeping the ravers on their toes, was great seeing these two guys work the crowd into a frenzy their own unique fashion, beat boxing and with Sy on the decks, Storm and him were having a scratch battle thought out the set!

Breeze and Sy upped the tempo playing more recent tunes for the latter part of the set with ‘Inspiration’, ‘I see the light’, ’Set u free’ and ‘Save me’ before finally playing ‘Such a feeling’ remix to finish the night with.

Overall it was an incredible night, the success of HTID once again proven with a complete full house, a full house which was sold out in 3 weeks before the event, which is sort of unheard of.

The night itself was immense the ravers bringing their up for it friendliness having a zero tolerance on attitude with the DJ’s and MC’s putting on a great performance all the vital ingredients for an amazing night. Also a perfect send off for DJ Clarkee too!

There were so many great sets being played throughout the night it’s hard to pick out one that stood out more than the other. Shame that Hixxy didn’t play his oldskool and nu-skool breaks set as this was something I was looking forward to.

I enjoyed Kenny Ken’s set something to break up the night with considering he didn’t play typical anthems throughout his whole set. Pilgrim’s oldskool set was another, dropping some amazing oldskool staying clear of the typical ‘92 anthem bash you find in most oldskool arenas. The way the arena was set up compared to previous event made it more comfortable to stomp in. Though these two sets along with the atmosphere up in the oldskool arena reminded me of my early raving days at Flashback as there were a few familiar faces up in here too!

The main arena sets were spot on Re-con and Squad-E were both splendid especially with the surprise PA from Re-con singing ‘1000 kisses’. Hixxy and Styles made sure things got underway and with Breeze and Sy finishing the night off. Throughout the night Storm and Whizzkid were immense the enthusiasm and presence the duo have is 2nd to none and I dare say it can’t be matched at this moment in time.

In May 2004 Hixxy and the HTID team came to Birmingham, bearing in mind Birmingham did not really have much of a hardcore following as it is more of a Jungle and Oldskool town than anything back then. Who would have guessed 2 years on and how things have changed. With every HTID event at Air selling out the success has been immense I’ve been lucky to visit every HTID in the past 2 years at Air in Birmingham to witness the night progress from strength to strength with each event out doing the previous it can only get better!!

Massive shouts to Hixxy, Chris and Mark Lambert, Joe and the HTD crew, Storm, Whizzkid, Styles, Breeze and Jo, Sy, Pilgrim, Re-con, Kenny Ken, Robbie Dee, Wotsee, Dougal, Scott Brown, Ben at Upthecut, Clarkee, Ribbz, Sharkey, Odyssey, Smiley The Doctor, Knight, Twista and Nice and Easy

Big Respects to Shaun , Mike, Leanne, Zoë and Collette, Dave Quavers, Andy and Heather, Craig, Doug, Bald-Ad, Curly, Brian BK, Lisa, Cat, Sara and Arwen, Lozzy, Sallie and Sara, Charlie and James, Lucy, Carrie, Mat KoR, John McGuiness and the Raving Eye crew, Caddy, Sharl Toni and the Shrewsbury crew, Andy Legs, Danny Smithers, Dizzyvibe, Chris Roach, Ronnie and Nikki, Jim(Happy Birthday) and Damo, Sketchy, John Buzz-b, Gareth, Izzy, Julie Delicious, Annabelle, Clare, Gemma, Nat C, Laura and Mam, Marky, Luke, Mairead, Overlode, Zane, Rob and Staci from True Hardcore, Uplift, Wookie and Emma, Jacquie and Leanne, Liberty, Xero, Astraboy, Jon Xlr-8, Ravid and everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognize.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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